I work in a company where the culture was, for several years, to raise the salary of almost every worker at every year. This increase was usually between 2%-5% and was related with the employee performance.

I've received one raise in 2009, another in 2010, another in 2011, 2012, 2013 and... it stopped and I'm writing this in 2016.

Since my company is in deep financial problems, since 2014, and had to fire near 90% (1000) of all employees, things changed drastically. My company just not bankrupted because it is backed by another bigger company and that my team (100 people), the last one that survived, has a healthy cash-flow.

I can understand that I'm not receiving any raises due to these financial issues. The problem is that I'm a workaholic. I really love to work and I work hard, for many extra hours per week. My performance is very high and I'm recognized for that.

When my salary was above average, comparing to other companies, I was feeling ok. But now, without any raises for a long time, my salary is below average and I'm feeling constantly angry and deeply sad.

I've talked with my boss for many many times asking for a raise and every time he agreed with me that I truly deserved to receive a raise, but the company's president was not allowing this due to the financial issues. Every time that we talk, he gives me a new date, something like "I expect that you'll be promoted in three months". I wait for this time and nothing happens. I talk with my boss again and I receive an excuse with a new promised date.

I can see the following options:

1- Look for another job: I've already tried that but I couldn't find one. Due to the financial issues that my city is suffering, I would need to move to another city.

2- Stop working so hard - if they don't pay me what I deserve, so I'll not work with a so high performance: that's what I want to do and what I want to tell my boss. I don't want to reduce my performance without telling him because he can feel that I'm not so good as he thought. I want him to know that I'm performing worse because I'm demotivated by not receiving a raise, but as soon as I receive one, I'll work again at full speed.

How can I tell my boss that I will work at a slower pace until I receive a raise without risking my job?

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    "How can I tell my boss that I will work at a slower pace until I receive a raise without risking my job?" Probably not at all. I imagine that your good performance was a reason they kept you and sacked 900 others. – mag Jan 20 '16 at 10:43
  • "What should I do?" Voted to close as an advice question. Please refocus this on the core question to keep this on-topic. – Lilienthal Jan 20 '16 at 11:14
  • If you stop working to the best of your ability, then you can find yourself in hot water for non-performance issues, which can lead to reprimands and sackings... – Moo Jan 20 '16 at 11:20
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    "I want him to know that I'm performing worse because I'm demotivated by not receiving a raise". Tell him directly that the lack of raise for years is demotivating (notice this is true regardless of the underlying reasons behind the lack of raise). But please don't tell him "I'm going to perform worse until I receive a phrase". That just won't help anything. – Brandin Jan 20 '16 at 12:37
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    "1- Look for another job: I've already tried that but I couldn't find one. Due to the financial issues that my city is suffering, I would need to move to another city." If you could not find a new job maybe this means that your salary is good enough. It would be higher if there were any other jobs out there. – JSBach Jan 20 '16 at 16:33

You love to work. You're in the habit of working hard. You're a high performer and you enjoy that. Why would you stop doing that?

  • Will it make you happier? It doesn't sound like it to me. If you hated long hours and were only willing to trade them for more money, it would be different
  • Will it force your boss to give you that raise? From what you've written, if there was any way to give it to you, they would have by now.
  • Will it give your boss a way to force the people up the chain to provide that raise? I doubt it. If word came up the chain to me of a great performer who had decided to go back to "ok" until an ultimatum was met, I would immediately direct the boss to find a replacement - two cheap replacements if need be, which should be easy given what you've said about your city.

So slowing down isn't going to make you happy, and is super risky. No matter how you word your announcement to your boss, you are putting your job at risk. And for what?

If it's possible, start to look for a job in another city. You can do it at a slow pace, but you know there's a good chance this company will not survive, and you don't want to be left high and dry.

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How can I tell my boss that I will work at a slower pace until I receive a raise without risking my job?

I don't know your boss. But for every boss I have known, you cannot.

Going to your boss and saying "Boss, I'm going to hold my breath and intentionally work slower until you give me a raise" isn't likely to get you what you want. Instead, you are giving your boss a reason to fire you - if not now, then the next time they have layoffs.

Since you already tried and failed to find another job, it would seem foolish to risk your position at this company with such a threat.

You indicate that you are a hard worker. Perhaps that's why you are still there, while 90% of your former co-workers are not.

I'd suggest you think long and hard about what you really want. You need to weigh the choice of sticking it out with this company until things improve financially and you can get a raise against trying harder to land a new job - and perhaps moving to a different city.

If you decide to stay, keep working hard in hopes you will eventually be rewarded. You may not be, but you indicated that you like working hard and like being recognized for your high performance. Keep asking for a raise periodically, but don't threaten your boss with a slowdown - you don't have the leverage to pull it off.

If you decide to leave, find a city that isn't "suffering" and move there for a better, higher-paying job.

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By consistently putting in so many extra hours, you've unfortunately tied yourself into a trap. Regardless of the rights and wrongs, any attempt by you to "Work to Rule" (I.e., do as required and little more) will show up negatively. There's a chance that your bosses will understand, but I suspect it's unlikely - they'll simply notice the drop in your performance and output. The reality is that you'll be effectively shooting yourself in the foot and will almost certainly be ensuring that you DON'T get a promotion or payrise any time soon.

I wrote an answer recently that I believe applies just as well to your situation: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/60593/5425

I've said it before and I'll say it again - when things go sour with your employment, the only real option is to either suck it up or leave.

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Your boss recognizes your value to the company, but can't give you a raise. You can't find another job in your city, so you can't really claim your more marketable elsewhere.

It is fair to sit down with your boss and ask what his expectations are for your number of hours under your current position and salary. You may find his expectations are less than what you're doing now (He may not even realize how many hours you work.). Hopefully you have more to offer than long hours unless your company is billing your out by the hour (Then the company should have more money to pay you; all things being equal.). There's nothing wrong with being willing to work hard when there's compensation for it. The company has shown over the course of a year that no matter how many hours you work, the money isn't there.

If your boss wants you to keep working these hours to be considered a top employee, consider asking for a short time frame to reduce your hours until the company is able to compensate you. The key think you have to show is that reducing your hours doesn't limit the company's income.

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  • Yes, actually talking to each other may help :-). – sleske Jan 21 '16 at 12:31

You have ridden this sinking ship for a long time. I would recommend you find another job that pays more and isn't quite so demanding of your time.

If you would rather stay on then arrange a meeting with your boss. Tell him you have been working really hard for the last three years with little to show in terms of advancement. Ask if there is something right around the corner or are they in for some more pay freeze years.

Then you can decide if it is indeed time to move on or is there a big raise on the horizon. I would bet not, so sharpen up that resume and be prepared to move on.

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You can't. You are being paid to do a job to a required standard, which (implicitly or explicitly) includes your productivity rate.

Please be advised that I am not a lawyer, and this site does not offer legal advice, but be warned that going slow may lead to disciplinary action and/or legal issues.

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    You can't? Anyone can ask for a raise at any time. Are you saying it's not likely because of the OP's company circumstances? – user8365 Jan 20 '16 at 12:48
  • @JeffO: I'm answering the question "How can I tell my boss that I will work at a slower pace until I receive a raise?" with "you can't", i.e. it is a tactic that is liable to backfire. – user27483 Jan 20 '16 at 13:36
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    But you follow that with "You are being paid to do a job to a required standard which includes productivity rate." The payment amount is in question and the OP's manager indicated he does deserve the raise, but the company can't afford it at this time. People have always asked for other benefits when the salary is low. He could ask for more personal time, vacation or cut-back on overtime. It's not rare.. – user8365 Jan 26 '16 at 22:29

How can I tell my boss that I will work at a slower pace until I receive a raise without risking my job?

Don't tell him/her. Slow down and work normally (don't over perform).

When you don't get increment, and see others get increment and 1st class trips in the company, it's time to leave this sinking ship.

The way to do it: find another job. When you get an offer then you can face your boss with "I got a better offer", which basically he/she may propose a counter offer to keep you (the long waited increment).

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