Punk Rock HR Question #2: I Want Both Recognition & Reward


Dear Laurie,

I finished my MBA at University of Phoenix, and I spoke to my Manager about a promotion & salary increase to match my new degree. It turns out that my company doesn’t have a policy that gives me a better title or more money when I complete my graduate degree.

My Manager talked to my Senior Director, and the Sr. Director talked to Human Resources, but they won’t budge (of course). The policy is firm.

The Sr. Director was disappointed on my behalf, but she tried to be nice about the whole thing. We had a food day and my co-workers brought in a cake, brownies, cookies, and other treats. It was a nice gesture, but I’m really bothered by the fact that my hard work isn’t recognized in my bank account. I’m thinking about looking for a new job, but I don’t want to betray my Manager. What should I do?

Recent Graduate


Dear Recent Graduate,

I have strong reactions to this note.

  • You have the nicest Manager, Senior Director, and co-workers. I hope those brownies were great.
  • I hope you truly appreciated the food day. I mean, really, brownies? That’s so awesome.

You can absolutely look for a new job (and who really cares if you betray your Manager?) but I’m not sure you have a clear understanding of your earning potential in the marketplace.

I want to know what happened during your forty-five minute commencement ceremony that gave you the impression that you were suddenly worth more to your organization? You are paid based on the contribution you make to the organization. Unless your job expanded or your role changed when you received your sheepskin, I wouldn’t expect a raise or a promotion.

My advice? Work hard, do a good job, demonstrate some business savvy, be authentic, and you’ll probably earn more money in a relatively short period of time.

You can try looking for a new job and you will probably earn more money; however, there are very few companies left in America where a Sr. Director would coordinate a celebration to honor and recognize a colleague’s graduation.

  • How many people do you know who would bake brownies because a coworker received an online MBA degree?
  • When was the last time you bought cookies to work when it wasn’t a birthday party?
  • When was the last time you had cake at work that wasn’t related to a baby shower?

I’m just saying that your current organization sounds better than 90% of the companies out there. Be careful what you wish for with a potential job search because you might just get it.

Good Luck,
Laurie Ruettimann


Previous post:

Next post: