update: can I ask for a raise after covering for remote coworkers for over a year?

Remember the letter-writer wondering if they could ask for a raise after covering for remote coworkers for over a year (#3 at the link)? Here’s the update.

There have been a lot of recent developments at my work in the months since I’ve written to you and I finally have an update to share!

I took your advice and had multiple conversations with my boss about the tasks I had taken on and how the workload could be more equally distributed and what could be done to have my compensation reflect the increasing responsibility I had taken on. My boss did what she could to redistribute tasks and even took on some herself so that I could get a breather, so for awhile I was staying sort of afloat.

And then another coworker left.

Things escalated quickly, I ended up taking on his responsibilities while keeping up my own workload along with the extraneous tasks I had been doing while management searched for a permanent replacement. I was working ridiculous hours and doing what I could to keep everything going and secretly getting my resume together to start looking for another job. I genuinely enjoyed my job and even learning other elements of other roles, I just couldn’t keep up with the workload anymore.

Then last week my boss and her boss asked to meet with me. I didn’t know what the meeting was for, so was pretty floored when they told me that they recognized how hard I’d been working, how much I had done for the department, and that they were going to promote me. I wasn’t expecting this at all and was in shock because this type of praise isn’t often given at my organization. They went even further, and told me they were making me a manager and gave me an over $15,000 raise! They permanently reassigned some of the tasks I had been doing around the office, adjusted some of the workflows and also let me customize the new role to my skills by letting go of some old tasks and picking up new ones I enjoyed.

With the new workflows and people slowly coming back in the office, plus we have a new person on the team and the changes my bosses made to my workload, it has been much more manageable. I am enjoying my job so much more and am finding a lot of ways to grow in my new role.

I never expected this outcome or this level of support from my supervisors. I’ve worked at such toxic places in the past that it honestly didn’t occur to me that the situation would ever improve. I can’t thank you enough for your response to my original letter, and to the commenters who left such kind words when they were needed.

{ 65 comments… read them below }

  1. lunchtime caller*

    awww I love this update! So often a “temporary” hard time or increase of work becomes permanent, so it’s lovely to see the OP’s hard work during that time be recognized and have it pay off–literally!

  2. CatCat*

    Congrats, OP! Glad to see your hard work recognized internally! Good to see an organization recognize the need to reward skilled, hard workers! Everyone wins.

  3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Well done, OP. This is great news.
    And it’s not just your work level that made it happen, it’s the way you handled the work situation. You took an active role. You met with your boss, you explained everything, you followed up. I’m happy this is the result, but it IS a result of a lot more than just you busting your butt. You made your own future. That’s really cool.
    Best of luck in your new role.

  4. Professional Cat Lady*

    Yayyyy! Congrats OP, and thanks for the update! I’m in a similar situation right now, and I have a little more confidence about speaking up now :)

  5. HelloHello*

    So often companies keep piling tasks on a worker, don’t raise compensation to match and ignore any issues the worker raises, and then are shocked (shocked!) when their employee quits and they have a hard time filling the role. It’s so satisfying to see the reverse happen for once. It turns out if you give your employees room to grow, listen to them, and compensate them fairly, they’re more likely to stick around. Astounding!

    1. redflagday701*

      Right. This is great for OP, but also great for her employer. They don’t have to hire and train somebody to take on what sounds like a boatload of crucial responsibilities, and they have an employee who is likely to be even more loyal than before. It was a good business decision, and it would sure be nice if more employers made more like it.

    2. Chriama*

      On the other hand, OP felt like they were drowning for months and was planning to leave. So this story could have gone very differently, and the message I’d hope that managers take away is that you need to communicate with your employees and move quickly when these things happen, or you risk fostering resentment or losing them entirely.

      1. KateM*

        Yes. Just imagine if managers would notice themselves when their employees are about to be overworked and adjusted their workload/salaries!!

  6. Jenna Webster*

    This actually made me cry (happy, happy tears!) You handled yourself so professionally and responsibly and I’m so glad they finally did their part!

  7. EPLawyer*

    OH MY!!!!

    That is such a great update. I literally clapped when I got to the promotion part. CONGRATULATIONS.

  8. Ashkela*

    This was one of those letters that felt personal because it reflected something that so many folx have had to deal with in the pandemic. While most of us won’t get the happy ending you did because life, I am SO glad that you got your happy ending and it worked out for the best!

  9. To Bean Or Not To Bean*

    I love this for you! This is a great outcome.

    I am still giving this company a bit of side eye for taking over a year to recognize this situation. I also would love to see the company offer that 15K in backpay for the past year as well. One shouldn’t have to do so much extra for so long without proper compensation.

    1. mourning mammoths*

      I’m straight up side eying the meagre 15k raise. In this market that doesn’t seem nearly enough of a bump to retain an employee, let alone promote one to manager.

      1. A Beth*

        Wow, I think it’s totally reasonable. I changed jobs for less than 15K this year. Maybe it depends on the industry.

      2. Nopetopus*

        Agree with A Beth, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone call a $15k raise meager before! Maybe this depends on location/industry, but my recent promotion also came with $12k raise and I was very happy with that.

        1. lizard*

          I don’t think $15K is a meagre raise to receive in general, but in this case where OP explicitly took on other peoples work, it bugs me a little.

          Between the work of the employee on maternity leave, training new hires, and doing an unspecified % of at least 2 other peoples’ jobs, OP has effectively replaced at least 1 additional hire, if not more.

          I understand that the very nature of this kind of promotion means you can’t just hand them a whole additional salary – you’re being partially rewarded from saving the money it would take to hire a new person, and if you get 100% of that hypothetical money, the company’s not saving anything – but $15K is around half of one pretty low salary (30K is below both mean and median US salary). It seems like they’re recognizing OP for doing a great job overall, but not for the fact that they would have needed to hire a whole other person if OP hadn’t taken on all the extra work.

          1. Clisby*

            But it sounds like OP is being promoted to a manager position? $15K sounds pretty stingy to me.
            To be fair, I would have hated being a manager, and if I were forced into it would have wanted a hell of a lot more than $15K.
            I can’t tell whether OP had any interest in management, so I don’t really know whether the bosses’ announcement that they were promoting her to a manager position was a good thing – but if OP is happy with it – Congratulations!

      3. To Bean Or Not To Bean*

        I think it depends on the industry. In my nonprofit arts / educator role, 15K is like 1/3 raise, which is almost life changing. Now if you’re in IT or one of those other jobs I wish I knew about when I was making life-long decisions at the age of 17, that would be an insult.

        But I am glad to see someone else thinks that we shouldn’t be too quick to give kudos to this company for doing the most basic showing of human decency by retroactively paying them more after a year of already doing more than their share of the workload.

        1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          I don’t know, I’d take a 15K raise. It’s smaller as a percentage of my current salary, but it’s nearly $1000 a month even after taxes. I think you have to be in the C-suite realm to not appreciate $1000 a month. I’m expecting a promotion/raise this year, and I’ll be pretty thrilled if it’s in that range.

          1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

            I should add, I get what you’re saying, and 15k a year would not be “life changing” for me, but it’s still a nice raise.

      4. tamarack & fireweed*

        That’s where I come down, too. I didn’t want to comment in this sense right away, since this is a moment for joy, and the OP is happy. Also, from my experience this may well mean that the OP is working for good people who are operating within a messed-up organization (always-too-small budgets, bureaucratic obstacles, across-the-board hiring freezes…) – and that’s a lot better than working for assholes if at the end of the month the bills are getting paid. I’ve had bosses like that – who DID want to develop me in my role, and even though it took much longer than it should have I ended up benefitting.

        But yes, compare $15K and a probably highly appropriate promotion (which serves THEM just as much as the OP) with the cost-to-employ another team member, or two. Sure, $15K/year means a major chunk out of a mortgage payment, or more than a large car payment. It will make a difference to the vast majority of household budgets. But it still feels extremely minimal compared to the situation. I’m happy for the OP, and they should totally take this next step. But I also think they should keep the resume polished up. (Also, people who have been recently promoted are quite attractive to employers with openings.)

      5. Zombeyonce*

        I was thinking this, too. I was excited for them to get the raise for the work they were already doing and then I realized they were being promoted to a managerial position, which I’d expect a much higher raise for. But as someone else said, it really is dependent on industry, though in most industries, managers make significantly more than individual contributors.

  10. KuklaRed*

    I am applauding this loudly from Long Island!! Cheers to you, OP, for coming through this beautifully!

  11. AppleStan*

    Congratulations, OP. Way to advocate for yourself!

    I’m sorry it took so long for things to come through (I saw your original letter was in July of this year), but honestly…for the work world, that was probably FAST on their end. I’m so glad it happened before you told them you were looking/leaving because I think you would have always wondered if they ever would have given you this recognition if you hadn’t told them you were leaving. So this is fantastic.

    OP, again, Congratulations!

  12. Ms. Yvonne*

    Now and again my mind would wander to this letter writer… such a great outcome, the likes of which are so rare. Congrats!

  13. Mimmy*

    I love reading about employers who genuinely recognize the talents and hard work of their employees and actually LISTEN when those employees become overwhelmed or are feeling undervalued.

    Congrats on the promotion–you earned it!

  14. Sparkles McFadden*

    I was expecting this to go in a completely different direction and was pleasantly surprised to read your great news. Congratulations, and thanks for an uplifting post!

  15. RJ*

    This is exactly what should happen when a hard working employee self-advocates and continues to meet and exceed expectations. Congratulations, OP and great job!!

  16. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

    Congratulations! So excited things worked out for you and that you are feeling supported in your new role :)

  17. Bookworm*

    YAY for you, OP! I thought I could see where this was headed but am glad this seems to have totally and completely gone in the opposition direction. That’s so awesome they recognized this!! Thank you so much for sharing your happy update with us. :)

  18. turquoisecow*

    I literally said “oh wow,” when I saw the amount of salary increase. Excellent news OP! Thrilled to hear you’re getting recognized in a tangible way!

  19. 30 Years in the Biz*

    Congratulations for handling the situation so well, communicating your needs, and getting the recognition and rewards you deserved. Your story is a great Friday Good News letter in advance :)

  20. TeaDrinker3000*

    Such a great update! So many end up…sad. But, yours is uplifting! Congrats on promotion and raise!

  21. WildChild*

    Grats OP!

    *This* is why it’s a good idea to pick up and help out where you can, and why “gumption” still has traction with so many people (despite all the issues it’s associated with)

    It’s wonderful to know you not only stuck it out, but were still keeping your senses about possibly moving on…and that your boss, grandboss, and company came through for you!

  22. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

    So happy for you, OP!!! Maybe it’s the pandemic depression, but I teared up when I read this update <3

  23. Llama face!*

    Oh I so badly needed to hear a good bosses and happy ending (or happy new beginning) story like this today! Very glad for you, OP!

  24. Boof*

    Wow OP! I admit, I presumed this was another one of those places that would just keep piling on whoever was willing to tolerate it until they left with little extra material compensation, so glad it’s not and they really were trying hard to work it out!!! Congrats.

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