What Would You Do? - Woodbridge,NJ

Updated on April 29, 2018
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
8 answers

I've worked for the same employer (law office) for just over 10 years. When I started, the attorney was fresh out of law school and I was the 2nd employee to be hired - with the other employee, his cousin, starting just 2 weeks before me. We had one small office, with super high rent, no one to answer the phones and his cousin and I both worked from home offices (because the office only held the attorney and had a waiting area). I worked for little pay, had to pay some of my own expenses when the company credit card didn't work, waited for pay checks sometimes, and had clients and the attorney call me nights, weekends, on my vacations, etc.

Flash forward 10 years. We now have 5 attorneys and 5 staff and 9 offices in 2 states. Our original little high rent office now is the entire 2nd floor of that building. I still work from my home office. My pay is higher than 10 years ago, but I am still paid below market rate, well below if you consider that I have been in this field for 20 years and brought 10 years of experience to the table and run the entire department for one section of our firm. I still work 50+ hrs a week and take late night and weekend phone calls, but I also have vacation time (which is actually new the last couple of years). We have no retirement, benefits, insurance - nothing.

Each year, I get a phone call from the owner (I guess every one does) asking about changes I'd like to see for the upcoming year - usually get this call in Jan or Feb. This year, I mentioned that maybe some kind of recognition for years of service as Joe and myself were both hitting the 10 year mark. Maybe a mention in the newsletter or an increase in vacation days or anything. It would be nice if now that we were bigger, we could recognize folks at 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years with something. Boss thinks this is a fantastic idea! A few months later, Joe, the 1st employee hits 10 years. He gets a plaque and nice little party at once of the offices and mentions on the website, twitter, instagram, FB pages for the office. Two weeks later, my day comes, and I got nothing. No mention, no phone call, no plaque, no party, nothing. I know he is aware of the day as two weeks before Joe's anniversary, he emailed to double check both Joe's and my start dates with us.

To make matters worse, this is kind of the ongoing theme. Because I am not "in office" I am excluded from all events. He "forgot" to send me my Christmas present 3 years running - so I heard through emails and FB about what every one else received and such. Then on year 4, he was cleaning out the closet and found my presents and mailed them out to me with an "oops, I just found these" note. I see Christmas and other events on the office calendar. This was the first year that I was invited to the Christmas party (out of 6 years - we didn't have anything in the early years), but it was set for on a day I was out on vacation so I couldn't drive up to attend. I've always tried to let this stuff go as really it isn't important or part of my actual job. However, it feels like a blatant slap in the face to let my anniversary go by and also show the other staff who knows I hit my 10 years that I am not even worth recognizing.

So, what would you do?

What can I do next?

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More Answers

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm not sure you can "do" anything. You've already made your feelings clear, and they were ignored.
The obvious thing to do is start looking for another job, but I know you have special needs kids and a sick husband, so I don't know if that's possible right now.
So you're either going to need to make a major life change (like moving somewhere with more work opportunities, and maybe better health care/support services for your family) or you just accept the fact that your current employer doesn't really respect you that much.
It's time to piss or get off the pot.

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R.J.

answers from Tampa on

You are being taken advantage of, and that is not ok.
You have given them 10 years of being a good employee, going above and beyond and working for less than you are worth.
My husband faced a similar situation with his old company. Because he had been there so long, he was paid lower than his peers in his position that came in from another company. Opportunities were given to newer employees because they were big wig favorites.
After 15 years, he was approached for another position with another company. MUCH better pay, better benefits, vacation etc.
When he put in his notice with his previous job, boy did they scramble. They offered to match everything this new job was offering, even relocation! He declined. After years of feeling over looked and unappreciated, enough was enough.
I personally would look for another position. You know your worth and value, find an employer who will also.
Good luck!

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T.D.

answers from New York on

i would start to look for a better job that has retirement, benefits, insurance, and higher pay. with 20 years experience you should be able to find something better.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Well, they're taking advantage of you.

I would contact an agency, tell them what you're looking for, and see what they can turn up. With your experience, I think you'd find something else that would be as good, if not much better.

I think it's time.

If you would tell your daughters, or a close friend, to change jobs - then take that advice yourself. You deserve it. I think you deserve better - you're giving them much more than they are giving you in return. Another company would treat you better I believe.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

yeah, this is not okay.

it's not an easy thing to do, but you do have 10 years in with this guy, and he seems to value your opinion.

so i think you should suck up your resolve, put on your psychic armor, and give it to him.

courteously, of course. but directly.

schedule a meeting with him and lay this out. have your points ready to discuss, and don't let the theme get sidetracked. print it out if you need to.

begin with your experience and years of service. from there go to industry standards and what peers in the business can expect in salary and compensatory benefits. tell him you appreciate him soliciting your opinion every year, and that you hope your suggestions have been helpful. finally tell him forthrightly and without self pity that you feel as if you've been undervalued by not receiving the same recognition as other employees, especially ones who don't have your long history with the company.

don't feel the need to fill silences. state your piece, then give him plenty of time to respond. if he's at a loss, that's a good thing. let the silence get awkward.

finally thank him for the time and for listening to you. tell him that it means a lot to you that he is willing to hear your concerns. wish him a good day and leave.

my confident bet is that the overlooking won't happen again.
khairete
S.

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A.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I would most definitely say something and also start looking for a new job with benefits!

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C.C.

answers from New York on

I think B makes good points below.

Before you ask for anything, you need to think about what you are willing to offer in return.

It sounds like Cousin Joe at some point transitioned from working at home to working in the office? But that did not make sense for you and you chose to stay home because of your family needs?

So, that is one (big) thing - you hung on tight to working from home.

In another post recently you mentioned that you'll be moving your one son who is still home into a residential facility sometime soon. I think the time for the Boss conversation is *after* you do that. Because I think that a very good move for you would be to tell Boss that you would like to put in more face time, more in-office time. Try to suggest that. And think about other things along the lines of B's questions below.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Speak to your boss. Let him know that while you were willing to take on expenses and deal with things like late checks and low pay, now that the company has expanded and become successful, it is time that they reward you for your loyalty and going above and beyond, like phone calls on weekends and vacations, no benefits, etc. While that may be understandable when a company is a startup and just launching, it has been 10 years and the company is doing well and it is time to reward you. You're feeling unappreciated and your boss should be able to speak up for you to the owner, about how you receive no recognition whatsoever. They are obviously taking advantage of you and your situation.

I assume your boss is a decent guy who will do this, preferably, on an anonymous basis, as if HE is advocating on YOUR behalf, which is what a good boss would do, so as to not throw you under the bus ("Hey, Mr. Owner, M. is a great employee, we have not recognized her efforts since the company started, can we discuss providing her with benefits, and I'm hoping she got some sort of thank you email for her 10 years of service?"). I have mentioned to my boss that something upset me (like not receiving a staff appreciation day gift card, when they used to give them out before), and he apologized, told HR they should do something special for us next year because there is such low morale in the office and in the meantime, he pulled some cash out of his wallet to make up for it, and told me he appreciated me. I thought that was pretty nice of him.

When you speak to your boss about the things that bother you, do it in a kind, calm manner, not confrontational. We had someone mention their displeasure to HR here in a confrontational tone and HR responded by telling her that if she is so unhappy and angry, maybe she should leave. I'm sure that if she had spoken to them in a more calm, polite tone, the response would have been different. I would have suggested you find a new job, but I read below about your circumstances (sick husband, special needs kids) and finding such a job that allows you to work from home may not be easy, especially in the legal field. That is why I would start with a chat with your boss and see if they are willing to show some more consideration toward you if they know how you feel.

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