Show Your Employees What They Mean To You

, , , , , | Working | February 18, 2021

It’s the summer of 2005 and I have been at my job for ten years. Three other guys and I rotate twenty-four-seven, immediately supervising six engineers maintaining machinery within a factory. In addition, when no senior management are on site — weekends and nights — we are regarded as the senior people. I am happy in my job, and I know I am well respected by all in the factory for what I do. We all report directly to the engineering manager, [Boss].

I go into work for my first night shift after some rostered time off, to handover from my colleague [Coworker], who is also a good friend. He seems happy and quite excited.

Me: “Hi, [Coworker], you’re looking in fine form. I assume you’re looking forward to some time off?”

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], I am. But I also have some great news. I’m starting next month as engineering manager. Big jump in pay. No more shift work. Weekends to myself.”

Me: “That is excellent news. Where are you moving to?”

I am genuinely pleased for him as I was considering a similar career move, also.

Coworker: *Looking a bit bewildered* “I’m staying here. [Boss] has created a new position as he’s getting more group responsibility, and he offered me the job.”

Me: “Well, congratulations, anyway.”

We finish the handover and I wish him well once more. As the night shift wears on, I become more and more annoyed that I was not given the opportunity to apply for the job also. I hold no grudge against [Coworker] at all but am seriously pissed off. The next opportunity, when I am in on a day shift, I go to [Boss] to explain how I feel.

Boss: “Hi, [My Name]. I know that both you and [Coworker] would be ideal for the position, but you are so good at what you do that I cannot afford to lose you from the shift pattern.”

Me: *Baffled* “So, [Boss], you’re saying that I have no chance to advance my career from my current position because I’m so good at what I do?”

Boss: “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Me: “If that’s the case, how about a pay rise to reflect how important you feel I am to the company?”

Boss: “Well, ordinarily, that might be easy to do. The problem I have is that there is no more budget for rises as the money has gone to the salary for [Coworker]’s new position.”

[Boss] could not understand why I was so disappointed as he thought I was so happy in my job. The next time I saw [Boss] was to hand in my months’ notice. He seemed genuinely surprised that I was leaving and asked what he could do to make me stay. I suggested giving me the job that he had given [Coworker] or a pay rise. He could do neither.

I left four weeks later and took a very similar job to [Coworker]’s but for £5,000 per year more. Today marks fifteen years in my present job, where my career has moved onward considerably, and I now hold a very responsible position in a company that has a Europe-wide presence and still have a huge amount of respect from everyone here for the work that I do.

The irony is that, had I been given the opportunity to interview for the position in 2005, and not gotten the job, I almost certainly would have stayed for another couple of years at least.

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