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Human Behavior

How to Torture Your Boss by Asking for More Money Every Time You’re Given More Responsibility


Dear Boss,

With regard to my filling in for so and so while they’re on vacation, this adds some unforeseen work to my plate that I didn’t initially plan on when taking the job. I’m happy to fill in for my coworkers while they’re away but I was thinking I should be compensated for the extra work since I’m doing more than just my normal job now. What do you think?

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Dear Employee,

I feel an avalanche of NO snowballing inside of me, and it’s growing bigger and bigger with each breath. It’s the kind of avalanche that destroys villages, takes no prisoners, bulldozes over anything in its way. It’s like a vacuum chamber of NO where nothing else can exist besides NO. I think this was a good talk though. If you’ll excuse me I have to go tear up the gift card I was going to give you as a thank you.

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Why Your Torture Plan Will Surely Backfire

On the one hand, adding more work to your plate without compensation breaks the psychological contract between employer and employee. If you find your job description changing day-to- day and twice the expected work loaded on to you then you should definitely have a talk about more money. On the other hand, filling in temporarily for a coworker on leave or doing some added work here and there is expected in the workplace. It’s part of being a team player or just someone who walks the earth. It’s also good practice for an employer to acknowledge the effort in some way, but preemptively asking for money before you’ve even begun the extra work feels like a vague form of blackmail, leaving the boss to subconsciously wonder “…and if you don’t get the extra money…?”

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Maybe Try this Instead?

See the bigger picture. Be the team player. Help your coworkers. You need allies in the workplace. Filling in for people or occasionally going the extra mile is a sure-fire way to build your own team within the larger company team. If you are working for a company that acknowledges hard work and rewards performance then rest assured the compensation will come your way in due time. The preemptive ask is an impression you don’t want to make. A boss would rather see the task get done first and worry about the compensation second than to have to worry about negotiating salary parameters for every task that pops up. If you are working for a company that does not reward or acknowledge, and the external pats on the back are important to you (as it is to many of us) then it’s time to evaluate if it’s the right fit for the long run.

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