I had my meeting with the HR director on Monday and the outcome was pretty much as I expected, but I came away very unimpressed. A lot of time and stress might have been saved had they come out from the get-go and admitted that they were a bunch of arseholes who don’t give fig about employees, let alone what they might think.
It was a testy meeting. She came in and at first tried to intimidate. She was the HR director and I was no more than a troublesome minion and so she thought she could put me in my place by force of authority and personality. She came in from the long run, and I hooked her to the boundary. Unfortunately, it six and out.
This was never an argument I was going to win, if only because it was an argument. It was like arguing against the nonsense of the early Soviets, in which sense and logic play no part, and in fact are likely signs of political unreliability. Whatever the party decrees is truth; such as it was here.
I’m going to paraphrase, but in less offensive words she basically called me a money hungry peasant. Everyone ‘wants’ a pay-rise, I was one of the few insolent enough to argue for one. She looped around to general themes, with the suggestion that I should be grateful – after all, hadn’t I received a decent pay-rise moving into the job initially? She spoke as if that was an example of their benevolence, but when I pointed out I was being paid to do a job, and poorly, she would have nothing to do with it.
Reading between the lines it appeared that was the critical moment. It’s apparent that the initial grading of my salary was not based upon market rates for that job function, but rather on the salary I was coming from – never mind that it was a completely different function. I should have been thrilled by receiving an increase of about 15%, overlooking the fact that even so the salary was probably 25% beneath the market. What they failed to consider was that I was experienced and educated enough to know the truth.
We went to and fro, but it was frustrating because she would hardly argue my very logical points, but rather reverted to these angry tropes. At one stage she had a go at the ‘strong language’ in my emails – never mind that it was directed at the process rather than a person (she latched upon the phrase ‘dubious morality’ – which in retrospect seems an entirely apt description). Another time she invoked the illness of one of her staff, apparently suffering from cancer. I looked at her as if to say, that’s very sad, but what’s that got to do with the price of fish? These cynical attempts at intimidation and manipulation only made me angry.
In the end she admitted that they were not good payers. What the market pays is pretty irrelevant, and it was my mistake in thinking it was (silly me). They will basically pay what they want, and I could like it or lump it.
As it stands I have little option but to lump it, but like Arya Stark I keep a list.
I’ve been reflecting on it since. I will continue to look for a feasible position outside, and whilst I remain I will continue to do my work to the best of my ability. What I won’t do is go above or beyond, nor will I take on tasks which fall outside my pay-grade – such as project management.
I’ve decided on another strategy also, which is to actively engage with charm. I can do it, I just hardly bother anymore. There’s a new big manager in the chair. I’ve got the smarts, I’m hoping to leverage it with my wit. More than one way to skin a cat, I guess.