WWYD: A Raise, But Not For Your Coworker

In this installment of “WWYD,” when you are rewarded, but a coworker is not:

Help! I got a big raise, bonus and promotion and my coworker who worked just as hard as me got zilch. Am I crazy for wanting to give him some of what I got? Is this because I’m a girl, and overly empathetic? He really kicks ass at this job, and it sucks that he didn’t get anything. It feels totally shitty and unfair and makes me feel guilty even though I worked hard and totally deserve it. Yes, I have seniority but really, he should have gotten SOMETHING. — M.

I love this question because it’s not the first time I’ve heard it! (Or at least a variation on it.) A friend once told me about a time when she was called into her manager’s office and was given a raise after the manager thanked her for all the hard work she had done. In response, she said, “Thank you so much! But everyone in the office has been working so hard—is it possible to divide my raise evenly among everyone?”

The manager laughed, and said, “That’s not how raises work. You worked hard and it paid off. Your reward is this raise. Do you … not want this raise?”

She accepted the raise. Her coworkers were happy for her, and they were eventually identified and rewarded on their own timelines.

Are you crazy for wanting to give your hardworking coworker some of your money? It’s not crazy to want to see the people you work with get rewarded—it’s very sweet. It sounds to me—with your seniority—that you and your coworker are just on different timelines. He’ll get his raise sooner or later, and if it takes too long, he’ll just have to work up the nerve to ask for one. If that happens, I’m sure you’ll be around to root him on and champion his work.

You worked hard, and deserve the raise you got. Don’t feel guilty about. I’d celebrate by going out to dinner, inviting the coworker, and covering the bill at the end of the night.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.




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