My coworker got a raise and I didn’t, how do I handle it?

Dealing with a situation where a coworker in the same position got a raise and you didn’t could be depressing and demoralizing. But in more cases, it’s an opportunity to raise your bar at work.

Dear Jane,

I am a little confused on how to approach this matter. It’s been overwhelming my sanity trying to justify why my coworker got a pay rise and I didn’t get. My colleague, John (for the sake of this question) and I are work peers; we do basically the same work and receive the same remuneration.

But last week, I saw an envelope on his desk which I opened out of curiosity. It was a pay raise notification letter from our company. I wouldn’t have felt bad and demoralized if he was given a bonus in appreciation for a target met, but this coworker got a pay rise and I didn’t get – 4% increase.

Having waited in vain for two days to see if I would receive a similar pay raise letter, I’m considering taking an action. Is it appropriate to ask my boss why a coworker got a pay raise and I didn’t? I mean a coworker in the same position got a raise. How do I go about this, please?

smelly coworker no sweat app feet

Answer

Yes, you can ask your boss why your coworker got a pay raise and you didn’t but that won’t help if you are going to approach your boss wrongly.

There are factors you need to consider before approaching your boss on why you didn’t get a pay raise like your coworker. Regardless of how you feel now; deeply underappreciated and demoralized, I’ll urge you to accept the fact that this has happened in the first place, be optimistic of a positive outcome and follow up the matter subtly.

At first, can you sincerely compare your work and that of John? Is he more experienced than you? Was he employed before you? Is he more educated? Do you think he adds more value to your company than you do?

John’s pay raise may be influenced by many factors and these are the criteria you have to first equate yourself before approaching your boss. This analogy should be first on what to do when your coworker got a pay raise and you didn't.

It may be time to buckle up if you find yourself guilty of not contributing as much as John. These will guide you while negotiating with your boss for a pay raise. Depending on your company and boss, you can either present how you feel for not receiving as much as John recently or follow it up diplomatically.

Your company will always have a reason why John now earns higher. That’s why your action should be based on ruling the reason out. You can ask your boss how you could help the company so you can earn the maximum raise. Give your boss time to come up with ideas if it’s necessary and ensure that the meeting is really simple unless he/she has explanations for you.

Note: you shouldn’t expect a pay raise instantly; it would take your company some time to address your challenge, though not too long.

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