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I should begin by stating that I am earning just over half the median salary for someone of the same profession, skill set, and location. I work about 60 hours per week at a medium-sized business with two other people who share the same profession. One of them just announced they are leaving in less than two weeks, the other is relatively incompetent, and I happen to be the most skilled. I am also the only employee capable of executing a set of mission-critical tasks essential for running the business. We are all responsible for a handful of projects that will be due early next month. These projects were poorly managed and since our department carries out the last step in these projects, and considering my coworker's imminent departure, a huge time crunch falls on us and will lead to me having to work 80+ hours per week to get everything done on time.

In light of my coworker's resignation announcement, I would like to take this opportunity to negotiate a substantial raise. The way I see it, I have two options:

  1. Just keep swimming. I'll receive a normal raise a few months from now at my review.
  2. Deliver an ultimatum. Tell my boss I'm resigning immediately (well, within two weeks) unless my salary is raised to the median level.

A few comments about my boss:

  1. He's a chronic liar. Of note, he has told employees in our department that they will be receiving a substantial raise, only to backtrack and fail to deliver, acting as if nothing had happened. He has made and failed to fulfill similar raise-based promises toward me.
  2. Even if I leave on good terms, I won't get a good reference from him. Past employees have left on good terms after a lengthy employment and he takes it very personally after their departure.

That being said, I get along very well with my boss. I was informally invited to his "inner circle" of department advisors a couple months ago. I provide a lot of value to the company and I know they would take a decent hit if I quit right away. As far as I know, there is no one waiting in the wings to be hired, though I'm sure that will change very shortly. Still, whoever gets hired won't be of much use in time to complete our current projects as they'll need to go through orientation and familiarize themselves with our work in order to be productive.

I'm not sure what to do here. I don't mind working at this company, but being as underpaid as I am is a serious issue. I feel undervalued and overworked. I have three month's savings and wouldn't be completely devastated if I lost my job.

Is suggesting my own resignation to my boss as a way to get a pay raise a good idea in this situation?

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    I think anytime that you are asking if you should do a thing, and the word for that thing is synonymous with "browbeat", "coerce", "intimidate", and "terrorize", you should not do this thing. – HireThisMarine Jun 21 '16 at 17:48
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    "I'm not sure what to do here." - you should find a new job, hand in your notice, and quit. – WorkerDrone Jun 21 '16 at 17:50
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    If your boss is what you made him to be in your writing, threatening him with quitting will cause him telling you more lies. At the end, you will be back at square one. If you are confident of your skills, get a job elsewhere and quit this one ASAP. If you have doubts about your skills, keep your head down and work as usual. – MelBurslan Jun 21 '16 at 18:06
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    And given your boss' track record with promising raises and not delivering - how much time will you waste before you realise that yet another promise is not going to be delivered? – HorusKol Jun 21 '16 at 23:50
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This one doesn't even seem like a question. If you know your talents and experience are solid, and you know you can get the same job in the same profession for double the money elsewhere. Well that sounds like a no brainer.

Your points are conflicting entirely. You're basically saying you mind, but you don't mind. You like your boss, but you don't like your boss. I'd say find another job first, then put this one in your rear view mirror but in reality it sounds like you're just afraid of change.

If they won't invest in you, why should you invest in them?

  • Seems like a classic love hate relationship, +1 for the last sentence, if they don't give a raise, you can always resign later. – RandomUs1r Nov 9 '18 at 18:49
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Don't threaten or strong arm

Boss I am underpaid compared to my peers based on .... I am working a lot of extra hours already and with X leaving it is going to get worse. Is there room to get me more in line with avg salary based on ...

By saying it is going to get worse you have implied an immediacy without an outright threat.

If you get no where then look for another job. You gave them a fair polite warning.

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    I wouldn't even bother with the polite warning - if the current employers are only paying half the median salary and demanding 60 hour weeks, they don't deserve even that - simply start applying elsewhere and hand in your resignation once you have a new job in hand. – HorusKol Jun 21 '16 at 23:45
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    @HorusKol OK then you would not bother with a polite warning. – paparazzo Jun 22 '16 at 0:23
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Most people don't know it but they're considered completely expendable to their employer. We'd like to think we're invaluable to a company and that our departure would somehow cripple the entire company to doom.

Such thing is false for 99% of employment situations. Unless you are in partnership with a growing company you probably won't be missed.

With that said, if you threaten to quit, do not be surprised they'll say, "We're sorry to hear you go." Even if they agree with your demands, you better believe it they're just actively looking for a replacement until they either fire you or just put you in the back.

The best thing to do is actively find a job, get a offer, then turn in your notice of leave. If they like you, they might try to counteroffer but you can be sure it's basically to cover their back until they find a replacement.

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