A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Increasing Responsibilities, Same Pay
Dear Sue: I work for a small firm; we have a total of 10 full
time workers and one part-time employee. I was hired three years ago as a
customer service representative and my responsibilities were to answer the
phone, do light filing, data entry and sales. Since then my
responsibilities have increased.
Today, I am responsible for opening the office when the owner is late
and managing it when he is not in. This includes doing human resource
tasks such as interviewing and training new employees; payroll,
collection, solving customer problems and any administrative problems that
occur. I do not receive any benefits, and my salary is low, especially
considering all of the jobs I am responsible for. I have impressive
qualifications and am a good worker. Should I look for another job? Ė
Sue Says: I am not sure looking for another job is your best
solution. Have you considered talking with your boss? Obviously, he values
and trusts you or he wouldnít continue to give you added responsibility.
He is much less likely than you are to think about the amount of money you
make or need, so donít assume he would refuse to pay you more just because
he hasnít offered to.
If you havenít already, it is time for you to initiate a conversation
with your boss. Put in writing all of your job responsibilities so that he
can see all of the things you are doing and include the amount of money
you feel would fairly compensate you for the work you do.
You may not get exactly what you want at first, but at least you will
have started the dialogue, and let your boss know what you need. Once he
has the opportunity to respond, you will be in a better position to
determine what is best for you to do. Good luck.
Dear Sue: I've worked as a buyer for over 20 years and have
changed companies several times in the last few years due to the local
economy. I have been in my new position at this company for only three
months, and it is the worst work environment I've ever seen. It is
completely understaffed, noisy, and lacking many basic tools to do the
job. There is only one ladies room with a single stall for over 20 women,
and the bathroom is always filthy.
I have complained loudly about this, but nothing has been done. The
human resource manager doesnít know what to do either. The stress of the
job and the work environment is extreme to say the least, but it is the
bathroom issue, which really makes me crazy. I am depressed about making
yet another change, but if I stay much longer my health will suffer. I
have never lied in an interview or on my resume but I am at a loss on this
one. How do I put a positive spin on such a horrible experience?
Sue Says: You can say that you realized the first day of your
job that you may have made a mistake, but due to your dedicated and
positive nature, you wanted to see if you could make it work rather than
leaving upon starting. You felt three months was a fair trial period, and
now you have concluded that you prefer to find a more positive and
organized environment to work in.
If you are pressured for more information, you can say that it is not
in your nature to speak negatively about people or past employers. Stress
your ability to fit in to almost any type of environment, the fact that
this was the first time in 20 years you left for such a reason, and focus
on your other previous long-term positions. Or if you prefer, you can
simply say the job didnít work out.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
Send Sue your questions by clicking here:
For more Ask Sue articles, click here.