A reader writes:
This will end up making you laugh at me for being a fool, but here goes: Can I ask for a raise three months after I started a job?
I took this job, knowing it a) was for a company I did not respect much and b) involved long hours and c) involved work I cannot stand (staring at a computer screen for 10 hours/day). I took it because I had the skills for it and it paid much more than my previous job, which I took in a low-self-esteem moment and basically made me have to seek additional part-time work, it paid so low. One job versus two and three seemed an improvement.
So I am now in the new job and have found out I am at the lowest end of pay in my dept (although my skills are mid-range, I would say), and I do not like how much of my life is lost to the extra hours. It is obvious this job is a bad fit, but I wonder if, say, a few extra thousand a year might not make it tolerable [I think it won’t, but hey, I’ve never actually made enough to live on (student loans)] and maybe I’d be a whole new person, and able to tolerate my misgivings/boredom/eyestrain/headaches/no personal time.
I guess that’s the bottom line: I don’t think I’m getting paid enough to suck it up, and I want to be, at least until I can find a healthier job.
There’s also the bad-faith question, but I really have no tender feelings for this company and watch them waste money in a variety of ways every day and think I ought to get in on that, if I’m stuck here. (Not that I waste anyone’s money, I am a super-hard-worker-conscientious, etc., but it is a waste if I have no plans to stay.) I do happen to know that, as I am being trained to replace a senior member who is leaving in a month, they would be in a terrible position if I walked. Which if I can find anything that pays equal to what I’m making now and has better hours/better culture/better job description, I will.
So, does anybody do this? Does it even work or just cause ill will?
I hate to say it but, the company I work for is so known for disorganization and sloppy practices that it wouldn’t really be burning a bridge, to act in bad faith with them. I took the job strictly for money though, so maybe I should learn from that lesson and not try to make things right with another wrong?
I realize after writing this that I really just want to quit, but of course who does that without a job lined up? Not me, not yet anyway.
Yes, I think you do just want to quit. And yes, you should get another job before doing that, of course.
I’m skeptical that an extra few thousand a year will make this more tolerable: You’re talking about work that you hate, a company you hate, and hours you hate. I doubt very much that that’s worth an extra $187/month to you. (Because that’s roughly what a $3,000 raise will come out to after taxes.)
But perhaps more to the point, no, you can’t really ask for a raise after three months, not unless there are very exceptional circumstances (like the job dramatically changing). The most likely outcome of that is that you’d looking naive, and with an annoyed manager and no raise.
I will apologize in advance for turning your plight into a lesson for others, but this … well, this is why you it’s not a good idea to take a job you know you won’t like, just in order to get out of a bad situation. You end up miserable all over again. Or at least, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to go into it really clear-eyed about what you’re doing and why, and what it will mean for your quality of life, and how long you’re willing to do it for, and what your exit strategy will be.
Speaking of exit strategies, that’s what I’d recommend you focus on now. Start thinking about what your next move should be after this one, and what you can do now to position yourself as strongly as possible for that when the time comes. Fixate on that, not the situation you’re in currently. Good luck.