I've been considering asking for a raise for almost a year.

A few weeks ago I was having a coffee with Bob, a coworker who is in my team and I am in very good terms with, and I found out he felt the same way, so we agreed that we would figure out when and how to "coordinate" our requests to avoid overlapping.

This morning I received my paycheck , found it inadequate, something clicked in my mind and I stepped up and went to my boss, before even thinking about it, because I was afraid I wouldn't do it if I started overthinking it. Boss welcomed me and answered he'll come back to me in a few days and that he has been considering that too.

First thing afterward I told Bob and he freaked out. He said "you should have told me" , and I said "you're right, I am sorry". After than he's been icy all day and first thing he did after work was texting me things like "I am never ever trusting you again" and "We are never being friends again". I don't like the idea of someone I have to work with 8 hours per day being resentful toward me.

I think he's afraid that I messed up for good his chances to ask for a raise too, or that he'll look like he took the idea from me.

I know what I did wasn't nice but it wasn't done with malice. Now I am pissed off because of his excessive reaction, but I'd like to hear opinions about how to fix it - if there's anything to fix. I considered talking to the boss explaining the situation to him, but I don't think it's a good idea.

  • 1) Bob is not your friend if he was trying to control you for his benefit, no matter how he "packaged" it. 2) Your pay is between you and your employer. Anyone who says anything different needs to be referred to #1. – Wesley Long Oct 12 '16 at 20:50
  • @WesleyLong Who said Bob was trying to control? "so we agreed that we would figure out when and how". Looks like a mutual agreement, not Bob trying to control John. – cdkMoose Oct 12 '16 at 20:51
  • @cdkMoose - Bob said he is trying to control. The OP admitted he was wrong and apologized. Bob is trying to manipulate the situation further with the texts. This behavior is classic manipulation. – Wesley Long Oct 12 '16 at 20:53
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    "I am never ever trusting you again" and "We are never being friends again" - Sorry but you're being honest about this being a workplace and not a high school? – pay Oct 12 '16 at 20:57
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    @cdkMoose - When you've been around (as in lived with) someone who uses these techniques, they're very easy to spot. "We are never being friends again" is a HUGE giveaway. I'd also encourage the OP to review the conversation about the agreement and try to remember whose idea it was. No guarantees, but I know what color I'd put my chips down on with that one. – Wesley Long Oct 12 '16 at 20:57

I think your main mistake in this situation was trying to coordinate with your coworker in the first place.

If you guys really get along you might go so far as to discuss your dissatisfaction with the situation, but each one's raise is typically going to depend on your individual performance, relationship with your manager, etc.

It's ridiculous for Bob to get angry at you for asking for a raise before him. Your asking doesn't stop him from doing the same, and it certainly doesn't diminish his chances. Either your boss will judge him deserving of such a reward, or not.

You've learned a valuable lesson: don't go into too much detail regarding your finances with your coworkers. It can easily lead to resentment and conflict.

As for how to handle the situation going forward, you should start by reassessing your relationship with Bob. He is clearly not very mature. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that among the two of you you might be the higher performing employee, and that he hoped that by asking together he could ride your coat-tails to a raise (a prospect that clearly won't work out anymore).

Do not, under any circumstances, ask for a raise on his behalf, or otherwise bring up your plan to "ask together" to your boss. Explain to Bob that you acted on a spur of the moment impulse, and that you getting a raise or not does not affect his own chances - the boss will either figure he deserves one, or not.

If he doesn't get over it and act like an adult then you should realize that he's not the friend you though he was. There's no need to grovel for forgiveness. You're both adults, and in charge of your respective careers.

You should continue to be polite and friendly to him, but if you do get the raise, keep it to yourself, and don't discuss your finances going forward.

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  • Great way to turn a friend in the workplace into a competitor. – DJClayworth Oct 12 '16 at 20:10
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    It is not immature to feel betrayed when somebody breaks a trust, especially for something very important to you. – cdkMoose Oct 12 '16 at 20:49
  • Much wisdom in this answer. +1 – Wesley Long Oct 12 '16 at 21:04
  • The trust is based on misconceived notion of "cooperating for greater good". Coordinating in this way does nothing, the plan is stupid because a raise is not random or first-come-first-served. The breaking of said plan, even though it was agreed on, should have no effect on either people. – Nelson Oct 13 '16 at 9:41

This is really simple, and nothing to do with your workplace.

You agreed with Bob that you would coordinate your requests for raises, and then you went ahead and did it on your own. Obviously he resents that. It's nothing to do with the fact that you asked for a raise, it's because you went back on your agreement.

His reaction is pretty normal for a human being - maybe a little strong, but will within the limits of normal reactions. You've already done the first right step, which is apologize. Now you have to give him time to cool down. The good news is that most people do get over stuff like this, usually fairly quickly. Keep being nice to him and he will probably come around.

Don't whatever you do get the boss involved. The raise is not the issue here, your breaking the deal is the issue. The boss can't fix that.

The good news is that it's very unlikely that your getting a raise has messed it up for Bob. He can still ask. You could try putting in a good word for Bob with your boss.

And the take-home for the future is, if you don't like unpleasantness in the workplace, stick to your agreements.

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  • Was the plan that they both ask together? I thought it was the opposite. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 12 '16 at 22:04
  • Not necessarily ask together, but coordinate the approach was how I understood it. – DJClayworth Oct 12 '16 at 22:08

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