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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Does it ever make sense to make less money than your subordinates?

Does it ever make sense to make less money than your subordinates?
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Atheist
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Oct 13, 2014, 03:45 PM
 
I've recently found myself in an odd situation. As the company I work for grows, I've been given more and more responsibility. I'm now the lead architect and software development manager with 2 developers reporting to me. I'm responsible for all custom in-house software and third-party solutions. Sadly, my job title is still "Senior Developer" and I've not received anything more than the run of the mill 3% per year raise. And let me tell you. I'm forced to run an extremely lean organization. I'm expected to manage as well as continue with all of my software coding. Due to a reorganization of the company, a few new developers are now working for me. They were working on a separate product that we sell independent of our main line of business. These developers all make significantly more money than I do. Anywhere from $20K-$30K more. And their old boss has now been moved into our organization and would be perceived as my peer. He is now responsible for all infrastructure (hardware/networking) and still has shared responsibilities with this separate software product although the developers report directly to me. This other manager is making at least $70K more than I. My boss recognizes that these guys are overpaid but just throws up his hands as though there's nothing he can do about it. An additional dynamic to all of this is that I've known and worked with these guys for 20 years.

Do you think it's that peculiar to be making less than the people that work for you? The other wrinkle in all of this is that I'm still working remote from the DR. I won't be moving back to the U.S. until late 2015 / early 2016. If I were on-site I might give them some sort of ultimatum but for now I've resigned myself to wait and see what happens over the next year.

What would you do?
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 13, 2014, 03:47 PM
 
Yeah unless you're indispensable an ultimatum probably won't work.

On the other hand, glad to hear you're coming back. Have you decided where you're going to settle stateside?
     
Atheist  (op)
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Oct 13, 2014, 03:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Yeah unless you're indispensable an ultimatum probably won't work.

On the other hand, glad to hear you're coming back. Have you decided where you're going to settle stateside?

Yeah. I've ruled out the idea of an ultimatum. It's just that sometimes I let the money thing bug me.

We're planning on returning to the DC area. Northern Virginia to be exact. Either Fairfax or Loudoun county. I've toyed with the idea of Michigan since that's where most of my family is but I can't see myself dealing with the cold. Virginia is far enough north for me.
     
mattyb
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Oct 13, 2014, 05:36 PM
 
I've made more money than my managers for a while. Managers are cheap and plentiful, technical people aren't. You need to look for another job. If you're worth more to the company, they'll pay you more, if not then change for another job on more money.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 13, 2014, 10:40 PM
 
You don't have to give an ultimatum to ask for more money. Sometimes it helps (when you are indispensable), the rest of the time it just pisses off the guy you give it to.
If the company can afford to grow, it can afford to pay you more.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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Oct 13, 2014, 11:26 PM
 
I haven't been in a company yet that actually promotes software engineers. They may give you duties but not the title or pay. The only way to get promoted is to give you're two week notice. Then all of a sudden you're in a meeting with the PHB's and they're stunned someones offering you x2.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 14, 2014, 09:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
I've toyed with the idea of Michigan since that's where most of my family is but I can't see myself dealing with the cold. Virginia is far enough north for me.
If you've lived in the Dominican Republic for the past decade or so, there's no way you could cope with Michigan weather.
     
ort888
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Oct 14, 2014, 10:03 AM
 
Ask a baseball manager...

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 15, 2014, 08:47 AM
 
^ha, never thought of that!

However, sounds like they're getting free labor out of you. If you're a manager, your title and pay should reflect that.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 15, 2014, 12:14 PM
 
I would ask for a raise first: no ultimatums, no nothing. Give them the same explanation that you gave here. However, at least in Europe, you usually have to change jobs to get a substantial raise -- or if you have another job offer in your pocket. Then you can bargain very effectively: we've already discussed this topic before, and I wasn't given a raise. Hence, I went shopping around, and this is what company B offers. But I first wanted to come to you, because I like working here, yada yada yada. If your company then doesn't cough up more cash, you have a new job (with better pay).

Amongst friends and family, I only know of one smaller IT company that does smart development of their personnel, most of them just use you until you quit.
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Shaddim
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Oct 15, 2014, 03:13 PM
 
Honest question. Do people who work together usually discuss their salaries?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2014, 03:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Honest question. Do people who work together usually discuss their salaries?
Companies do everything in their power to prevent that.
     
mattyb
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Oct 15, 2014, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Honest question. Do people who work together usually discuss their salaries?
In my experience, in the UK more so than in France.
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 15, 2014, 03:46 PM
 
It's frowned upon, for just this reason.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 15, 2014, 05:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Honest question. Do people who work together usually discuss their salaries?
This stuff invariably gets out.
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Shaddim
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Oct 15, 2014, 06:41 PM
 
In passing, I asked the guys at the garage if they've ever compared their salaries. One piped up, "of course not", while the other looked guilty as hell and tried to blend into the wall.
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OreoCookie
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Oct 15, 2014, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
In passing, I asked the guys at the garage if they've ever compared their salaries. One piped up, "of course not", while the other looked guilty as hell and tried to blend into the wall.
There are also lines of work where the salary is more or less known due to other circumstances. Before becoming a manager my sister worked as a head hunter, and she along with everybody else were pressured and ranked by the numbers of deals they closed. And a part of their salary came from bonuses, one for each signed work contract.
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andi*pandi
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Oct 15, 2014, 09:23 PM
 
then there's glassdoor.com
     
mattyb
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Oct 16, 2014, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
There are also lines of work where the salary is more or less known due to other circumstances. Before becoming a manager my sister worked as a head hunter, and she along with everybody else were pressured and ranked by the numbers of deals they closed. And a part of their salary came from bonuses, one for each signed work contract.
I know a very large company that pays sales people minimum wage. With commission, they're doing very well thankyouverymuch.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 16, 2014, 09:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
I know a very large company that pays sales people minimum wage. With commission, they're doing very well thankyouverymuch.
That's the way it worked for her (not minimum wage, but for her education the base salary was very, very low). Funnily enough her ex-boss' bonus increased when he spent less on the wages of his people
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Shaddim
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Oct 16, 2014, 11:44 AM
 
As a teen I worked at Sears selling PCs and Macs (I believe they called it Div. 3) and it was feast or famine due to their "draw" system. If you didn't make enough in commission to cover your base pay, which commonly happened during slow months, you would actually end up owing Sears at the end of the month, and after a couple months of that you'd be in a pretty deep hole and couldn't make any commission until you bought your way back out of the draw...

So, you'd be in the hole during the Summer, get out in the Fall, make killer money (from a young man's perspective) right before Christmas, then go back in the hole by the end of the next Spring. It was a terrible system that had little to do with your skill as a salesperson and relied almost solely on Sears' ability to; advertise (they were the best in the business at doing this during the Holidays) and price products competitively (Hah!). So often we'd need to be "creative" with sales and pricing or we'd get screwed.
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osiris
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Oct 16, 2014, 12:31 PM
 
Rough call, but managerial positions often pay less than the people "under" them. It's not the job title but the function that is important.

Personally, I'd show up with a couple of "friends" to straighten the situation out - help those involved to "understand" things clearer, and make the necessary changes with a proper "solution".

"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
OAW
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Oct 16, 2014, 12:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
It's frowned upon, for just this reason.
Indeed. My first job out of college I worked in the IT department for a large corporation. I maintained the payroll systems. Naturally I could never discuss personal or confidential info that I had access to (e.g. the salary of anyone other than the senior executives) with my co-workers, but suffice it to say that many of them would have been none too pleased to find out what I knew. The bottom line was that each position seemed to have a salary "range". And there was definitely overlap between the upper range of a lower level position and the lower range of a higher level position.

OAW
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 16, 2014, 01:00 PM
 
Well, ranges can make some sense. The problem tends to be equals with the same responsibilities and large differences not based on results.

Interestingly (to me), my parent company merged branches a few years back and its been an awkward ride as we reconcile the differences between how both places operate. The other branch is known for a vicious work ethic coupled with a lax attitude of appreciation. I was told stories of how bosses would stand by the exits at 5 pm to see who left. Since everyone was salary and they never had enough people (shockingly they had turnover!) they expected everyone to stay late. Where I work, I'm pretty much left alone so long as I get my shit done.

Bringing it around, the best part is I'm paid hourly so when I do extra work (infrequently) I'm paid, and supposedly my yearly compensation is still higher then the salaried slaves at hour sister company. Also, we pick up a lot of their slack because they're constantly behind (It's managerial). It's bizarre.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 16, 2014, 02:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
As a teen I worked at Sears selling PCs and Macs (I believe they called it Div. 3) and it was feast or famine due to their "draw" system. If you didn't make enough in commission to cover your base pay, which commonly happened during slow months, you would actually end up owing Sears at the end of the month, and after a couple months of that you'd be in a pretty deep hole and couldn't make any commission until you bought your way back out of the draw...
What?!? That sounds like a highly dubious and douchy scheme.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
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