Re: Problems with hiring, equity

Subject: Re: Problems with hiring, equity
From: Hulda Dent <hulda -at- WW-WEB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 15:49:33 -0700

Page, Kathryn writes:

> Dear Mr/Ms Anonymous:
> My original reply to your e-mail went like this:
> Your plan is a good one but, if I were you, I wouldn't want to stand on
> one leg until management makes amends. Anyone stupid (or corrupt)
> enough to hire someone with typos in a CV -- for any position -- is
> clearly too stupid (or corrupt) to recognize (or care about) quality.
> In the meantime, keep a file of every single mistake the new writer
> makes.

I've been reading this discussion and have a few comments of my own.
Having been a manager and now owning my own company and being a writer who
busted my butt while making less $ than my peers, I've experienced this
situation from all sides.

If the new hire is a friend of the manager, you need to ask a couple of
questions. First, how has the manger acted in the past? Fair in practice?
Next, how good of a friend is the manager with the new hire? If the
manager has a history of fairness, then the friendship becomes less of an
issue. If not, take caution in the way you "complain."

Regardless, you can document things yes, but be very professional and calm
when you discuss the issue. You don't want your manager to get the
impression that you've spent all your time looking for mistakes and
weakness in the new hire. Believe me, I've had people like that and I
ultimately looked to remove them from the team. My suggestion is to pay
more attention to how you do your job, how you present yourself, how you
interact and add value to the product and use YOUR value as justification
for a salary increase. Right or wrong, those people who came to me and
demanded something because someone else had it lost major points. A good
manager knows who is underpaid and who is making more than they deserve.
Give your manager a chance to evaluate and reward you based on YOU, not the
newbie. And remember, if it doesn't pay off in this job, it will in the
next. Your good work and attitude will follow you, just as a "sour grapes"
attitude will. Guess which one will get you a better job.

> First, I find it extremely disturbing that so many of our peers advise
> against inquiry that might lead to unhappiness. Hardly any of the great
> writers and thinkers through history have recommended this practice
> suggesting, instead, that life is best faced with a bit more courage.

In most companies, discussion of salaries or attempts to find out what
others are earning is grounds for immediate termination. That's a pretty
quick way to achieve unhappiness and the best reason for not making
inquiries. Find out what the salary ranges in similar companies for
similar job duties are and base your requests on that.

> Second, surely it must have occurred to someone that "management"
> insists that salaries not be discussed for a reason -- to hide these
> kinds of differences. Can you imagine how difficult it would be if
> managers actually had to publicly justify salaries?

You are exactly right, salaries are not discussed for a reason. It does
create problems and managers are not always able to change things even when
they'd like to. Salary structures are often set outside of a managers
control...they have to live with it just as the employees do.

-- Hulda R. Dent --
hulda -at- ww-web -dot- com

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