I just don't get it


Does anyone feel like this about life? I am not a mean or bitter person at all, but I often wonder why I just don’t understand things that come so easy for others. My prime example is money management. I don’t spend, I pay my bills, I struggle, and just as I see the light at the end of the tunnel… something catastrophic happens and puts me further behind than I ever was… so I keep plugging away, paying bills and living so frugally. Even picking jobs to work seems to be difficult for me. I think I am doing the right thing at the time, even pray about it… but then it isn’t beneficial to me or my family.

My credit score is horrendous, I haven’t gotten what I thought were contracted raises for the past 2 yrs, I took this job not because of the initial pay (which stinks) but for the future pay raises that didn’t come. Thinking that I could manage for a year and then start paying back on debts when I got my raise that was mentioned in my contract when I started. Two and a half years later, I still make my initial salary from when I started.

So here I am, wondering why I just don’t make good choices and why I keep believing that my raise is just around the corner, when obviously it is not. My boss keeps hinting at moving me up and even has me doing the work for this new position, which is extremely time consuming and very difficult. Do I really think I am going to get my raise or a promotion? Not really… I dream about it, but no, I really don’t think it will ever happen.

Why do I continue to try? I watch others around me get raises and negotiate contracts successfully… just not me. I have been called wonder woman and genius and all kinds of things that acknowledge my wide variety of talents and skills. Just no raise! So for the third Christmas season in a row, I am depressed that I can’t treat my children and husband to the things I want to buy them. I can walk a complete computer illiterate through complex things over the phone by memory… I can fix any electronic or mechanical thing I try, but I just can’t seem to negotiate a raise to save my life.

What am I doing wrong? What can I do to learn the skills I seem to be lacking? Any ideas?


There are lots of sources for advice about asking for a pay raise. Since yours was stated (implied?) in your initial contract, you should definately ask for it. Make an appt with your boss for 1/2 hour and just go in and ask for it–ask for 2 years worth. Take a look in your public library for a book or two to give you advice on how to phrase things. Obviously, since you don’t have another job waiting, you shouldn’t threaten to leave. But you shouldn’t have to either. If your boss mentions bad times, economy, etc, then you can bring up how others in the company have received raises. I will be praying for you.


Hello BlestOne, I am sorry for your difficulties.

There are two possibilities here: either you are not as valuable and employee as you think you are, or you are a great employee, but have somehow established a pattern of allowing yourself to be mistreated by your employer. We teach people how to treat us. What are you willing to stand for?

I have a brother who has been working in an unsatisfactory situation for 10 years. He is going to be made manager. Soon! They value him, they have big plans for him. Sure. of course they value him. He is their doormat, who will come in and work 7 days a week, and when he asks for a vacation and when they say no, he goes along with it. After 10 years of putting up with this, whose fault is it? His or theirs? He has allowed it to go on. He has taught them that there is nothing they can do to him that he will complain about.

You need to initiate a frank discussion with your boss. It is fair to express your concern over your income level, and to inquire as to what would be required of your performance to rate an increase in pay. You can remind your boss of the expectations given to you at the time of your hiring. All this can be discussed diplomatically and with a clear plan in mind as to what you wish to say and how to say it.

Do not be afraid to burn your bridges. If your job is jeopardized by asking for what has been promised, your job was not secure in the first place. Your security is built on sand.

Good luck.


Hey BlestOne,
Sorry to hear you are feeling so down about things. You certainly aren’t the only person in the USA to feel the way you do.

Can you change jobs? I have found professionally that it is usually hard to move up in pay within the same company and switching to another one usually brings up the salary a bit.

How is your quality of life? Does your husband work? How is his job?

Even though you have debt, what kind of things do you need? A better house? Newer car? Or are you just sick and tired of paying interest on your debt?

I don’t have any experience with debt at this point in my life and feel very blessed right now, but I know that wont always be the case.


Recent articles in business magazines indicate that the main reason women do not get raises is that they do not ask for them; we expect to be rewarded for our good work without asking. And we are not.


Sorry to hear that… But look on the bright side, from reading all that, I see you have a husband and kids, you can apparentley afford internet, and your boss, well who cares about him? He sounds like a jerk! But just remember this, things almost always get worse before they get better.

[sign]Things are never as bad as they seem!:console:[/sign]


This is pretty much me… except that at the 1 yr mark I did ask for my raise just to be told that since my company wasn’t making money yet, my raise wasn’t in the budget… I was so devastated that I have not been able to ask for a raise since. I am a support person… I don’t generate profit… so why is my raise dependent on someone elses work??? I am notoriously bad at pointing out my good attributes… and I really think the boss should notice how hard I work…


Another thing… when ever the boss knows it is time for a raise and he isn’t going to give me one, he gives perks that I really find helpful… like paying dd’s tuition. Her tuition is $6000 or so… he owed me a 12,000 raise… so he makes out by not having to pay me more, a tax break for charitable giving and at least my daughter can go to an awesome school.

But part of the problem is that I want control over how I spend my $$. I want to be able to pay down my hospital bills so I can actually use that insurance he pays $550 a month for… right now it is not very helpful because I can’t see a doctor for a regular appointment, but I can be seen for an emergency… so do I wait until it is an emergency to seek help?

The other thing is that I am paid so little that if I were to quit, I would struggle because I have a company car and cell phone. I would have to surrender these things if I left the company… a fact I think the boss is well aware of… but then again maybe not… he has no concept sometimes of what people need. A few years ago one of our employees needed a place to live, the boss offered to rent him a place and cover the utilities… but he pretty much took all his pay… great, the guy had a place to sleep, but no grocery money…

Our head chemist was making $4000/yr more than me before he got a huge raise. He basically got the raise because he is about to make my boss very rich…and because the boss hated the clothes he wore and wanted him to dress nicer because he had to go to alot of meetings. It is this chemist that is telling me to ask for quadruple my salary if and when we negotiate my new position and pay raise.

The company I actually work for (we have about 20 companies we run from our headquarters) still hasn’t produced a profit and the boss was forced to increase our one guys pay from 26,000 to 100,000 because of federal statutes… geez the guy has a doctorate!!! But in the bosses defense, the guy gets free furnished housing, health insurance paid for his entire family, all his utilities paid an unlimited expense account… which kind of did make up for the 74,000 a year he wasn’t being paid. I mean the insurance alone is 1600 a month, the place is about 2500 a month, utilities, the gas and car insurance for his company car alone is about 500 a month. His expense account is ridiculous!!! The man charges his groceries and toys for his kids on it… and nobody says anything!! His professional association fees run over 10,000 a year too… They are so busy keeping him happy, they have forgotten about me… really, I had to teach the doctorate guy how to replace light bulbs and unclog a sink because he never learned!!! Then he had to have new light fixtures in his bath because the ones he had weren’t bright enough. Then he had to have a high capacity water heater put in because he makes everyone in his home bathe in sequence… one right after another… apparently a Japanese custom.

Anyway, the boss isn’t a complete jerk or anything, I just think he is cheaper than heck and totally clueless sometimes. On Tuesday I actually got testy with him for the first time in the 2 1/2 yrs I have worked for him… he told me to do something right at 5 pm… and when I told him that I called the place he asked, they were closed already. He had the nerve to tell me that I spent too long discussing it with him in his office… I was hot! I had dinner plans and was keeping my family waiting, and here he tells me I was talking to him to long when I was telling him the answer to his question, but it wasn’t the answer he wanted… I knew the answer but he didn’t want to hear it from me, he wanted to hear it from the people he wanted me to call. OK… all you geeks out there… he wanted to know why his electricity out to his tree fort was dropping voltage… hmm let’s see… line is 1600 feet of copper 12 gauge wire…at 70 amps… I told him he would need 1/0 aluminum wire to maintain voltage on a 1600 ft run… but that would cost him too much money, 10 gauge copper is cheaper so he wants to try that. And he wonders why when he has 2 light bulbs lit they dim??? OK, end of my rant.


The $6,000 tuition needs to be left out of the equation when discussing your raise, and so does any other one of your family’s needs. Your salary has nothing to do with what your family needs. If your mortgage goes down, do they adjust your income because of it? That would be ridiculous, but it sounds like some of that is going on.

The discussion needs to focus solely on your job duties, skills, worth to the company, and the appropriate compensation. If you are doing a job that is worth x amount of dollars then you need to tell your boss you expect x amount of dollars, and give him/her a time frame in which you’re willing to wait for him/her to arrange it. If not I would look for another job and when discussing salary for the new job, do so in the same manner, negotiating a salary you are comfortable with and not the promise of a raise “soon”.


P.S. also irrelevant are the bosses profit problems, other’s salaries, and promises for the future.

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