Delayed Reviews Make Me Anxious and Annoyed

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a second review being delayed and delayed:

Hello, I have been at my current job for a year and 4 months. I graduated college in May 2016 and this is my first “adult” job. We are a relatively new (3 years), very small private company and there are only 9 of us in the office. My co-workers and I report to our Director of Operations, and she reports to our COO. I love it here- my co-workers are amazing, my superiors are very relaxed, and the work environment is super casual. The only thing that bothers me is that my supervisor does not follow through on things that are said.One of my main problems is that my review is overdue. I started on 9/1/2016 and I had my 90 day review which came with a small raise. During this review, there were a lot of empty promises with the biggest one being that I will have another review in 6 months and in that review she wants to make me a manager. I was very excited and knew that from that point on I had to be on top of my game to see this promotion happen.

In the month leading up to my expected review, my co-worker was on vacation and our workload increased due to us taking on her responsibilities, so I did not want to bother my boss. Once my co-worker came back, my boss then went on vacation out of the country for 3 weeks. During this time, there was limited communication and I did not want to bother her on her personal time so I waited until she came back.

Toward the end of August, our Director of Communications quit, and my boss said that her duties will be split up amongst me and another co-worker. To this day, I have been doing my job and the duties of the co-worker who quit. This does not include the added responsibilities that my position was given during that time period.

In July, I picked up a part time job in addition to my full time salaried job because what I am making here just barely covers all my bills (which includes rent I have to pay my parents because I cannot afford to live alone let alone with a roommate). I informed my boss that I got a part time job because on certain days, my hours clashed so I had to change my schedule a bit. Because it was August and my work anniversary was just a month away and I figured I would wait until closer to that date to remind my boss about the review.

Once I asked, the response I received was that I was doing an amazing job and that she was proud of all of my hard work and that we will do reviews when we come back from Labor Day weekend. Fine- I will wait a couple weeks. Labor Day came and went and since then I had asked and reminded my boss about the review 4 additional times with each answer being: “We will do it when _____”, “We are still trying to figure out the budget”, “We have to wait for _____ to come back to town”, etc.

What bothers me is that she knew I had to get a part time job and she randomly would mention to me that “I am talking with our COO about raising your salary so you don’t have to work a second job” and things of that sort. Earlier this month, I went to her office to discuss something work related, and overheard her tell my co-worker (who was requesting days off in December) that now everyone is going to have a review and that they have to be the last week of December because our new pay is going into effect on January 1st, 2018.

What I am questioning is, is this fair? Would I be able to ask for retro pay in this case? If so, how do I go about it during my review? Or am I being selfish and they don’t owe me anything? I am torn because I don’t want to seem greedy and ungrateful but I have been expecting this raise and promotion 4 months ago and doing the job of two people. Please help!

Anxious and Annoyed

Dear Anxious and Annoyed:  No doubt because we have not replied to your question promptly, you will be even more anxious and annoyed. Our apology. We too have been anxious and annoyed because our tech people caused a shutdown for a time and then didn’t transfer in questions as had occurred instantaneously as they have for two decades. Hopefully your concerns have been relieved by now and that the thoughts I share can be stored in the back of your head for the future–for if your career evolves as do most others, there will be times of frustration along with highs.

The details of a year and 4 months of your first adult job, one that you love, carefully explain reasons for why your second review and promised promotion have stalled. Up close the put off review doesn’t seem reasonable; from afar it doesn’t seem unreasonable. Your firm is small and new. Assignments and shifting responsibilities are necessary.

Your repeated reminders probably are seen as impatience and annoying to the Director of Operations, who made the promises and now is working to complete not only your review and to determine who does what and for pay that is appropriate for several others. So what should you do? Bite your tongue? Calculate what you would have earned if you had been reviewed earlier and pay was increased? Put your distress in writing? Talk to others in your workplace about this matter? Scan the horizon for a different job?

These questions might be rumbling in your head and convince you that things ain’t fair. From afar, these thoughts:

  1. You indeed are fortunate to have a job you love. And especially to work among co-workers who are amazing, superiors who are very relaxed, and a work environment that is super casual. This is rare for a first job.
  2. Pay is not enough. That too is normal for a first job.
  3. Taking on a second job helps but saps your personal time–so important for a balance of work and play. Don’t schedule out exercise.
  4. What would you do if you managed this small firm? Might gradually learning what it requires to make this place able to meet overhead, salaries, and provide the goods/services increase your understanding the frustrations you feel. Learn what others elsewhere are being paid. Explore what you might do to better understand your field.
  5. Might that kind of knowledge enable you to focus on how to cut wasted supplies, wasted energy, wasted time, and how its product/services might be enhanced in quantity and quality. These matters would lessen the annoying rumblings focused on you. Such thinking would motivate you to research what other small private companies are doing and to link in to Linkedin perhaps to read several of my 20 posts as well as others. Such thinking would spill over and possibly bubble up with ways to make that raise you want more possible. Moreover it would pay off in the future–informing you of both how to be more valuable to this really great workplace and elsewhere.
  6. Be ready for that review. List the assignments and projects accomplished. Talk to yourself and parents with what you might say succinctly and persuasively once the time comes.  Guard against sharing your frustrations with coworkers. Also guard against a lengthy description of why you are annoyed with the delay of a second review. Ask for career guidance–what the shakers and shapers in this small company advice.
  7. Think beyond this moment. Count your blessings and practice expressing gratitude for specific good things that have made and are making you life and work possible.

I realize that advice from afar can not fit perfectly to what has and is happening up close. Let me know if any of these thoughts lessen your anxiety and annoyance.

Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.–William Gorden