When I Asked For More Than My $43,000 Salary, They Accused Me of Living Too Lavish a Lifestyle

Share this

When I Asked For More Than My $43,000 Salary, They Accused Me of Living Too Lavish a Lifestyle

Share this

Meet Emma, a project coordinator from Atlanta, Georgia who, after a year working at her company, taking on more and more responsibilities, asked for more than the $43,000 she was offered. Here’s our conversation about what happened next, edited for length and clarity.

They were giving me all this extra responsibility and I was really excited because I wanted to progress in the role. Before I knew it, I was kind of doing my boss’s job, but without the title or the recognition that came with it.

And so I put together this whole proposal. It was like three or five pages long comparing market trends, the benefits I’ve given to the company since I joined – and my boss actually helped me write the proposal. Helped me choose the points I wanted to make to the director.

So once I got that completed I submitted it to my director. I didn’t hear anything for like two weeks and then out of the blue, on my lunch break, I saw a message that said, “Can you meet us in five minutes?”

I got all my stuff together. I printed out the proposal so I could have it to reference. And I brought my notebook so I could take notes. Almost immediately I knew it was gonna be a “no”.

They were both sitting on one side of the conference room. My direct manager and the director for the entire division. And I was obviously supposed to sit on the other side. It was like them versus me.

So they start going through, saying they really appreciate all my contributions and they really appreciate the time it took me to put this proposal together and how much work I have given to the company.

And then they start justifying the rate I was making by saying, “Well, you accepted this rate when you started the job. So it’s kind of your fault that you’re not getting higher pay.”

They made this one comment, “It’s like you’re asking us to buy you a Louis Vuitton bag.”

And so I just kind of started crying.

And they said, “Well, you should get more roommates or you should move back in with your parents.” And then they started guilt tripping my parents because they wanted to charge me rent if I moved in with them.

And they’re like saying I should get a second job and all this craziness.

I don’t wanna be drowning in work because my job, that I formally loved, just doesn’t respect me enough to pay me a living wage. That just made me feel completely devalued by the company.

And the fact that my boss, my direct manager, helped me write this and she was now on the other end of the table tearing apart my request, that really upset me too.

Another thing that really upset me was they were basically saying that because I’m under my direct manager, the work I had done that year, all the projects I managed, all the work I had done, was not mine to claim. It was my bosses.

I had to just sit in the conference room for a while cause I was trying to gather myself to figure out what to do. I didn’t wanna leave. I didn’t wanna quit. I really loved working there and I was making a decent name for myself cause I was pretty good at my job.

And then they kept on stopping by and doing “damage control”.

Like my director showed me her overdrawn bank account. She was like, “I have two mortgages and rent and you don’t see me complaining.”

I wanted time to gather myself so I could stop crying and she just came in and started adding onto it. And so for the rest of the day, I was kind of shell shocked. I was not expecting to be treated that way.

Then they wanted to have another meeting the next day, which was damage control number two. They came into my office and they started talking over me so I couldn’t even make my points that I had put together. And they left with nothing resolved. I asked for one thing, I was like, “Well, if you can’t give me a raise, can you at least let me keep this office?” Because I thought that was a reasonable request, maybe a compromise.

“No.” No one’s even using the office. It’s unassigned.

A few minutes later, my VP of the division messages me to meet to go over what just happened. This is all within the span of like two or three days. And it’s basically the same thing as the damage control meetings. Just her justifying why I wasn’t able to get the raise, her justifying what they said.

She made it seem like I was asking the company to pay for my high living or something.

Like I was asking for a life of luxury and asking the company to front that cost. And she kept on making the point how I should be happy.

They started micromanaging me and getting really particular about my work – making it feel like I can’t do my job right and so that’s why I can’t get the raise. Basically continuing to justify what they did and point out any tiny mistake I made as a justification for that.

I was pretty much crying daily cause they were just being so mean to me. And it was just a really hard time. Finally, I was just like, “I can’t do this.” And so I started looking for a job.

They had one final meeting and it was basically damage control number three. It was them saying how I’ve ruined their relationships with me and how I’ve ruined the trust that we had in our team.

They kept on saying how I’m just asking too much.

Basically saying that everything I had done is why we’re in this state of disharmony. And I was in disbelief.

At that point I was pretty much ready to leave, I was just waiting for the right job to come by. But after that I was like, “Nope.” I sent them a resignation letter.

And then I talked to another person who was from the company who had quit a few months before me and she said that that’s actually a common occurrence where they just start bullying people once they complain. And there’s actually reviews on like Glassdoor saying stuff like that too. There’s one review that made me laugh. It was like, “solution to the company,” and the person wrote “exorcism.”

Basically, this company just doesn’t allow people to grow. It kind of represses you if you want to grow and if you call them out on that, they punish you.

Now I have a new job. I actually have a title that my boss had now. I make more than I asked them for. And I’m actually really happy in this job. I’m making a difference. I’m doing a lot more work that I find satisfying. And I’m really glad I left.

More Articles

You May Also Like

If you’ve ever been called “too ambitious”, this is for you…

Join the “Too Ambitious” newsletter for real stories and expert advice on navigating work, money and ambition on your own terms.

When you sign up to our newsletter you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy