Ahh, that weird Limbo time between Xmas and New Year.. Perfect for catching up on things. Like blog posts.
In my last post, I mentioned my expectations of a pay hike.
That was fun.
It started promisingly enough, with a global email stating that, because it’d been a pretty successful year all round, the base salary was going up by an inflation-beating five percent. So that was nice. Then our team leader – an idiot I’ve mentioned before with great similarity to the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert – let us know he’d be having a review with each of us about what specifically was happening with our individual salaries.
So my turn comes and I get called to the office; he tells me what my current salary is and what it’ll be with the five percent increase. (For reference, that other job offer I had was a little more than a 50% increase.) And that, I’m told, is what I’m getting. No budget for anything else.
PHB tells me this with a very nervous manner, like he’s expecting an explosion of rage or something. Instead, I just give a nod and say, perfectly calmly, that I would therefore be leaving in the New Year – as I had promised in my review. No point getting angry about it, PHB doesn’t make these decisions, and frankly I’ve stopped caring.
So I go back to work, and when I have a free moment with some privacy, I snag the comm unit, switch to a private channel and hail our team leader. Who has quite a lot of clout in our dept. and I get on with well – we train together quite often. And I give him a friendly heads-up that, having just had the salary review, he’ll be losing me next year.
A quite telling silence ensued, followed by “I told them you’d say that. They didn’t believe me”.
My imminent departure would fix that, I pointed out. He agreed, but asked if I could give him a couple days to see if he could sort something out. I said sure, no problem – I wouldn’t be starting to look for a new place until the New Year anyway.
I switch back to the public channel, just in time to hear him chasing for PHB to let him know if the Big Boss is around. He wasn’t, as it happened, he had the day off.
Next day, Big Boss is back in. Late in the morning, he asks me to come in for a quick chat in my next break. So, yet another trip to the office..
He starts out with an apology – I was, he says, never supposed to be told I was on the ‘standard’ five percent, that was a screw-up that was entirely his fault. He dropped the ball and didn’t pass on the message to the PHB.
This, I’m pretty certain, is complete BS, but I don’t see any point in calling him on it.
He goes on to agree that I’m long past due a raise, having only had inflation-matching increments over the last few years which showed no indication of how much progress I’ve made, how valuable I am to them, how much they appreciate the extra work I put in in my free time, etc. etc.
All very true.
So what I was *meant* to be told, he says, was that I am in fact getting a pay rise: A whole 30%!
It *does* come with a caveat, though: I have to agree to switch from a one- to a three-month notice period.
So I say I’ll think about it over lunch. I *did* consider telling them to stick it, since I’m pretty sure I could find a new place in January and be out by the end of February, which this little ploy would scupper.
But whilst that would have a certain amount of satisfaction.. it would actually be rather inconvenient. Because on further thought, any of the places I’d like to move to – and I’m in the fortunate position of being able to be choosy – would require relocating. Moving job means moving home. Which isn’t something that’s fun to do with a short deadline.
I’m also thinking of going for a post in a different part of Europe. And I have pets, who’d need a bunch of paperwork etc. to be sorted. And so on. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that having more time to play with would actually be very helpful. And having a few months of higher pay before making the move would also ease things.
This is why I try not to make snap decisions: The instinctive answer is so typically the wrong one.
So I went back after lunch and agreed.
You’ll note that nowhere in the above was any mention made of “I’ll take the raise and stay put.” This was the final straw: I’m leaving. This place just isn’t nice to work at any more, and having to go to these ridiculous lengths just to get my salary dragged up to what’s still relatively low, and still not close to even matching what I was offered elsewhere.. No. Screw them, I’m not playing these games.
And I know why they’re doing it: They think they’re being clever and shrewd, keeping their outgoings low. But that’s because they’re idiots who don’t understand the people they’re managing: We spies are a highly-skilled, highly-trained lot. They think a kid fresh out of college can be given a few weeks of field training and he’s then as good as someone with years of experience.
And he’s not.
They don’t realize that they have a team of people who they can’t replace. And they don’t realize that you don’t get stupid people in the spy business. We’re all smart enough to know what their game is, we’re all smart enough to know we’re worth more than we’re getting and that there’s plenty of places that would be delighted to throw money at us.
There’s only one guy with more experience than me on my team. He’s talking about leaving because he’s got a new kid and money’s too tight for him to stay with being underpaid. I’m staying quiet on the subject, but I’ll be gone by midyear, with any luck. And even the less-experienced team guys are making unhappy mutterings – this time next year, they’ll be lucky if our team leader has more than one man in his team.
It’s a shame, because even a year ago, this was a team I really enjoyed working with. I wouldn’t have even considered leaving. That all changed, and it was basically “death from above” – morons were put in charge and in dozens of tiny little ways, they made it clear that they don’t understand or appreciate us: They think we’re expensive grunts they have to put up with. They don’t seem capable of grasping that we can and will leave, and their entire department dies when we do.
But I no longer care. I’m looking around, and as soon as I find a good place to go, I go.
In the meantime, I’ve started the next level of my training. And I’m truly amazed at how fast my body reacts to the demands that get placed on it. Less than a fortnight into the new regime, and I’m already seeing noticeable changes in my body, in terms of both muscle and posture/bearing. It’s truly amazing how the human body can adapt so fast. Especially since I’ve been battling off a cold and working around all the Xmas stuff the entire time.
So, new training regime, new workplace to find, and a bit more money to play with.. the next year promises to be an interesting one!