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    #1

    Default Found out i'm getting paid much lower than my co-workers

    So i'm a fresh graduate with my BBA in M.I.S. I took a help desk job with a small healthcare IT firm (Around 50 employees). The problem is I screwed myself with the salary for the starting offer, in my first interview with the company I was told that it was an hourly position and the operations officer eluded to the fact that there would be plenty of overtime available. When he asked me for my salary requirements I told him they were negotiable like 3 times trying to avoid the question b/c I wasn't prepared for it... salary questions always come in final interviews for my past jobs. Finally after him not moving on until I answered him I told him I could work with at least $10/hr with overtime included. I know I screwed myself but I figured 45+ hours a week at this rate would net me at least 30k which would be plenty for me since my city is very low cost of living. Again I wasn't prepared to answer that question at all.

    The job offer comes in after 2 more interviews and apparently since my first interview through final interview the help desk positions had been changed from hourly to salary and guess what my offer was, 21k/yr. That's $10/hr for a 40hr week. I was pretty upset with this offer, I tried to negotiate to the mid 20's minimum and told him that I was under the impression about it being hourly with overtime etc which was why my number was so low. My negotiation was met with "It's an entry level job and that's what we have budgeted for the position at this time, we do salary adjustments after 90 days". Me being an easy impressionable fresh grad I decided to take the job anyway for the experience since I didn't want to push the salary anymore b/c I know for a fact that they got over 100 applicants for my position.

    So i've been with the company just under 2 months and everyone is about to go through a performance review. From my knowledge we have never done annual reviews, raises were always just given at whim but it looks like policy might be changing since this is the first time everyone in my section is getting a review at the same time. For this review everyone got some papers to fill out, which subsequently had your salary on the last page. While going over the papers with a co-worker I saw his salary by accident since we didn't know it was on there and I was pretty upset with what I saw...

    32k/yr, he's been with the company 6 months, 1 raise since he started for $1/hr. He graduated from the same university with the same degree 6 months prior to me and had no IT experience, hell I was even more qualified b/c I had a management internship in college to his retail job. This means he has the same credentials as me and started out at 30k/yr.

    I was upset about the salary before but now i'm really angry. I was mislead during the initial interview about pay and when I tried to renegotiate I was shut down which made me think that everyone was just getting the shaft like me. I'm doing very well at the job and they are happy with me, I figure I am going to get my first raise this week when I go in for my review but I know it's going to be way too low. I'm guessing they are just going to try to give me $1/hr raise which would bump me up to 23k.

    How should I go about this? I really love the job and need the experience, but knowing i'm making more than 10k/yr less than someone in the same position and almost exact same credentials is infuriating. I wasn't supposed to see his salary though and in fact I don't even think he knows I saw it b/c I didn't bring it up. What do I do when they try to only bump me up to 23k or hell maybe even lower this week? I feel I deserve at least 27k/yr ($13/hr) but since I started out so low they are going to try to act like this is pushing it. I'm just at a loss, I know I should stick it out with this job for the experience but now having hard evidence that i'm getting taking advantage of really puts a damper on my position with the company.
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  3. Senior Member djhss68's Avatar
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    #2
    Tell them you want 35k. If they don't give it to you, then put in your 2 weeks.
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    #3
    ****, 4 years and you basecly get offered mcdonalds wages? damn aldi's grocery store is hiring cashiers for $12 a hour out here, which is very good for that kind of job but still. $10 would be low ball even if it was a two year degree in my opinion. **** If I can't get at least something compared to my $14 a hour entry level factory job when I get my two year done I'm going to be pissed. Hopefully I'm making a good career choice here.....

    Also like someone else said here once.......Their not going to be faithful to you if they can save money by letting you go, so don't be faithful to them if you get a better offer elsewhere. something like that, I was never part of the thread but it was a good point.
    Last edited by jjbrog; 01-25-2010 at 12:40 AM.
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  5. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #4
    Most bosses don't like finding out their employees have been talking about wages. Since this your first job I wouldn't let this become a big issue just yet. Keep learning on your job, and once you have time in bring it up or move on. Remember the first job is just a stepping stone to bigger things.
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  6. Senior Member AlanJames's Avatar
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    #5
    Start looking for other work, If you get another offer that will give you more leverage and something to negotiate with the salary of your current role.

    I always ask about rate when the agency calls me, and make sure you know before you go into interviews.

    I'm sure you can do better than 10dollars an hour, even for a entry level role!?
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  7. Bothan Spy crrussell3's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    Most bosses don't like finding out their employees have been talking about wages. Since this your first job I wouldn't let this become a big issue just yet. Keep learning on your job, and once you have time in bring it up or move on. Remember the first job is just a stepping stone to bigger things.
    +1 In my area, majority to all entry level Help Desk jobs are offering $10-12/hr. As stated before, employers don't like knowing that their employees know what each other make, accident or not.

    I would stick it out, dig in deep, learn everything you can learn. Document your progress, what you have done for your employer, etc. Come raise time in 6-12 months, then I would bring it up. Go in well prepared, research what others are getting paid (Salary.com - Talent Management, Compensation, Competencies, Payroll, Salaries), and make a case of it. This is your first IT job, so you can't expect too much, although it does suck that you are making less than your co-worker. There might be a reason for it that you are unaware of, right or wrong.
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  8. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJames View Post
    the agency calls me

    You get phone call from the Agency?
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  9. Senior Member AlanJames's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    You get phone call from the Agency?
    Damn, that's going to get me into trouble .. :/
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  10. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJames View Post
    Damn, that's going to get me into trouble .. :/
    What your afraid they will take you to some remote island for questioning? Oh wait, you already live on one





    Just kidding...
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    #10
    Well like I said i'm pretty sure I screwed myself at the first interview. I know i'm getting a raise this week, the problem is going from 21k-23k isn't nearly enough. I'm not supposed to know what my co-worker makes and he didn't exactly tell me so it's not like I can bring that up in my review this week... is there anyway I can rectify screwing myself from the first interview salary question?

    I'm thinking of saying something along the lines of "I took the initial offer to see how I liked the company after the hourly vs salary confusion, now that i'm here I definitely want to stay here but I know I have to be the most underpaid person in the office by far. I have a 4yr degree and I can't even live on my salary, the medium help desk salary is 35k for memphis, I can't really justify it to myself to make in the lower 5 percentile considering my qualifications. I don't think 30k/yr is unfair to ask considering it's still far below the average"

    Would this be a good approach or do you have any suggestions? I don't want to push it too far and get myself let go, there's 0 IT jobs in my city that have been posted in the past month so if it's between this and being unemployed i'll take the experience but I really would like to be paid fairly.
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  12. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dryst999 View Post
    I'm thinking of saying something along the lines of "I took the initial offer to see how I liked the company after the hourly vs salary confusion, now that i'm here I definitely want to stay here but I know I have to be the most underpaid person in the office by far. I have a 4yr degree and I can't even live on my salary, the medium help desk salary is 35k for memphis, I can't really justify it to myself to make in the lower 5 percentile considering my qualifications. I don't think 30k/yr is unfair to ask considering it's still far below the average"

    Would this be a good approach or do you have any suggestions? I don't want to push it too far and get myself let go, there's 0 IT jobs in my city that have been posted in the past month so if it's between this and being unemployed i'll take the experience but I really would like to be paid fairly.
    Take this right please... I seriously don't think you have a leg to stand on. You are fresh out of college, minimal IT experience, and in a IT area that is is highly desired: Health Care. I would love to have experience in Health Care since those jobs are some of the highest paid (so I have been told), most secure, and most of the time only want to hire people with hospital/health care experience. I think your letting this get to you. Crrussell3 made some good points, get experience and certifications, and if doesn't get better you can move on.
    Last edited by veritas_libertas; 01-25-2010 at 01:03 AM.
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  13. Senior Member AlanJames's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    What your afraid they will take you to some remote island for questioning? Oh wait, you already live on one
    Can't argue with that
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    Take this right please... I seriously don't think you have a leg to stand on. You are fresh out of college, minimal IT experience, and in a IT area that is is highly desired: Health Care. I would love to have experience in Health Care since those jobs are some of the highest paid (so I have been told), most secure, and most of the time only want to hire people with hospital/health care experience. I think your letting this get to you. Crrussell3 made some good points, get experience and certifications, and if doesn't get better you can move on.
    Yeh I'm not going to pull a drama queen and just up and quit b/c I messed up my salary negotiations, i'm trying to figure out the best way to rectify it. I know i'm coming up for a raise already, hell if I could just get to 27k($13/hr) I could live with that fine for right now. I already got my A+/Net+ in the 2 months i've worked at the job. I really honestly wished I never saw my co-workers salary, that way I could have went on thinking that all us fresh grads were getting screwed, but now that I have my low unsatisfying salary has become even more of a morale killer...I mean it's so embarrassing how much I make I had to lie to my family when I got the job.

    This review is the best way to get me on a decent track salary wise with the company and i'm trying to figure out the best way to negotiate it so i'm not stuck going from $10 to $11 for the next 6 months.
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    highly desired: Health Care. I would love to have experience in Health Care since those jobs are some of the highest paid (so I have been told), most secure, and most of the time only want to hire people with hospital/health care experience.
    This is primarily due to all the compliance hoohah.

    I've known a few people who work in IT healthcare and from what I understand the burden of dealing with HIPAA and other junk on a daily basis is quite unnerving.
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  16. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #15
    Sounds like a good plan

    Let me tell you a little bit about my experience. Last year I was working three jobs (two of them IT related thankfully), going to college full time, and married. This year, err, late last year (man time flies ) I moved from Michigan (no jobs there) to South Carolina and am making more than I was with all three jobs before. Trust me it does get better if you are dedicated. Starting out in IT can be frustrating and most of us have start from the bottom up. I have a degree in Networking and was hoping to start in Networking but ended up with Desktop Support. That was a little painful to the pride but I know I will get there eventually.
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  17. Junior Member
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    #16

    Default Patience

    If this was 6 years ago, my advice would be to ask for equal pay and put in your two weeks if you don't receive it; however, times are different now. As you mentioned, hundreds of applicants probably applied for that position, all ranging from IT professionals with many to little years of experience. The chances are small that your boss or the company will give you close to what your co-worker is making, IMO. Your current position was probably created after the economy took a hit, while your co-workers position has been established for a while.

    My advice would be to bring it up to your manager during your evaluation. Ask for a reason your pay is different from his. Perhaps your co-worker is related to someone at the hospital, he lied on his resume about his experience, or the requirements for his position are a bit different than yours. Either way, try to find a reason for the unequal pay. Ask this in the politest way possible. Don't come off as entitled or deserving of this pay. Remember, don't burn bridges or leave on bad terms with a company, especially if you're just starting out. There are small circles in the IT industry.

    The other option you have is to not mention this to your boss and start looking for another job while still working for this company. If the company pays for training, take advantage of that and list it on your resume (Network+, Security+, etc.). I know a few new college grads that have been looking for a job for the past year that would love to be in your current position right now. Be patient and work hard in your current position. It'll pay off later in the future.

    Good Luck.
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  18. Senior Member RouteThisWay's Avatar
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    #17
    Going to be honest here.

    This is a business. The overall goal of this business is to make money. If they have the opportunity to get someone for the same labor, at a cheaper cost... they are going to do it.

    Life isn't fair. You were willing to work at the position for what you agreed was a fair salary. I understand you are upset, but you accepted the offer. Simple as that. If you thought it was too low, walk away. Honestly though, 10/hr is pretty standard no experience IT pay.

    You are upset because your coworker negotiated a better salary than you. Just because someone else makes more money doesn't mean you need to be angry with the company. You should be angry at yourself for not properly preparing for the interview. You never know what will come up, and you need to be prepared. Especially for salary negotiations. Honestly, I am surprised that someone that did a "management internship" wasn't prepared for salary negotiation. Maybe your friend that was hired making more brought some intangibles to the table. Perhaps his soft skills were more developed? Perhaps they saw a higher potential to learn new tech? Not saying this is true, but maybe he was able to portray this in an interview. Which is what interviews are all about... portraying yourself in a favorable light for the position.

    You also need to consider this: alot can happen in 6 months. Perhaps in that 6 months, they decided that position could be filled at a lower wage (as proven by your willingness to accept their offer). A company isn't just going to offer you higher salary based on previous hires. They are going to pay the cost of labor as cheap as they can. They make more money that way. And thats why they are in business. They exist to make money, not pay people.

    There is a bright side however. Because a salary negotiation is just that, a negotiation, that opens up discussion. Unfortunately in this case, you didn't have much leverage. You had no experience, which is king in IT. Your degree will not earn you more money. Neither will certifications. Experience will, and without it... you will not make exactly what you school portrayed your salary would be (Schools are also a business, and lure "higher wages!" as an enrollment advertisement). But you are getting it now.

    A book that was recommended here by a good man by the name of Robert Kaucher is Amazon.com: Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) (9780809094691): William Poundstone: Books

    I am in the process of reading it now, and it has alot of great points. One of the points it makes is that the first number tossed out in salary negotiation is what the negotiation will reference. You made a mistake by throwing out such a low number at first (low in your opinion). If anything, aim high. Let them talk you down. Robert described it best:

    I highly reccomend that book. It discusses salary and price negotiation. It states very clearly that all studies have shown that price discussions are always in reference to the first number mentioned. If possible be the one to give the number first and it should be your ideal. I believe that fair market for my position is $40K, so I might say $45K so that any counter offer they make will then be in relation to the number I mentioned. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is not a huge salary negotiation of the type done by sports figures. These people have lawyers and other representatives and need to consider many other venues of cash other than simple salary. So the tricks and suggestions that those guys might suggest may not apply. Our type of salary negotiation has far more in common with the negotiation between a car salesman and a customer.

    Think about this. If an employer says to you "We are budgeted for about $35K for this position, what are your salary requirements?" You are now starting to think about that number. So now the negotiation must go up to your figure, rather than down to what you might really expect to be paid. It gives you a psychological disadvantage. The actual high end of the budget might be $40K but now you start to think maybe 38 is ok.

    Hopefully you will learn from this. The company isn't entitled to pay you or anyone anything. They will pay the cheapest price for the labor. Not what is fair.
    Last edited by RouteThisWay; 01-25-2010 at 01:45 AM.
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  19. Senior Member RouteThisWay's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by bodacious00 View Post
    My advice would be to bring it up to your manager during your evaluation. Ask for a reason your pay is different from his. Perhaps your co-worker is related to someone at the hospital, he lied on his resume about his experience, or the requirements for his position are a bit different than yours. Either way, try to find a reason for the unequal pay. Ask this in the politest way possible. Don't come off as entitled or deserving of this pay. Remember, don't burn bridges or leave on bad terms with a company, especially if you're just starting out. There are small circles in the IT industry.
    I disagree with this. It is none of your business why he is being paid what he is. They don't owe you anything. Any manager worth his/her salt will simply dismiss this with a general "I cannot discuss an employees pay with anyone else". It solves nothing, but makes you come off in a negative light.
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  20. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #19
    Sounds like a book I need to pickup...
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  21. Senior Member djhss68's Avatar
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    #20
    LISTEN. You're co-worker makes 32. You make 21. I know, you know, we all know that you're better than him. You tell them 35k. If no, you tell them to take the 21k and shove it. (But....don't exactly say that. It's just for effect.)
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    #21
    Don't feel bad I made $10/hr for two years 2005-2008 starting out. I made it to $14/hr then quit because people don't give you respect without a degree. I am better off working 2 years at $10/hr than having had no job. Aim for a higher wage in the next years. Demand after three years to be given equal better pay than your colleagues if you deserve it. Keep your options open maybe 8 months from now a offer paying higher will come your way. That is how I got my $4/hr raise.
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by veritas_libertas View Post
    You get phone call from the Agency?
    Nah, they're nickname is The Company.

    And according to popular lore, there's no such agency
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    #23
    You weren't misled. You low-balled yourself.
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    #24
    Let that be a lesson for everyone. ALWAYS get the salary range they're offering before you give them what you'd like to earn.

    For the OP keep on with your certs and doing a good job. When your review comes up ask for a salary thats more inline with industry standards (after doing your research). It's much easier to keep a good employee happy with a few thousand than to start with someone new.
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  26. Senior Member MentholMoose's Avatar
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by RouteThisWay View Post
    I disagree with this. It is none of your business why he is being paid what he is. They don't owe you anything. Any manager worth his/her salt will simply dismiss this with a general "I cannot discuss an employees pay with anyone else". It solves nothing, but makes you come off in a negative light.
    +1
    Also, many employers have policies prohibiting employees from sharing salary info with each other. They may not believe that the salary info was obtained accidentally, and it could lead to disciplinary action.
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