I Just Work Here

The big question: Raises

  • Pin It

Do companies really need "library hours," where everyone in the office shuts up, unplugs from the Internet and focuses on work? (Robin Bartholick/Getty Images/Uppercut / July 18, 2011)

Bennington said that since 2008, many companies have stopped giving across-the-board cost-of-living raises and started pooling the available wage-increase money, doling it out only to workers who are performing well.

"A lot of companies now have discretionary privilege when it comes to allocating who gets what," she said. "If you're an employee and you're phoning it in and if you're working for a manager who has that discretionary privilege, a percentage of your raise might get tagged on to the strong performers and you'll wind up with less."

The bottom line is to have patience that the economy will swing back in a more favorable direction and, in the meantime, focus your energy on your job. Then, hopefully, good things will come.

And please let my bosses know how much this helped you. I've got kids to feed.

Q: During a PowerPoint presentation, a slide came up with the name of a new hire and his title and responsibilities. There was already a well-liked, hard-working person in that position and he was on the call. That is how he found out he was demoted. Was that totally inappropriate?

— Liora in New York, via email

A: The short answer to your question: "Yes, that was totally inappropriate."

The long answer: "Yes, that was totally inappropriate, and that boss should be fed to the lions or, at the very least, forced to listen to Fran Drescher gargle for nine consecutive hours."

For more opinion, I consulted Web personality MeetingBoy, the anonymous man who unleashes bitter — and funny — rants about his intolerable boss and office life in general at MeetingBoy.com.

"I'd like to say I'm surprised by this, but I'm not," MeetingBoy wrote in an email. "Batman likes to say, 'Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot.' Well, managers are no different.

"On the surface, it might seem that this was an inconsiderate oversight, that they forgot to tell the guy. But most managers are cowards when it comes to conflict, especially firings and demotions."

Of course there are certainly good managers out there who handle this sort of thing with grace. But, as MeetingBoy wrote, "sadly there is no Batman to rid Gotham City of the scourge of bad managers."

So be glad you weren't the one so thoughtlessly demoted. And hope that workplace karma, in the end, catches up to the villain.

Talk to Rex

TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at ijustworkhere@tribune.com, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.
  • Pin It