I've been working for a company for 2 years. For the first 1.5 years I was in my home country, and I asked to transfer to the current location, in another country. My manager sent me a proposal and a new contract (with a standard 6 months probation). The money was not what I hoped for, but way better than before.

In the same email, he mentioned that I would have access to a company apartment until I find something for me and my family, and also that we would review the compensation package after 6 months.

First issue: I thought the company apartment would be free, but it wasn't. They asked me for a small amount (about 50% of the market price). Cheap, but... not free like I thought. I only stayed at the place for a couple of months then moved to a bigger place that can fit my family (which is not at a discounted price).

After 6 months had passed, I asked him about the review, he said something like "You didn't understand correctly, I was referring to the annual company-wide raise" (which is not true, the email is pretty clear). This annual raise usually is around 5%, each year. I was disappointed, but I thought that I should wait for another couple of months and see, as the raise usually happens before Christmas. It is now 2017, and apparently the company is not doing the 5% increase for everybody this year.

I love what I do and the team is okay too, but I am really disappointed right now.

Should I approach my manager about this? I'm not a talker. I get emotional pretty quickly and can't find my words. Especially when I'm not speaking my native language.

I already created profiles on job portals and I am updating my CV. I am willing to switch jobs, even commute a little if the money is better. As far as I can tell my current pay is quite below the market median for my experience and industry.

LATER EDIT: one year has passed since I asked for your help. I did talk to my manager, nothing happened. In fact, he quit the company a few months later. I talked to the new guy, and he did give me a raise, around 7%. However, I also started to go to interviews. I am now working for another company, where 2-3 days a week I work from home, the other 2-3 I commute by train for about 1 hour each way (I read about 4 books a month now, which is nice :D). My salary with the new company is about 28% higher (including the bonuses), and my new boss also offered my SO a job, which came in as a nice surprise. The ttoal family income is now about 70% higher. Things are going a lot better for my family. :)

LATER EDIT 2: The second manager, that one that did gave me the raise, also quit after only a couple of months. So probably the problem there is in the higher management...

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    Sounds like you have already decided to leave. – WorkerDrone Jan 3 '17 at 17:25
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    I'm not sure what you expect out of a compensation review -- the company didn't give their usual 5% pay increase, so even if you have a review, your manager will likely say "We've reviewed your performance and while it is excellent, we are not in a position to give any compensation increases this year". – Johnny Jan 3 '17 at 19:10
  • Make sure to understand the political implications of having a conversation with the manager. This maybe a misunderstanding. But, this also maybe slick "we didn't say that move" to save his/her skin. – dev_nut Jan 3 '17 at 19:27
  • @dev_nut If it's just a skin-saving move, what are the potential political implications you have in mind? – stannius Jan 3 '17 at 19:54
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    I wouldn't want to call out my manager for giving false promises if I'm planning to stay in the company. The political implications of pissing off your direct boss is obvious I guess. – dev_nut Jan 3 '17 at 20:02

Should I approach my manager about this? I'm not a talker. I get emotional pretty quickly and can't find my words. Especially when I'm not speaking my native language.

If you aren't a talker, formulate an email. Attach the evidence and then you can take time to construct your argument. If you have things in writing that were told to you prior to starting, then there should at least be discussions about them.

Once you have emailed, arrange a meeting. You will need to talk to him about this. But you can prepare yourself with the minimun you would consider.

In the same email he mentioned in addition that I would have access to a company apartment until I find something for me and my family and also that we would review the compensation package after 6 months. First issue: I thought the company apartment would be free, but it wasn't. They asked me a small amount, but still, not free.

This could simply be a misunderstanding. Unless he has specified that renting the place would be free in the email, I wouldn't get hung up on this point.

With regards to the pay review, you state that the money is good (if not what you were after). Is it below market rate still? for your skills/experience?

I can see both sides. There is clearly a trust issue with your manager. But, it could be a misunderstanding from both sides. It only takes one poorly worded sentence to be misread by someone reading it as his second language to potentially give a completely different story. Couple with that and the fact they aren't giving the 5% to everyone, then maybe the company hasn't had the best financial results.

Moving over to another country is a massive step. What happens if you leave the role? Would you move back home? It's a massive step for your family. I would suggest, although it sucks, taking the hit and maybe "properly" scheduling a pay review in 6 months/a year

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    I feel that for my experience and the industry I'm in the pay is low. At least that's what I think based on Payscale and other similar resources. I believe my main issue is trust at this point... You are right about the apartment though, it could just be a misunderstanding (we communicate in English, a second language for both of us). I am looking for opportunities around the area. We are not prepared to move back. No way. Thanks for your thoughts. 👍 – nailua Jan 3 '17 at 17:07
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    @nailua If you feel underpaid, looking for other opportunities will fix that. Either you're underpaid, and will find a job with higher pay, or you aren't, and the job search will be a reality check. – MackM Jan 3 '17 at 17:12
  • It may also be worth having a native speaker of the language review the manager's emails to verify that your interpretation of them is correct. As mentioned in the answer, it's very easy for something to get lost in translation so the best way to ensure your interpretation is correct is to get a second opinion from someone you trust. Due to potential privacy issues, it may be wise to have that second opinion come from a lawyer, simply because they're required by law to maintain confidentiality whereas a friend or neighbour wouldn't. – aleppke Jan 3 '17 at 21:01

Talk to your manager. Print out the email and go through the points where you are disagreeing with them while both looking at the same document.

Keep preparing to leave but also give management the opportunity to make this right. If they don't then continue with your current action plan, if they do then revise your plan appropriately.


If you have a contract/email stating that you are to receive items a, b, or c then you should discuss this with your manager and see if a compromise of some kind can be made.

Is a 5% or even 10% raise worth taking the risk of moving to another company? I would strongly urge you to discuss your points with your manager first.

If you feel your are being underpaid, share the source of this data with your manager so they can see for themselves.

Remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

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    I personally would feel similar to the OP. No being able to trust the word of a manager is a big deal that can't be compared to the value of an apartment. What if he is breaking his promisis in the future too? – Pudora Jan 3 '17 at 15:50
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    That is a valid point too, which was raised by the first answer, I am offering another perspective. WIthout seeing the actual email and contract I also don't know whether or not its being read wrong by the OP. And moving sucks. – Neo Jan 3 '17 at 15:52
  • I only stayed in that apartment for a couple of months only. And I feel that my pay is lower than I should be able to get in this area with my experience. Thanks for the input. – nailua Jan 3 '17 at 17:09
  • @nailua you may want to update your question to reflect the fact that having to move is not necessarily tied to getting a new job. :-) – Neo Jan 3 '17 at 17:10
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    Fair enough. :) – nailua Jan 3 '17 at 17:11

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