I've successfully completed my first year and a bit and am scheduled for my yearly performance review. During it I'd like to open negotiations for a pay raise. However, I'm planning on moving to a different state in about half a year. My employer doesn't know this, but I'm thinking that I'd still like to negotiate a raise based on my performance, which my boss and I already agree is great.

Is this unethical? Tacky? Ill-advised? Am I selling myself based on future value that I know they will not receive and am therefore committing a type of fraud?

  • 45
    Why should you be underpaid for another 6 months? Can they promise you in writing you'll have a job any longer than that?
    – user8365
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:26
  • 18
    This is the part of capitalism where your expected to be ruthless. Mar 2, 2016 at 17:33
  • 29
    @MarkRogers I wouldn't say "ruthless". This is the part of capitalism where you recognize the role of prices in allocating scarce resources with alternative uses.
    – mikeazo
    Mar 2, 2016 at 18:59
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    @MarkRogers you're*
    – Insane
    Mar 3, 2016 at 4:57
  • 3
    Is it ethical that you and your colleagues are not paid the same (before asking: in general, no you are not)? Is it ethical that you work off 40 hours when you know our optimum is 30 hrs? Is it ethical that ....? Business in general is not ethical, and generally, life is unfair. Should you ever be in a situation of resignation, grab a Zen book :)
    – phresnel
    Mar 3, 2016 at 10:01

3 Answers 3


Is this unethical? Tacky? Ill-advised? Am I selling myself based on future value that I know they will not receive and am therefore committing a type of fraud?

No, it's not unethical, tacky, or ill-advised. And it's certainly not fraud.

Whenever you are in a performance review, it's a good time to seek a raise. In many shops, an annual raise is pretty much automatic anyway.

And while you are planning to move "in about half a year", you don't know what will actually happen that far off.

You might decide not to move. You might decide to move sometime further in the future. You might even decide to move and see if you can continue working for your current employer (in a different division, or perhaps even remotely).

I believe everyone should see if they can get a raise every time they are having their performance reviewed, unless they have already publicly announced their departure. To me, this is just good business.

It's important to get your current salary as high as you can if you are planning to seek new employment. Employers often base their offer on your most recent salary. Having a higher starting point adds up over the years.

  • 16
    +1 Good advice, Joe. I've been rebuilding my career after a stroke. I found out the hard way that your last salary determines your next. Mar 2, 2016 at 13:29
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    I would add to this that even if you had concrete plans and definitely do move, why cheat yourself out of 6 months of higher pay? Mar 2, 2016 at 14:09
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    I don't get why leaving would have any effect on this decision. The raise is decided based on the value you already showed the previous year. Which means it simply adjust the value you are already putting into those hours, and they give you a raise because the employer recognizes this. So it's completely independent of how much time you're going to work for that employer.
    – Bakuriu
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:20
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    Yeah I've been "planning on moving" from my current job for a few years now. SOON. Mar 2, 2016 at 18:25
  • 5
    Your final salary is a loud statement of your value to that employer and, alas, to society overall. Wish it were otherwise. Since it ain't, maximize it.
    – DudleyM
    Mar 3, 2016 at 3:34

The only thing that would make it unethical is if you negotiate with "if you don't give me a pay-rise, I will look for another job". That should be treated as a commitment to stay for at least a year (unless there is a significant change in your circumstances - eg a partner moving to another state).

However, if you go in with "I think I've done pretty well over the last year, do you agree I am due a rise?", there isn't a problem.

  • Surely that's just down to your own conscience, it isn't actually unethical, things change and people's priorities as well. You may not intend to stay beyond 6 months, but your example is about the poster saying they will leave immediately if they don't get the rise, bluffing that is worse than agreeing to stay and leaving after 6 months, happens to people who accept counter offers all the time. Mar 3, 2016 at 13:39

This only becomes unethical (or worse) if the condition for your pay-rise is you extending your term, implied or otherwise. Examples:

  • Taking on additional responsibilities for completing finite projects that will clearly take longer than 6m.
  • Explicitly signing or saying you'll be there for an amount of time when you wont.
  • As Martin says, using a hypothetical move as an explicit catalyst for the negotiation.

Otherwise just consider it as negotiating for your pay for the next 6 months. Just because you currently think you might not be there next year, doesn't mean your time up until your departure needs to be capped as penance.

Well beside the point that if they give you a rise it may make you reconsider what happens in 6 months. You may demand more money from your next post. You may decide it's better staying put.

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