manager says my raise means my coworkers won’t get raises, colleague lies about attending meetings, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. Manager says if I get a raise, fewer of my coworkers will get raises

I have a salary that’s presumably on the higher end of non-management in the department I’m in. I also have about a decade or more development experience than those I work with, so my spot in the range seems justified.

What’s your opinion when a manager says “You’re near the top of the range. If we give you a raise then that means fewer of your coworkers can get raises too,” as a reason for me not getting a year-end raise?

Part of me thinks it’s fair and makes sense, but part of me thinks that my employers defined my salary to fit my experience, and I shouldn’t be penalized for what I’m being paid because it’s in line with what I bring to the table.

That response from your employer is manipulative, whether intentionally or unintentionally so. They’re distracting you from the question of what’s a fair salary for your work and raising the specter of taking money from your coworkers. It’s entirely reasonable for you to ask to be paid a salary that’s commensurate with your value and the market price for your skills; it’s not reasonable for them to make their ability to pay your coworkers your problems.

I’d ignore their statement entirely and bring the focus back to what your work is worth. If they bring up the coworker thing again, say this: “I can’t speak to that, but I think my work is worth $X because ____.”


2. My coworker is lying about attending meetings

I am a director in a big company (meaning there are lots of managers with that title). My fellow coworker, who is also a director in my unit, is supposed to attend a weekly meeting on marketing and report back to our staff. I have noticed that this director really couldn’t answer many of my questions about the marketing meetings when I would follow up with her reports. I met with the head of Marketing to get some specific questions answered regarding a project I was working on. The head of Marketing told me that no one from our unit has attended the weekly meetings in six months.

The head of marketing said they weren’t in a position to reach out unless it started hurting others peoples work. I encouraged them to reach out to her supervisors — but nothing yet. I even thought it may have something to do with my coworker’s team being cut and her being too busy. I offered to attend a few weeks if she couldn’t make it. She told me to my face she goes every week and doesn’t need me to jump in.

I don’t want to make a big stink and it isn’t hurting our day to day work — yet. But should I confront my coworker or bring this to our supervisor?

Since your coworker has already lied to your face about this, explaining to her that you know she’s lying and hasn’t actually gone to the meetings risks introducing tension into your relationship that you might rather not deal with. If that’s the case, I think you’re perfectly in the clear to go straight to your manager. You’d want to keep the focus on work impact — as in, “Jane told me that no one from our unit has attended the weekly marketing meetings in six months. I’d thought it was Tangerina’s responsibility so I checked with her — but she told me she’s been going. I have to say that I don’t think she has been — based both on what Jane said and on the fact that I haven’t been able to get any of my questions about the marketing meetings answered. We do need someone going to those, so what’s the best way to proceed?”

But if you’d rather start with your coworker, you could say it this way: “I think there’s been a miscommunication somewhere. Jane says no one from our unit has attended the marketing meetings in six months. I’m not sure what to do to get answers when I have questions come up about stuff that’s been covered in those meetings.” (But I think it’s highly likely that your coworker will get defensive — she’s being called out on a flagrant lie — so you’ll probably have better luck talking to your boss instead.)


3. Explaining I was fired for ethical disobedience

I’m a college student, hopefully graduating in May. I’m in the middle of job applications, and there’s one issue I’m not sure how to handle. I was fired from a previous job for ethical disobedience. It made actual international news and is easy to find on Google (here’s an article about it), particularly since I have an uncommon name. I’m not embarrassed about what I did, but I’m concerned about what employers will think. On the one hand, that episode demonstrates my dedication to ethical behavior, on the other, it shows that I’m willing to disobey my boss if I think what they’re asking me to do is morally wrong and go to the press about it. How can I best explain this to possible employers and where? I feel like a cover letter is the best spot, but I’m not sure how to frame it as a positive.

[For anyone who can’t read the article: The letter-writer was an ecological director at a scout camp,  found an injured bald eagle in bad condition, texted her boss for permission to call wildlife services or transport the bird herself, and was told no and that she could be fired for doing it. She called  the local Wildlife Center anyway and, following their advice, carefully transported the bird there for care. When she returned to work, her boss berated her and fired her for insubordination.]

First, kudos to you for what you did. I don’t think this article is anything to worry about at all — you come across sympathetically and while some people might side with your old employer, plenty more will side with you, or at least not be terribly concerned by it. A lot of people in your shoes would choose to help a suffering animal (and that’s a good thing), and it’s not the kind of disregard for instructions that’s likely to translate into most office jobs, where you won’t typically be running into injured animals.

You don’t need to address this in your cover letter at all! It might come up in an interview, at which point you can answer questions about it, but it’s very unlikely that an employer would see this and choose not to interview you because of it. As for explaining it if you’re asked about it, you can say something very simple like, “I felt strongly that it was the right thing to do, and that Scout law backed that up.”


4. My sister might apply for a job in my two-person department

I’ve got a dilemma and I feel like I can’t be objective. My mid-sized company is hiring another person with my job title due to company growth. My sister is considering applying. She has the same (really rare) degree I have, from the same school, but had always been more interested in another focus within our degree. At first when the topic came up, she wasn’t interested but now she is after weighing things out. To be clear, neither of us would be managing each other and we would be working on separate projects. My problem is that we would be the only two people in my department. My sister just graduated and needs more job experience, and a little more confidence her work (she is very talented), which she may find here. We wouldn’t be the only ones who have relatives here at work. One salesperson had a sister here for the summer, and we have a mother and son pairing who are in different departments.

We worked together last summer at my company on the same project, but with different but similar roles. The project was a mess due to poor planning, a short deadline, and the inexperience of the salesperson who was handling it. My sister feels miffed that a chunk of her work wasn’t used, but in all honesty, this salesperson wasn’t willing to try to clearly communicate with us and the client and that affected the outcome. I did explain to my sister that was the case, and I often do work that isn’t used and it’s just part of this industry. To be fair, my sister and I worked well together. My manager has also asked about how her schooling has gone and when she graduates, so I do not think he’s opposed to the idea as he has hinted that he would consider hiring her after graduation.

I do have some influence in the hiring decision, and it was always going to be someone from my alma mater in the first place. Now I feel very conflicted because A) if she doesn’t get the job I will feel guilty and B) if she does, I don’t want the perceptions of her work output (good or bad) to be tied to mine. I don’t feel like I can tell her not to apply either. I don’t know what to do. Please help!

I don’t think you should work in a two-person department that will just be you and your sister. That’s not like having a relative in another department. It’s much more fraught with the potential for all sorts of complications. For example: what would happen if your sister’s work wasn’t great and if you felt pressured (either by her or yourself) to cover for her? Or if you got tainted by association, or if there were problems that you could resolve with a coworker that will be harder when it’s your sister, or if there’s competition for projects or other rewards/recognition, or if your sister has a problem with someone else (would you feel obligated to take on her beef as your beef, or would she by annoyed if you didn’t), or if you feel like you’re not able to escape each other, and so much more?

It’s just an awful lot of complications and potential for problems. Since this isn’t the only possible job out there for her, it’s hard to see a compelling argument in favor of doing it.


{ 122 comments… read them below }

  1. John Smith*

    re LW3. I think if challenged, I would mention “reasonable management instruction”, which this manager’s instruction was not. Pretty callous, really, to not allow a rescue. I can understand if it were a film crew documenting wildlife (for example, the brilliant Planet Earth series presented by Sir David Attenborough) which has such a policy (though they do break this where the cause is human made). I’d happily employ someone who ignored their manager on this.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      If a company does have a problem with a person following accepted practices for an injured animal instead of just ignoring it, do you really want to work for that company?

      I know that is sometimes hard to hear when you are looking for work, but right fit goes beyond the actual job duties.

      1. kiki*

        Yeah, honestly, I think anybody who screens a candidate out for this reason probably stinks to work for. I 100% know that there are managers and workplaces who do value following direction over ethics and conscience, but LW probably does not want to proceed further with the hiring process in those cases anyway.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        My money is on the boss thinking of the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 which “currently prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from “taking” bald eagles. Taking is described to include their parts, nests, or eggs, molesting or disturbing the birds. The Act provides criminal penalties for persons who “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle … [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.” Golden eagles were added in 1962.

          1. Cinnamon Boo*

            Right and it makes it even more important to contact such a rescue in the protection of Bald Eagles!!

        1. Candi*

          Thing is, even when they were on the endangered list, taking actions to help the eagles were not charged, as long as the helpers knew what the heck they were doing and didn’t cause more harm. And in the twins’ case, they followed instructions from the experts and retrieved the bird safely.

          (According to the article, OP has a brother who also worked for the Scouts. He got fired for the eagle rescue as well.)

    1. LB33*

      Thank you for posting that link. I still don’t get why they weren’t supposed to move the bird?

      Just fyi I’m not sure if it’s an official site rule, but I don’t think we’re supposed to provide ways to circumvent paid articles. (from what I’ve seen in other comments)

      1. Friend of DeSoto*

        This looks to be a link that WaPo lets paid subscribers use to share articles with non-subscribers (thanks Anonariffic!), and not a paywall circumvention.

      2. Janet Pinkerton*

        I would say that a gift link to an article (which is what this is) is operating within what that website would want. It’s not circumventing the paywall entirely

      3. KittyGhost*

        It’s a seven year old Washington Post article which are typically made available by the paper without a pay wall after enough time has passed.

      4. mlem*

        We’re not supposed to offer circumvention techniques, but several publications now — including Washington Post — allow their paid subscribers to post a limited number of “gift links” without restriction. I wouldn’t think that counts as circumvention in the same way, since the publication is explicitly providing the option.

      5. cassielfsw*

        Thank you for posting that link. I still don’t get why they weren’t supposed to move the bird?

        I’m trying to figure that out too. The article mentions that bald eagles had recently been removed from the endangered species list and maybe the boss wasn’t aware of that, but even if they still were, I don’t see how that applies to a rescue situation? Obviously it’s wrong and unethical and possibly illegal to mess with a bald eagle just for funsies, but this was a badly injured eagle and they had called a wildlife rehabilitation center and were following their instructions. And the boss was afraid of federal charges and a giant fine? I wish the article had explained why they would have thought that, because I don’t get it.

        1. LCH*

          This article [link in lower comment] talks about the illegality of keeping and treating raptors. So possibly the boss was thinking that and just didn’t understand that moving it to a rehab was fine. Or just didn’t want the possible hassle. I don’t know.

          1. bamcheeks*

            Or there was some other safeguarding duty that was in conflict, like LW leaving meant the ratio of adults to campers was wrong or they weren’t supposed to leave a partner behind or something.

        2. Crooked Bird*

          I’m betting the boss’s real issue was that they thought (given the assumption that it was still on the endangered species list) that it would open up OP and the Scout camp to *accusations* of having hunted, injured or otherwise messed with the bald eagle themselves in an illegal way. (If I found an injured endangered-species animal and was attempting a rescue, I’d certainly think VERY carefully about how to avoid giving the appearance that I’d hunted it myself.)

          …But they didn’t want to clearly name that issue because that’s so clearly ass-covering and they thought they could intimidate a college student with a bunch of “you just broke the law” bluster. And/or “you opened us up to accusation” and “you broke the law” are very blurred together in their mind b/c they don’t care about the actual law, just about its effect on them…

          1. Birch*

            That makes no sense. If you’re illegally hunting an animal why would you report it? I could see if you found an animal clearly injured by a car or something, while you were driving, then you’d consider whether it looked like you hit it, but then again if you’re reporting it then clearly you care about wildlife and didn’t do anything on purpose.

            1. Candi*

              Accidental witness where it’s not clear you’re hunting?

              In any case, the bird wasn’t found by either of the twins. It was reported to the OP, and then the twins took action. So even that scenario doesn’t apply.

        3. Phony Genius*

          My understanding of federal wildlife laws basically prohibits anybody other than trained federal wildlife officers from even touching a bald eagle (including feathers that fall off). The best thing to do is call wildlife officials and cordon off the area to protect the bird until official help arrives.

        4. Princess Sparklepony*

          I think the boss just thought it was wrong. He never was able to articulate why – possibly because he was wrong. Seems to me a badly injured bird is a good reason to call wildlife people. Even if the bird was still on the endangered list. After they had contacted wildlife, it would seem all would be permissible. (RIP big eagle, your life was likely short but majestic.)

      6. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I don’t know that much about wildlife rehab, but if bald eagles had still been on the endangered species list at the time, does that mean the rehab people would have been obligated to come and get the eagle themselves?

        In any case, the boss in that situation was 100% in the wrong and I would totally hire those twins. I also hope that they are living the good life now, knowing they did right by that eagle.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Oh, except I just saw the thread below from Non non non so I retract my 2nd paragraph. Sigh. (Please don’t comment about this here, Alison closed comments on that thread for a reason and I agree that it’s not relevant to the eagle story and OP’s original letter.)

    2. Mango Freak*

      Such a bizarre story. Even with a possible misunderstanding about endangerment status, why would they forbid them from CALLING the Wildlife Center? Wouldn’t you still do that if it were endangered?

      Good for the Bookbinders, awesome names and all.

      1. Mango Freak*

        Um, good for the Bookbinders precisely as described in that article; obviously my praise does not extend to any TERF stuff one of them might have engaged in thereafter, whatever I think of their names.

  2. Non non non all the way home*

    It’s interesting that LW3 thought the issue in finding employment would be the ethical situation that involved saving a bald eagle. A quick Google search of her name found another online article that would almost certainly be a bigger issue in job searching: advocating for a group that is “against transgender ideology.” She is quoted saying “We don’t think that a man can become a woman in any sort of very meaningful way.”

    1. Bazzalikestobark*

      This is an old letter from 2018, but Eliana Bookbinder (one of the siblings) was interviewed about being a member of Women’s Liberation Front who don’t believe in transgender people, not being real men or women. This is now the bigger issue rather than saving birds. Unless it was her brother Jeremy writing in, didn’t find any more on him.

      1. Bazzalikestobark*

        Forget to add, the advice Alison obviously gave back then, would be completely different now. Maybe that letter needs an update from Alison.

    2. Ambarish*

      Trying to be technically correct (the best kind of correct!), LW3’s letter was published here in 2016 before her 2019 TERF-y interview, so the future interview could not have been the issue in finding employment in 2016.

    3. John Smith*

      It may be a bigger issue, but it is not the issue that the LW wrote in about and I honestly cannot see why it has been raised. Whilst others may disagree with the viewpoint raised about gender identity, it is a view they are entitled to have and as long as it does not reflect on how they behave in work, is absolutely nothing to do with the article published here.

      1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

        If you are going to publicly espouse anti-trans hatred, then public responses to that are a natural consequence.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            They didn’t mean you; they meant the person in the article.

            I’m disappointed to see the OP’s views too but it’s off-topic for the letter so I’m going to close this thread and ask that we leave it here.

        1. Mister_L*

          Please correct me if I’m wrong, English isn’t my first language.
          Doesn’t scout camp impliy contact with the public / minors?
          That’s something I’d rather know in this case, because it will impact their ability to serve all customers.

    4. Mister_L*

      Just because someone is a good person when it comes to one topic doesn’t mean they can’t be a, let’s just say not so good person when it comes to another topic.

      We’ve seen this with quite a few celebrities recently.

  3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    LW2, I’m pretty sure I would blue screen if someone lied to my face in that way. I would certainly be tying myself in knots trying to work out how they could both be telling the truth (eg Head of Marketing didn’t realise Jane was in OP’s department; Jane attends but doesn’t take notes).

    1. bamcheeks*

      I’d raise it to my manager with a concluding, “So either Head of Marketing doesn’t know who Jane is and that she represents our department, or there’s a separate set of meetings that Jane is going to that she thinks is the monthly marketing meeting but it’s not! Anyway, the impact on my team’s work is XYZ. How do you want me to proceed?” I wouldn’t *suggest* Option C: Jane lied to my face, but I’d leave it there as a Secret Third Thing for my manager to address if she wants.

      1. Wait what is*

        I cane here to say this. This could be a sitcom level of mistaken identity or if it’s a large meeting held virtually, the whole name list/all videos may not show on the marketing director’s main screen. The alleged liar could be quiet or disengaged in the meetings (also explaining the lack of info when asked) and not be noticed by the person running it.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Jane knows it is her responsibility to answer marketing questions.

      When she first found 6 months ago that she couldn’t answer them, it was her responsibility – considering she sounds at a fairly senior level – to find out how to obtain this info.
      Regardless of whether her problem was not taking notes / dozing off in meetings / playing on her phone / going to the wrong set of meetings / whatever.

  4. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**

    LW #1…

    I have been there:

    “Harry, you’re our top performer, but Tom showed more improvement this year, so he got the merit raise instead of you.”

    “Harry, you’re our top performer, but B’Elanna solved that major dilithium problem, so she got the promotion instead of you.”

    >”Harry, you’re our top performer. Why are you leaving?”

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Forever Ensign is a term they use for him sometimes on Star Trek panels (the ones I’ve seen on YouTube, anyway).

    1. Industry Behemoth*

      Not to mention that Tom got demoted from lieutenant to ensign for violating the Prime Directive, but was later reinstated after redeeming himself.

      Tom had acted on personal moral principle, not for any kind of personal gain.

    2. Artemesia*

      this reminds me of the cartoon where a guy has a pile of hundreds of cookies and there is an immigrant and the other guy at the table with one cookie between them and the cookie hoarder is saying ‘watch out, he is trying to get your cookie.’

      This is a disgusting manipulation tactic; the business is responsible for paying people what they are worth and my salary should not be connected to someone else’s. Bet the CEO is not thinking, ‘hey my bonus is huge and that is why my workers are not getting a raise this year.’

      1. MassMatt*

        Yeah the supposed fact that the company simply cannot afford more than one raise (is this separate from cost of living?) suggests that it is in dire financial shape. If a company is doing well, a portion of profits should be directed towards rewarding employees.

  5. straws*

    I used to work with my sister in a 3 person department for many years. We’ve always worked well together, but there is a TON of extra things to prepare for if you’re going to do this, especially if there’s even a remote possibility that one sibling will ever outrank the other. In my case, I moved up while she did not (she was working during college, while it was my career, so that was expected), so we had mutliple talks about that over the years she was there. We were both aware that I might be involved in negative actions that might affect her, and indeed – I was involved with her layoff when that happened. At one point, the quality of her work was called into question (by the other person in our dept – doing the same work), and I was the only person able to evaluate. There were a lot of meetings over this before any evaluation was done. I ended up arranging a blind quality test of all work, and it turned out the other employee was the one making significant errors and trying to blame my sister. I was very thankful I made the blind test decision, or that could have blown up spectacularly. In any case, very very very clear communication and a history of unemotional & practical decision making was key to everything working out for the most part (obviously layoffs were not ideal, but we got through it).

    1. MsSolo (UK)*

      I think there’s also some similar issues as to having spouses working together, in terms of family dynamics at home. When you’re together, or visiting family, you’ll need a firm boundary about talking work. Is there anyone in your lives on an information diet that the other sibling might accidentally breach? You’re less likely to be living together, but there are still potential shared responsibilities that could arise, like elder care, which make being dependent on the same business for your salaries more precarious. If there’s a family funeral, can you both be out at the same time?

    2. ferrina*

      The blind test was really smart!

      I worked at a company where a set of three siblings all worked together. The oldest sibling was the boss of the other two. At one point the oldest sibling directly managed the second sibling who directly managed the youngest sibling. It worked surprisingly well- they never really treated each other as siblings in meetings, and if you weren’t told, you might not even know.
      I guess it depends on the individual…. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this with any of my siblings. When I worked at a company with my mom, she refused to speak to me or acknowledge that I worked there. We wouldn’t even carpool. She had vigorously objected to me being hired at all. She didn’t really make drama, just pretended I wasn’t there. It ended up being fine- my role didn’t overlap with hers at all. It was a short-term role and I moved on after a year. I compartmentalized it from my relationship with my mom. Unfortunately, it was indicative of how she was with me in general.

  6. Mrs M*

    LW#1 – I’m a manager and my company does the same thing. I have a (tiny) pool of money for raises- and if I want to give 1 employee a larger percentage, I have to “steal” the money from other employees. I have 1 underpaid employee that deserves more money and I would love to give him 5% (or more!) but that would mean reducing 4 employees raises down to 1-2% range. It sucks and I hate it. I don’t think your manager is trying to manipulate you- I think they are just being honest about why they can’t do more.

    1. Cat Tree*

      It’s still a huge problem with the company, even if not just that particular manager. Putting managers in a position where they can’t pay their employees fair market value does NOT make the situation better. When your severely underpaid employee leaves, I’m assuming you’ll get the blame for not retaining him even though you were never given the tools you need to do it. (In any case your company is short-sighted because when he quits they’ll have to start paying market rate to replace him anyway.) Maybe you should consider job searching for a place that pays employees, including you, fairly.

    2. Autofill Contact*

      I know not everyone is in the position to do this, but my company does this on the rare occasion we get merit raises (three times in the last 12 years) and twice now my managers have appealed to give me more than the allotted amount while also giving full adjustments to everyone else, and both times it was approved (with some negotiation). Not to sound condescending, but have you tried asking about bringing your underpaid employee up to market rate?

    3. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Unless your company is already in financial trouble, or you are in an area with few jobs, trying to keep salaries below-market is foolish and can soon spiral into trouble:

      Your best employee is in the best position to leave and then you’d be in a pickle trying to find someone of that quality at her pay.
      Indeed more employees could follow her because they know you only give tiny raises.

      1. pope suburban*

        Exactly. If I were to hear this line from a manager, I would start looking for a job because it would give me the impression that the company was either in financial trouble, or not good at budgeting- or maybe both. It’s manipulative and it’s a pretty foolish tack to take, because it sort of inherently makes it seem like the company is in peril.

    4. ThatGirl*

      I don’t know exactly how the process works at my current company, but I assume there’s a pool and a budget to work within. That said, over the summer my manager successfully lobbied for me to get a (second) raise to bring me in line with what a new hire had asked for – the new hire being a friend of mine who I had referred. I didn’t know any of it was happening until it was done, but my manager told me she felt I deserved to make a bit more than my friend, given that I’ve already been working there 2 years, and she made the case to the higher-ups that it was in line with market rates.

    5. Betty*

      Having a tiny pool off money for raises isn’t the employees’ problem to solve, so there’s no need to mention it. Wait, maybe it can make sense if the manager is trying to signal to the employees that they’ll never be paid what they deserve at that company. But it sounded more like a guilt trip in the original letter.

    6. Llama Llama*

      My company does something similar. They are given a pot for a department and it’s the department managers responsibility to distribute said pot. BUT the initial funds is based on a standard percentage for everyone so the pot was already bigger because of the larger salary.

      1. IDK MY BFF JILL*

        This is kind of what my company does too. We budget at the beginning of our fiscal year for raises for everyone. It’s supposed to be based on an overall % of the current salary budget. And generally that how it stays and we split it up amongst the team. However, if I have one or two standout employees I can argue for more money for them because it’s easier to get higher raises for high performers. Where I struggle is the handful of employees who are *not* high performers and ask for more money than even the high performers ask for.

        1. Alice*

          I mean… if you have a handful of employees who are not high performers, but they presumably think they are if they are asking for big raises — are you giving them feedback as their manager? Clearly there is a communication problem.

    7. bamcheeks*

      If one person is underpaid to the tune of 5%, why wouldn’t you raise them to market rate before raising other people’s salaries? I don’t really get the idea that it’s obviously better to concentrate all the unfairness on one person!

      1. kiki*

        Especially the past few years with the cost of living increasing significantly more than average, not giving employees a substantial raise is actually a pay cut. There’s a big risk of the whole department ending up demoralized vs. just one person. And for LW, would they rather risk losing one person or losing multiple?

    8. frustrated fundraiser*

      I may be reading more into this, but the person said they were in development. If they are part of the development (fundraising) department of a nonprofit, there will never be enough money for all the people to get the raises they deserve. This person might be their top fundraiser, and raise the most money, but they can’t do it in a vacuum.

      1. Lanlan*

        This one’s true for most nonprofiteers. You just don’t get into the sector for the pay.

        It’s especially thankless if you’re the person who’s responsible for additional revenue streams for the org, because they will be allocated to whatever programs you raised money for, and not necessarily you. But that’s something that needs to be acknowledged in the sector, and cannot be fixed by one org changing its policies.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        And yet you still have people being paid under the market. Do not be surprised when they leave for places who will pay them adequately.

    9. Alice*

      My department head (my manager’s manager’s manager) is in the same situation as Mrs M, having to allocate a pool of money available to raises for all the people in the department. He also hates it.
      But from the employee side, I’m getting sick of hearing him complain about it. It comes across like he’s bringing it up to elicit reassurance from me that it’s not his fault and I don’t hold him responsible for the under-inflation raises. Buddy, manage your emotions yourself.
      (Mrs M, I’m not criticizing you — I think it is important to be honest with your employees about your employer’s system and the prospects for ever getting a raise. But if you want suggestions, I think it’ll land better if you explain it as “this is the company process” rather than “it makes me sad that I can’t pay everyone market rate.”)

    10. Observer*

      I don’t think your manager is trying to manipulate you- I think they are just being honest about why they can’t do more.

      No. The insufficient budget *is* a choice. Maybe not the choice of the manager, but certainly of the company. And it’s really not the employee’s issue. For the sake of honesty all you need to say is “that’s the best I can do within the budget corporate allows.” If someone is really good, you might even (honestly!) add “I can try to advocate for more for you but I can’t make any promises.” The rest is information that is not actionable for the employee. And the reality is that the only reason a boss would tell their employee that is to keep the employee from pushing it.

      The fact that you frame it as “stealing”, even in scare quotes is troubling. But at least it makes *some* sense for you to see it that way as *your* action (as the agent of the company). But it’s, at best, an utter abdication of responsibility to frame it that way in relationship to the employee.

      1. Impending Heat Dome*

        Completely. What’s the inference here? The employee is “stealing” raises from other employees by…performing exceptionally well?

        That would be the last time I ever performed more than baseline expectations and I would probably start floating my resume as well. Doing your job well is STEALING now. My lord.

      2. kiki*

        I think the word “manipulative” can be tricky. Because manipulation can certainly be intentional and that’s how a lot of people thing about it, but something can still be manipulative even if it wasn’t intended to be. Somebody may be intending to be transparent but disclosing everything may reveal information that unfairly sways another person’s considerations. It’s not an employee’s job to consider how their raise would affect the bottom line of the company or other people’s raises, it’s their job to advocate for themselves so they are paid fairly. It sounds like manager is in a tough spot with the way their organization allocates money for raises, but that was an intentional choice on the company’s part to not budget enough for proper pay and raises for everyone.

    11. Zee*

      I agree they might just have been trying to be transparent and showed bad judgement. But it came off as manipulative whether that’s what they wanted or not.

      It’s fine to say “we have a set amount of money for raises and unfortunately that limits me to x% for your raise this year” without bringing other workers into it.

    12. I should really pick a name*

      In that situation, you simply let them know that you don’t have the money for the raise. There’s nothing to be gained other than bad feelings if you tell them that you’d have to take the money from other employees.

    13. SpaceySteph*

      I would hope you don’t tell employees that, though. It can be true and yet also not something necessary to tell the employees.

  7. Melissa*

    #2 is an impossible situation. Because you’ve already asked her and been lied to. The only thing you can do now is speak to your manager— which means that your co-worker will get in trouble and she is going to blame it on you!

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      The consequences of not doing part of your job for 6 months, then lying about it. The OP isn’t doing this to Jane – Jane is doing it to herself.
      If the OP doesn’t raise it with her manager then she herself could be blamed for delayed work and for not informing her manager once she knew the problem.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      So what? The only other solution is to not raise it. Which will lead to other problems.

      If the coworker is skipping a monthly meeting she is probably failing at her job in other areas. The manager needs to know because the team needs this information. Ignoring it because you don’t want coworker blaming you for getting her own self in trouble is not a good strategy.

        1. ThatGirl*

          It’s not impossible, it just means accepting that someone might get mad at you. Which… if you’re lying about something, getting caught and “in trouble” is a natural consequence.

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            It’s (likely) impossible to resolve without getting the coworker pissed at you. That’s what Melissa meant. I think people are getting a bit too nit-picky here with language.

              1. Happy meal with extra happy*

                Melissa isn’t saying it’s a conundrum? Whether or not you’re a people-pleaser, it still just sucks to have to do something where you know someone will be upset. No one’s saying not to do it, just acknowledging that there’s no way around it.

                1. Pescadero*

                  I just don’t think that is inherently true.

                  Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s neutral, and sometimes it’s fun when you have to do something where you know someone will be upset.

                2. Stopgap*

                  You think that by “impossible situation” Melissa meant “will have a minor negative consequence”? I don’t think saying those are different is nitpicky, I think it’s having a sense of perspective.

      1. Random Dice*

        The person in charge of the meeting series was hinting VERY broadly that it needed to be addressed, and that your team’s reputation is being impacted. I don’t think it’s just OP.

  8. Autofill Contact*

    Sounds like my HR, LW1. See also: “we can’t give you that big of raise/internal candidate offer, it would look bad to other employees.” So… you’re saying if I were external, no problem, because I’m less likely to talk salary or negotiation strategy with new coworkers? Got it.

  9. English Teacher*

    #2 If their failure to attend for 6 months has not hurt your day-to-day work yet, and apparently you are able to meet with the Marketing person when you have specific questions, I would wonder how necessary it is for someone from your department to go to these meetings.

    1. metadata minion*

      It sounds like it has impacted their day-to-day work in that they had to meet with the head of Marketing since their coworker didn’t know information that they should have gotten at the meeting.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      It looks like it does affect the OP’s regular work:
      Neither Jane nor her reports can answer the marketing questions they are supposed to, so the OP has to go to the Head of Marketing to get the info already supplied in her weekly meetings.

      This hasn’t risen to the level of preventing the OP from being able to do her job. However, it is inefficient and wastes the time of both the OP and the Marketing boss, all because Jane doesn’t attend meetings that are part of her job.

    3. Daisy-dog*

      It’s possible it just hasn’t been discovered yet. There will be a project deadline and someone will ask about a piece for the marketing strategy that they didn’t know about.

    4. sparkle emoji*

      If it were acceptable for anyone to go and bother the Head of Marketing with all marketing questions, they wouldn’t need the recurring meeting. A director may be able to ask HoM questions occasionally but that’s not an effective system long-term.

  10. Pescadero*

    LW#1 – welcome to my world.

    We get a fixed percentage of the current salary pool every year for raises. Literally an exact, fixed dollar amount.

    Every single dollar that one person gets means a dollar someone else does not.

    …and as public employees – all those salaries/raises are published for everyone to see. So you KNOW that highest paid employee who got a 15% raise could have gotten 14.5% and you would have kept up with inflation instead of falling behind.

  11. Llama Llama*

    My sister and I work for the same company but never with same manager or even the same department. There was a couple years our roles did intertwine (Llama herding vs llama herding accounting) and it worked fine. However there other siblings that worked together and it was terrible — lots of awkward bickering.

  12. Juicebox Hero*

    For those wondering why LW3’s boss was up in arms over them moving the eagle despite having permission from the rehab center, he might have been thinking of the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 which “currently prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from “taking” bald eagles. Taking is described to include their parts, nests, or eggs, molesting or disturbing the birds. The Act provides criminal penalties for persons who “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle … [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.” Golden eagles were added in 1962.

    It’s plausible that he wouldn’t have thought that permission from the wildlife rehab center didn’t count as a proper permit, and was afraid that the camp and/or the BSA would wind up in deep doo-doo, especially if a camp employee or the eagle itself was hurt or killed during the rescue attempt.

    He should have explained his reasoning instead of just pitching a hissy, but it wasn’t a baseless random accusation.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Hoo boy. That second paragraph should be

      It’s plausible that he wouldn’t have thought that permission from the wildlife rehab center would count as a proper permit

      Need more coffee.

  13. e271828*

    Imagining the outrage at LW#1’s company if the workers decided to unionize.

    No good reason that management should oppose that, of course—they’re treating the workers as a collective unit already…

  14. LB33*

    Obviously your colleague shouldn’t be lying to you, but going forward maybe just ask someone else to attend the meeting? If the goal is to get information from marketing for your team, there’s no point in playing games with the other director – just ask someone on your team to attend instead so you’re not relying on her.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Regardless of if another solution is found, a lying coworker isn’t an issue you can just ignore.

      1. Bo Peep*

        If she’ll lie about this, what else is she willing to lie about? Now you never know if you can trust “I sent that to X” “Y told me Z” etc…

        1. LB33*

          That’s what I mean – you don’t want to be relying on this person for anything so LW should find someone else asap to help w/the marketing meeting

  15. SpaceySteph*

    OP3’s kind of story would actually work REALLY well for an interview in my organization, we do situational interviews and ask for a time when you had to disagree with a superior. We are looking for people with the ability to do the right thing even if authority figures are going another way, even if you might lose your job. You’d have to totally bomb the rest of the interview to not get hired basically off this story alone.

    (I’m aware there’s another thread about other views OP3 maybe holds that are not so commendable, but I’m commenting on the content of this letter only.)

  16. learnedthehardway*

    What OP#3 did is going to be a plus in some instances and a minus in others. Sometimes, when I am interviewing a candidate, and need someone with real backbone in the role, I ask questions about how they handled a disagreement with a manager. Explained in the right way, this is a good example.

    It’s entirely reasonable for the OP to tell interviewers what they did, to point out that they had an ethical obligation to protect an endangered species, that they got professional advice from THE accredited organization that deals with the endangered species, and that – despite knowing the personal risk to their job – they did the right thing. The OP should also explain how they managed to fulfill their other job obligations while dealing with this situation – given that they were responsible for the care of children, that’s also an ethical and job obligation, and arguably more important than rescuing wildlife.

    The important things to focus on are that their actions were not only ethical, but reasonable, well-informed, and necessary. Some people will feel that rescuing an eagle is not really necessary, so the OP should explain why it was important – they should give a compelling detail about the critically endangered status of the eagle species. Also they should point out that while they understood their manager’s point of view was based on their understanding of the law, that in fact, the law is referring to hunting/exploiting the eagles, not to rescuing them. Emphasize that they did not have time to find alternate solutions – ie. it was reasonable to ack. Point out that they did raise the issue appropriately in the organization before acting, and only acted when it became clear that their manager was not going to do so.

    They should think about the lessons they learned from the situation, and also think about whether they would do anything differently (not that they should have, but they should be prepared if there is a f/up question about what they could have done in retrospect. Eg. inform the director that they WERE going to make the call because it was a legal / ethical obligation, and point out to the director that the law refers to hunting/exploitation – not rescue. Ie. perhaps they could have communicated the situation better to their manager. Not that this is something that they should/could have done, but they should consider it and tell the interviewer that they did some analysis of their actions to think about whether they could have done anything different in the situation.

  17. Cee S*

    LW#3: I have an unusual combination of first name and last name, too. I’d be horrified to find myself searchable online very easily over some negative content.

    Ideally, you find the people who echo with your beliefs (not only religious). I put with with bad people earlier in my career just to get student loans and bills paid. As I established in my career, I was able to choose who I work for. In addition, my field (in tech) has more mobility and not regulated.

          1. blue rose*

            You’ve asked a poor question. Most laws concern what is illega. A better question would be by which law do you think it would be illegal? There’s already been some discussion about the relevant laws the LW’s act may be illegal, but also that those laws wouldn’t apply to the LW’s case, and certainly that the LW/the camp couldn’t be hurt by consulting experts (the wildlife center).

  18. Bruce*

    regarding LW#3 and the injured eagle: As a former Scout, Scout camp staff and adult Scouter that caught my attention! Wow. A lot of conflicting issues. While LW3 was on their time off, camp staff have to follow rules at all times they are on site. So the Camp Director has a leg to stand on. Sadly it sounds like a rickety one, since LW3 had talked to the Game Warden and had talked to the wildlife rescue, and they had prior experience. So the Camp Director comes off pretty badly in my view, especially claiming that the Game Warden wanted to arrest LW3 when they had already talked. (My own experience is that Camp Directors are human and fallible, some are _great_ and some not so much.) As far as how this can affect the LW in the future, my feeling is that some managers may not like what you did but if they screen themselves out then it is better for you! (Side note, this is the first AAM story _I_ can recall that was actually documented in the press!)

  19. LuAnne Platter*

    Kudos to OP3 for showing the true spirit of the Scout Oath and helping the animal. I think it demonstrates leadership and executive courage to do what they did. I hope they’re doing well.

  20. ypsi*

    Kudos to the Boy Scout who helped the injured bald eagle. You did the right thing and I applaud you for it.
    Shame (and a lot more unprintables) on his manager!!!!

  21. Filosofickle*

    My brother and I were on the same small team for awhile and I loved it! We worked extremely well together. But I wouldn’t do it again because the team didn’t love it and tended to view us a single person — JackAndJill did this, JackAndJill think that — and any negatives about either of us landed on both of us. They didn’t see us as individuals. We made a point of not doing that again.

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