In the October 30, 2012 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a successful manager complains a promise about higher pay hasn’t been kept:

When I was hired almost two years ago as a manager, it was with the promise that if I achieved certain milestones and met the company’s expectations my compensation would increase dramatically. I’ve met all the requirements and more, and no one disputes that. But when I approached top management about this recently, they said there’s no way they could pay me that much money.

These are basically honest people, and I like working with them. They created the expectation, and I have worked exceptionally hard to earn exceptional money. I’m willing to stick it out, but I’m wondering if I was too trusting. I did not get all these promises in writing as you recommend. I decided to take a chance. (I just bought Keep Your Salary Under Wraps. I figured I owed it to you. Your first book basically got me my current job!) I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Nick’s Reply

There’s no law against employers promising things they later decide they just “can’t” deliver — unless they put it in writing. I learned this the hard way, too. Many years ago I took over a sales group, and the VP offered me one of two deals: A decent salary and a pretty good commission plan, or no salary and a phenomenal commission plan. I quickly decided that if I couldn’t blow the quotas away, I just shouldn’t take the job. But I did, and the VP used to crow that he and I were the only ones that put their money where their mouths are and worked on 100% commission.

I made a lot of money. And, as I anticipated, I blew away the plan. Again and again. Until they brought me in and said, “We can’t keep paying you this much money.”

It took a while for me to leave. But I’ve seen this happen many times to others, and the caution I offer is, get it in writing when you accept the offer.

The criteria for more money must be:

  • Written
  • Objective
  • Achievable, and
  • Measurable.

The agreement must also guarantee the plan throughout your employment, or they’ll reduce it. Few employers will put it in writing because the deal they offer isn’t real to them. That is, they really don’t know what to do with exceptional performers, except promise that they’ll take good care of them… until time comes to pay off. And here’s the serious problem: They can’t accept the idea that paying you a big chunk of a lot of money is better than paying a small percentage of a lot less money. So they lose managers like you.

For some of the very best advice about how to protect yourself when accepting a job offer, see Bernie Dietz’s excellent article, Employment Contracts: Everyone needs promise protection.

None of this helps you now, but it might help you next time. If your boss doesn’t understand that the best way to lose the best employees is to welsh on compensation, then either you adjust your expectations, or you find an employer that is willing to pay for exceptional performance. They’re out there. But you won’t find them by applying for jobs. You pick the sweetest companies, then research the management team — and when you find such a company, you go after it. But once you’ve got the deal you want, get it in writing. It’s not real (as you’ve learned) if they won’t sign it.

But you can still try to fix this now. Try to “renew your wedding vows.” Is the company willing to sign a friendly letter of intent that re-states your original agreement with a firm timeline based on your performance? It’s not too late to amend the employment deal you took.

In Keep Your Salary Under Wraps I recommend William Poundstone’s excellent book, Priceless: The myth of fair value. This book explains how a salary is “anchored” to a low point. Don’t let it happen to you. The book also explains how to pull a negotiation upwards by understanding the parameters of the anchoring effect. Contrary to the conventional wisdom (“Whoever states a number first, loses.”) it turns out that you can control negotiations about money if you know what number to state and how to state it.

Thanks for your kind words. I wish you the best.

Did you get paid what you were promised? Or, did you get suckered into delivering exceptional performance without exceptional compensation? Is it reasonable for employers to avoid big payouts? Let’s talk about how to protect yourself.

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  1. I had something similar happen to me. I was feeling stuck, like I was working too hard for less and less real compensation. So, I took your advice, and went to my boss and told him I wanted a new job. I pointed out that a new regulation in our industry was coming and pointed out how no one was addressing it. I told him we needed someone to be empowered to specifically address it and I outlined why I was that person. Then I laid out the plan to roll some current duties into this new position as well as to take care of the upcoming regulatory issues. I also outlined my plan to add additional staff to take over the position that I then had and showed how this would be a Win-Win-Win for the company, our department, and myself. I told him that I felt that the new position would also be one of more responsibility and felt that it needed to be a bump up of one level from where I was at the moment. He agreed and got a verbal sign-off from the CEO and HR. Of course I did NOT get it in writing; something that I will never do again. The only hitch in the plan was that the person who did the other half of the regulatory things in the company was about to leave and they were trying to decide what to to with her position and duties and I was told that it might be a few months before that all shook out; I was fine with that and I started working on the new stuff without anything else in my plan happening.

    To make this a little shorter, months and months went by without anything from management. I kept pinging my boss and finally he called me into his office for the good news/bad news talk. The good news was that I would be able to continue on doing the things I wanted to do; heck I even got a title :). But the bad news was that there was only so much money and he had decided to hire a person as a supervisor in our area and he was told that we weren’t big enough to need two supervisors so I would not be getting promoted. I was livid. I had done everything right, except get it in writing, and I was getting screwed royally. And I knew that the main reason he was hiring this person was that the other part of the department was a little more work than mine and he really didn’t want to deal with it. I started that day to look for another job, but never found one that could allow me to use my skills as well as fairly compensate me. I suppose if I had been willing to move or make other sacrifices, I could have found something, but with the family and personal situations in my life at the time, that wasn’t possible.

    So, I still work for them today. But I have lost total respect for my boss and I do not trust anyone in management. I do my job and I do it well, but not as well as I would have if I had been treated fairly.

  2. Nick,

    The bottom line fact is not the fact that the employee did not get a promise in writing, but rather that the employer renegged on a promise of compensation for performance. It is a simple matter after a verbal agreement to sent the CYA email (“This email constitutes verbal acceptance of our agreement that blah blah blah. If you do not disagree with this email by COB today I will assume it to be a true recording of our agreement.”)

    But even if the employer gives you something in writing or not, what are you going to do, sue them? Perhaps if the amount is substantial enough – but then you risk getting blackballed if you are in a tight industry. You could always quit, which as I understand it is the recommended action for superstars. But if you are only just good, you either suck it up and now know who you are working for, or else cease your over the top efforts, as you are not getting paid for it anyway.

    The lawyers out there can probably chime in that any promise of extra compensation most likely has some sort of out for the company in case they “just can’t pay it.” This would essentially render such an agreement about as valid as the one you sign with a credit card company – good for as long as they don’t want to change it unilaterally.

  3. I am in the IT industry. The IT industry has become a place of one-stop-shop (where individuals are almost required to know everything). It is almost as if someone asks me a question, and I do not know the answer, that I’m not doing my job. But, I’m sure it is like that in other areas as well.
    Well, I am the IT department for my company. We have six different locations (four geographical areas), several virtualized servers, and I support over 100 users. I do all purchases for anything communications or IT related as well. I’m not complaining about my job and what I do; I rather enjoy it. What I am complaining about though is my pay.
    I took the averages of what is stated on Salary.Com,,, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Using that average, I am roughly $30,000 underpaid (and that is the average). The bottom 10% in my field makes $10,000 more than I do. This is based on my location, job title, education, experience, and the size and type of the company that I work for.
    When I went in for my 90 day review (9 months ago), I presented this information to my boss (who is also the CFO). He informed me that he would look into it. He reluctantly gave me a $2,500 raise (which brought me to $10,000 under the bottom 10%). I want to move on, but seem to be having great difficulties finding positions available in this market.

  4. What you are complaining that they promised you money and now can’t afford to pay? Do you realize just how selfish this makes you sound? Fully one-third of the work force is un- or under-employed, and here you are crying over some promised compensation that just didn’t work out for the company? You just be grateful just to have a job, and be on your knees every night thanking whatever deity you feel is appropriate that you still have any kind of a job to go to.

    So suck it up, put on your big-boy pants, and go do the outstanding job they expect of you.

    /sarcasm off

    (And yes, I know phrases like “suck it up” and “put on your big boy pants” come right out of the Dummies Guide to Enabling Bullies, but I just had to toss them in there …)

  5. What kind of moral code would society have if the society said “suck it up” to an individual because an unjust action happened to that individual; and the society said that the individual is supposed to swallow unjust actions because there are other situations which are worse. So the imbalance of power can’t be addressed until the worst case scenario can’t happen to anyone.

    The consequences of that moral viewpoint is reprehensible.

  6. Lucille: And yet that scenario is exactly what we have been living (in IT anyway) for the last four years.

    We really should have unemployment well under 5% and general prosperity at this stage of the “recovery”. Why we should, why we do not and my responsibilities as a voter will weigh heavily on me in the voting booth next Tuesday.

  7. About anchoring. My daughter and I teach a class in behavioral economics as applied to engineering. As part of it we do an anchoring experiment. We pass out questions to the class. Half get one that asks if some quantity is above a ridiculously low number, the other half gets ones that ask if it is below an absurdly high number. Then they get asked to estimate this quantity. (The actual value is basically unknowable.) The ones who get the first question have estimates significantly below the second set – in fact there is no overlap and the results are statistically significant even with only 20 people in the sample. The anchoring effect is amazingly powerful. Use it!

  8. L.T. and Hank

    I agree with what you all are saying…

    It seems to me that options are rather slim at this point in time if you’re only “average” or “good.” Rock stars will always have options. But, by defintion, most people are average.

    I’ve had interviews and general interest over the last 4 years, but it seems like the salaries offered are not good enough to leave my current situation – i.e. we’ll offer you 10% more at most, and that puts you at the top of the pay range for the position. Let alone you’d be giving up vacation time, have less benefits and be moving to a place with a higher cost of living. Secondly, it seems that some of the positions are not really where I want to go next. So, why would I move from one rut to another?

  9. L.T – by chance are you an HR person or a Manager who has falsely promised something? You should be venting at the company, not the employee who acted in good faith.

    It is true times are tough, but employers shouldn’t be let off the hook for not keeping a promise to an employee. Companies certainly seem to have the money to always pay upper management ridiculous sums, and then come back to the worker bees and claim there’s no money in the budget. It’s a bunch of baloney.

    Maybe it should be in the expectations of the manager to keep their promises or take a pay cut in particular to this situation to offset the pay due to the employee. Seems fair.

    Granted it can be difficult for anyone unemployed or underemployed to feel truly sympathetic to someone who is employed making a decent buck, but I think we should at least be supportive. Heck, half the problem today with wages is that people aren’t sticking it out for better compensation and are accepting anything to help them get by. It is certainly a twisted world when CEO’s/upper management can continue to reap compensation that is so far above the average worker. Go back ten/fifteen years — this wasn’t the case. It’s just not right and there should be some plan to stop the injustice.

  10. JB

    ” is certainly a twisted world when CEO’s/upper management can continue to reap compensation that is so far above the average worker. ”

    I blame it on the boards/stock holders who negotiated and approved the compensation. CEO’s and upper management are going to try to negotiate and keep more compensation – and everyone else is dumb enough to agree.

  11. JB

    Naw i’m just a wage slave looking forward to the day when they carry me feet first out of my cubical as my spirit heads toward the great unemployment line in the sky.

    I was being sarcastic about how managers treat employees just because the economy has been in the dumps for 3+ years.

  12. This is a verbal one on one agreement. The problem could be above the person who promised the raise. You have to think like a businessman. This happened to me several years ago.

    What I did (and may or may not work for you) was to unilaterally change my work hours from 5 days a week to 4 day 10 hour day. This happened when we had a gas spike that drove gas above $2/gal. I was questioned on my change of hours and my response was I could not absorb the gas price hike but I could cut my commuting costs to 4/5ths and continue to work full time. I offered to take the one day in gas cards for the 5th day. They could not comply, my response was I would resume my 5 day schedule when gas falls below $2. My boss pushed through the raise .

  13. NOTE TO ALL: Hurricane Sandy took us down last Monday evening and power is still not restored here at Ask The Headhunter HQ. I got temporary access but can’t stay on — I hope to be posting comments here soon. All’s well here, but cold. Others have it far, far worse and my prayers go out to them.

  14. Nick, I hope that power is soon restored and glad to hear that you’re okay. Hurricane Sandy missed my little corner of MA, but I remember only too well what it was like to be without power from the freak October snow storm last year. Be safe and well.

    @JB: I’m with you. Employers can always plead that times are tough and use that as an excuse not to follow through with promises to employees. And you’re right–funny how there always seems to be plenty of money for CEO and other upper level management compensation and raises and benefits, but when the workers ask that promises be honored, suddenly bosses start avoiding/ignoring you, or you hear about how the company is facing tough times (despite record profits).

    I don’t know if getting it in writing is the be-all solution. If an employer decides to reneg on a raise or bonus or even on the salary (promised to a new employee), there’s not a whole lot an employee can do. What are the options? Sue? Quit?

    And even if you have it in writing, or if there are contracts negotiated, it doesn’t mean that an employer will act in good faith and honor them. My last job was at a large state university. In 2003, there was a recession–not as bad as the current recession but bad enough for the state to be looking at budget cuts. We had contracts with the governor, negotiated on our behalf by our unions, and these contracts, which included not only salaries but benefits and RAISES, were re-negotiated and signed every year by the governor, no matter who the governor was. Well, come the new fiscal year starting 1 July 2003, the new governor (he’s that fellow running for President now), who had negotiated with the unions earlier in the year, decided that he wasn’t going to sign our contracts for the next fiscal year. The unions pitched a fit, employees from the university (and from many other public colleges and universities across the state) got on buses to go to the State House to protest his actions. We wrote letters and phoned the governor’s office. We spoke with his staff (he refused to have any communication with us at all, and refused to talk to the unions), we wrote to our state representatives and senators (who backed us). Nothing happened. Education falls strictly and solely under the executive branch, so the governor gets to decide whether to make cuts or not, whether to honor our contracts or not. His staff finally let the union reps know that the governor thought that “things were tough”–too tough to give the raises he promised us only a few short months ago. He was governor for 4 years, and people working in education worked without contracts for each of those years. The raises were modest and did not cover the increases in cost of living, our contributions to health insurance, gas, groceries, and the ever-increasing parking fees (we paid a hefty price just to park at the place we worked)–the raise for the fiscal year 2004 (starting 1 July 2003) was to have been 5%. The unions continued to negotiate new contracts each year as always, and the percentage of the raises went down because the governor decided that times were tough. Then he refused to sign the contract, so no raises were given to employees during those years. People didn’t quit en masse because they had mortgages, bills to pay, families to provide for, and the jobs were still jobs, even though the salaries covered less and less each year. Those who had spouses who worked had it a little easier, but many of us who were either single or who were married but the only one working found those years a struggle. The new governor signed the contracts his first year in office, for the next fiscal year 2008 (starting 1 July 2007). We were supposed to get our raises retroactively according to our job performance reviews. Those with outstanding/excellent reviews would get them first, in October 2007. Those with satisfactory reviews would get them next, in February 2008. Those with average reviews would be next, in July 2008. Those with poor reviews would be next, in October 2008. Those with bad reviews would be next, in February 2009, and those who had no reviews (if your boss chose not to give you the annual review you were supposed to get), then you were last, in July 2009. And you got a huge tax bite taken out because the retroactive raise was supposed to be given in one lump payment.

    During this same time period, the same governor who refused to sign our contracts had no problem signing off on giving the university president a 15% raise. He was already making $400,000 per year. Staff and faculty who ran the place, did the grunt work, made sure they brought in grants, did the paperwork to make sure the place continued to function, taught students, ran the libraries and the labs, coached students, etc., got nowhere near what the top dog/CEO got. The president’s raise alone would have paid for the raises of many, many employees who needed it, not just one person who already drew a high salary, was provided with a residence.

    So there was money available for raises, just not for workers. And having contracts and things in writing didn’t matter one bit. The governor decided not to honor the contracts he had negotiated. End of matter. And yes, having seen him in action as governor of this state, you can bet that my memories of his reign here are going to factor into my decision in the voting booth on Tuesday. We should be doing better economically, but we’re not. If companies are crying poverty but are sitting on record profits and aren’t hiring, then the problem isn’t that times are tough, at least not for the companies that are making record profits.

  15. @marybeth “If companies are crying poverty but are sitting on record profits and aren’t hiring, then the problem isn’t that times are tough, at least not for the companies that are making record profits.”

    Marybeth, you miss the point. Since this is not Venezuela, France, Myramar, Zimbabwe or any other socialist worker’s paradise one would care to look up to, it is ok for a company to pile up profits, and either use or not use them as they see fit. And unless and until we in the USA turn into a socialist country, and then nationalizes all the big bad businesses, that will not change.

    So why won’t they spend their stockpile to hire more workers? Because business leaders from coast to coast and border to border, wake up in the morning and decide whether today is the day that they support the policies and politics of Barack Hussein Obama. Every day the answer is “no” is a day when the hiring report is dismal, and fully one-third of the working public is un- and under-employed.

    Complaints about him notwithstanding, should he be elected president, Mitt Romney would have three things (minimally) going for him:

    1. The likelihood of a congress that would he could work with easier, and get things done.
    2. He speaks the same language as the private-sector business community.
    3. $30 Billion plus that will go into private sector hiring in the USA the day after his inauguration.

    So while you are in the voting booth you can, if you want, base your decision on the slight you may feel about how you and your fellow government employees were treated by a governor. You can vote for the other guy to “get back” at him. Realize that if you do, you will also be “get back” at every single one of the un- and under-employed Americans who were hoping for a chance at a better job after this election.

    Just sayin.

  16. @LT You missed marybeth’s point. She gave you a real-world instance of contract negotiation.

    There is a lot of history explained if you say that when someone acts a certain way in the past they will act that way in the future.

    If you vote based on Romney’s record of his actions as govenor you’ll see that the ecnonmy was worse in MA under Romney and that contracts were not honored.

  17. Lucille: And if you vote for Obama, you are saying that the economy in last four years are the best America can do.

    We all know that is false. I think everyone on this conversation has seen better in the past under presidents of both parties.

  18. @L.T.: Lucille beat me to it, but she’s right–you missed the whole point to my example. One of the points of Nick’s letter this week is to “get it in writing” as a way for employees, both current and prospective, to protect themselves. Nick makes an excellent point that verbal promises don’t mean anything. My point in giving the example, based on my own experience at the university, is that sometimes even getting it in writing isn’t enough. If you have the misfortune of having an unscrupulous manager, boss, director, or even governor, your written contract might be worth less than any verbal promises made. I think it depends upon what kind of human being that boss/director/governor, whoever is. If he’s not honorable, if his word isn’t good, then he’s not going to honor a written contract or agreement any more than he’s going to honor a verbal one. What this should tell you is how he views workers/employees/prospective employees. If he’s so eager to dishonor contracts negotiated in good faith, cares so little about the people who ensure the success of the program/university/dept./agency, then he’s not likely to keep any promises in the future–of promotion, of raises, of anything. And there’s really not a whole lot you can do. You can sue (think carefully about the costs and just what an employer/boss would do if forced to honor contracts made with you he has no intention of honoring), or you can vote with your feet (quit). If you’re stuck, like many people, with limited opportunities for a job elsewhere, because you have a house, kids in school, a spouse with a job/career (and that too should be taken into account before deciding to uproot), family nearby who may rely upon you, or even if you’re single–you may worry that you won’t find another job right away, or that the next job won’t have any benefits, even if your current employer is providing less and less and you’re paying more and more.

    At that job, one of my colleagues had been employed by the university for 33 years. She had worked for several different schools, seen numerous Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts, Deans, and dept. chairs come and go. She said that this was the first time in all of her 33 years at the university that a GOVERNOR had ever decided NOT to sign the contracts that he had negotiated with the unions only a few short months before, and simply expected people to take it. He refused to meet with union leaders and with employees. Students and alumni wrote letters to him telling him that their experiences at the university were better because of the dedication of staff to students (and asking him NOT to deny them their hard-earned raises). None of that made any difference. Yet somehow he managed to find enough money for a huge raise for the then-President, but times were too tough to help out people who actually did the day to day work–teaching students, running labs, doing research, getting grants, advising students, helping alumni, coaching student athletes, providing health services to students, cleaning dorms and buildings, cooking food, staffing the libraries, making sure the computer systems and computers were running, etc.

    I think it says a lot about his character, his values, and what kind of person he is. Refusing to honor contracts that were negotiated in good faith is despicable. Refusing to meet with the union leaders makes it worse. Refusing to meet with people who took the time to write letters, make phone calls, pooled their money to charter a bus to come to see you, their governor, on his own turf, shows just how much contempt he had for workers.

    I’m not voting to “get back” at him. I see his past behavior as the best indicator of future behavior. I remember what he did to the Commonwealth–massive, to the bone cuts to education, services for the elderly, the poor, children while giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy. He didn’t work with Democrats–he vetoed everything they put in front of him, and most of those vetoes were over-ridden.

    He claims to be a job creator, that he knows something about business, how to create jobs. Did you know that while he was governor of MA, we were 47th out of 50 states in job creation? That’s a dismal, dismal record. Every unemployed and underemployed person wasn’t doing well at all.

    If that what you want for the whole country, then I despair. I wouldn’t want to inflict our former governor on the whole country. It was bad enough here, in just one small state. I can’t understand why you want to multiply that and extend it to the whole country.

    LT, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree politically. That’s fine. Our votes will cancel eachother out.

    Nick’s letter is about what you, the current or prospective employee can do to protect yourself in salary and benefit negotiations. People have been sharing their stories and experiences. All I’m saying is that getting it in writing may not protect you. It really depends upon how honorable your boss/director/whomever is. And yes, I think they know exactly what they’re doing. Telling someone to suck it up and to put on his big boy pants doesn’t cut it. Martin feels that he’s doing too much for too little for too long. Those of us who read Nick’s newsletter know that Nick says most of these matters are up for negotiation. It’s up to the two of you, what you bargain for, whether it is salary, benefits, hours worked, number of days worked (with a nice example of a successful negotiation by Fast Eddie), etc. The employees and unions at the university where I worked were unsuccessful in our attempts to negotiate with our new governor. After he left office (with a 33% approval rating–he wouldn’t have been re-elected had he run again), the new governor did honor contracts. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t individual bosses further down the food chain who weren’t willing to do annual performance reviews, etc., but the point is that the problem was no longer with the governor. The unions negotiated contracts (tricky with the budget being what it was), and the contracts weren’t what people needed and wanted, but at least the contracts were honored.

    Having good employees, people who work hard, who help ensure the success of a business or an agency (if you work for the gov’t)–that’s important. The former governor didn’t recognize that, and more important, didn’t care. Jon noted in his post that while he still works for the same employer today, he doesn’t feel the same way about them (can’t trust them) and doesn’t work as hard as he would if they had honored their promise. That’s a good way to lower morale and productivity–go back on your word, then wonder why people don’t come up with new ideas, work as hard, or trust you. Duh.

  19. I was told I would get a raise after I started fulltime. I had been there two years already part time. I asked the manager two times and the once in an email when and how much my raise was going to be. He never replyed to the email. When he then called me in his office the day the raise was to be on the check and told me I was not getting a raise, matter a fact, nobody was getting a raise. Everyone in this small nineteen person company was expecting a raise. He told me I would have to wait till the owner got back from his three month vacation in FLA. I have no respect for this boss or the owner and am looking for another job. This owner took over a company his father built and is never there, business is up and they tell us it is down, reason for no raises, as the ass sits in sunny FLA and his Harley and 60,000 BMW in the warehouse. Dickhead! Dickhead! Dickhead!

  20. Dennis and everyone else:

    Never ever take a job in a small family-run firm unless sleeping outside is the only option because all the park benches in town are taken.

    You will never be family, you will never be respected, and you will never be compensated. Been there, done that, never again.

  21. How things have changed. I worked for a familiy (partially) owned firm for 13 years. Conditions were cordial, we all knew what the quirks and hot buttons were and knew how to conduct ourselves. In those days, We got our raises and were close to industry norms. Something must have broken big time that a person’s word is no longer their bond, and we need to be covered with boilerplate.

  22. I was promised 1/2 of a side business by my owner who I loved like a mother. She owns 2 new car dealerships in North Arkansas. She was wanting to open a Buy here pay here company due to the economy and all auto news saying if your not doing this, you had better get at it. Wonderful for us is the fact that we could take the higher mileage cars on this lot, instead of selling them to a wholesaler and getting half of what they’re worth. Now! I do the study and I visit with other store who are operating with a great track record and I take note after note to decide just exactly how we want to approach this. After much study while running one of the 2 Ford stores, being on the board of the chamber of commerce as well as meeting with city officials as to a change of address for a spare lot next to our store that we already owned…took so long I went and asked the mayor to take a ride with me and got the address changed because you cant have the same address of your franchise store with a totally used car lot. Then we had to Run internet cable after digging a trench for 200 yards to the new office building, then set an electric pole for the office, and finally were ready to move in.
    After much consideration, we decided to go with a lease here pay here business, because the cars would still be in our name making it easier to reposes. I also got GPS devices and put them on each car with a feature that would enable us to shut the cars ignition off in the case some one failed to pay us or their insurance agent. After getting it up and going my owner asked what I wanted to make from the store and I told her that I wanted a percentage and for her to think about what she thought was fair. Two days later she told me she had been thinking about it and she wanted me to have half of it due to all the work I put into it and the fact that she would still own all the cars at least till they completed the lease. I told her I was thinking more around 25% at the most and she stated “I want you to have half so her son and daughter could not take it from me. Now, the manager of the lot is aware that it is half mine and others caught on as well. After some time and no papers were drawn up she started giving me lame excuses, and then her son stepped back into the business and she begged me not to mention it in front of him so I did not. I knew he had it in for me because I made the franchise store double the bottom line 3 years in a row and he lost over $200,000 every year since 2006. Now I’ve been fired because I’ve done a “poor” job! I have her on tape admitting that I was givin half of the store and the papers were never drawn up, and I have the manager of the store who will testify for me as well….Do I have a case?

  23. @Heath: You need to talk with an attorney quickly. I can’t tell you whether you have a case. You need a lawyer.

  24. People suck. People lie especially american bosses==all about manipulation, lies, manipulation, and endless BS. Get everything in writing–everything. DTA–do not trust anyone. People SUCK.

  25. I work for the CFO of a huge company and I am grossly underpaid. I have brought this to his attention several times he finally thanked me for bringing it to his attention and laughed it off saying that I was slightly underpaid and he’d work with HR to get me the small difference that was in January we are now in March. small difference he even pointed out it wouldn’t really affect the budget for the year so small yet he has no time to follow up on the paper work, I’ve been in contact with the compensation manager he said they are waiting on my boss to make the next move and my boss keeps saying it’s in the “process”. Slight increase to me is enough to cover Gas for the week, I’m sure if he’s measuring it up to his 500k a year salary it would be considered slight.

  26. @Tixgirl: I’ve been in your situation myself, and I rationalized that “these things take time.” They do, but it’s incumbent on your boss to keep you apprised of progress. Sounds to me like he’s not on the same page, no matter what he says. (1) You think you’re grossly underpaid, he thinks only slightly. (2) He says he’s taking care of, but the comp manager says that’s not true.

    I see two disconnects. You must decide whether this is a signal that you need to be working for a company and boss that values you the way you think you should be valued.

    I’m not saying to stir up trouble. But I’m saying you should perhaps hedge your bet by having other options ready to go if your boss doesn’t come through with a reasonable increase, if any at all.

    When I went through this once, I waited and negotiated for months. Nothing came out of it. But in the middle of the process, I lined up another job elsewhere. When my boss once again delayed a resolution, thinking he’d just keep me on the string, I submitted my resignation and let him figure out what happened.

    Nothing makes you more powerful; nothing lets you make intelligent choices; and nothing keeps your spirits up — like having a good option B when option A doesn’t work out.

    Because my option B was ready to go, I didn’t even vent my spleen on my jerk of a boss when I quit. I just smiled and moved on. It wasn’t worth explaining it to him because the existence of option B had already let me move on!

    My advice: Even if you don’t need to use it, get yourself an option B.

  27. I live in CA and I was hired over a year now from my employer. They did say when I was hired that they do yearly reviews. My year has been up for about 4 months now. When I call my job and ask why I haven’t gotten my yearly review, they say the lady who does payroll may be back up a few months. Well it’s been 4 months over due for mine and it seems like they keep giving the same excuse. I want to know is when and if I get my review and get whatever pay raise does my employer have to retro pay me back till that time? Is this aginst the law for them to do this and is there a certain time frame they have to get this done? Please help me I work for a shady company. They tell you have to come in for a mandatory meeting and they tell us we don’t get paid for that.

  28. @shonna: It’s not uncommon for employers to delay reviews or not do them at all. They’re lazy, and managers don’t like doing reviews. I don’t believe there’s anything against the law about it. But if you work for a shady company, what are you still doing there? Even if they review you, there’s no certainty they’re going to give you a raise or make it retroactive.

  29. I live in NJ and when i was hired in 2013 i got job offer letter stating my position, salary and bonus. It said bonus program will be developed for 2014 . Its 2016 now and still i have not got any bonus. Please advice.

  30. I have been working with a company in Mombasa for the last 2 years and 3 months. In Feb 2018 I got an appraisal letter that reviewed my salary upward. I never got the salary increase n this led to depression as I had committed my self on that basis. I resigned in June and gave a month notice. Can I seek legal assistance to get back the amount that I wasn’t given?