A software engineer making 120k and her husband working in construction management making 80k disagree on whether she should accept a promotion to Program Manager with an undefined salary increase, potentially doubling her workload for nothing, and impacting their financial future. The husband thinks she should take the promotion for her resume, while the engineer prefers to be an individual contributor and not work for free in hopes of a future reward.
I’m a software engineer and my husband works in construction management.
I grew up broke so honestly I feel like I’m loaded right now. I make 120k and my husband makes 80k. I’ve gone from counting literal pennies because my budget was that tight, to not having to worry about buying anything we need.
So at work, when my boss offered me a Program Manager position, but said that my salary would be reviewed at the next review cycle… I went and got a drink with the guy who has that job now, and the guy who had the job before him. The current guy said he was screwed out of a raise, he took the promotion when it was implied one was coming and it never came. And the guy before him? He was making less than I am currently in the role and kept getting his requests for raises rejected.
That night, I told my husband about my day, and how I wasn’t sure if I should take the promotion. We talked a bit, and he thought I should, just for my resume.
The next morning, I asked my boss what the salary for the promotion would be, and he said that it would be up to HR in the next review cycle. I’d heard that that tends to be the absolute minimum they can get away with – and honestly that role on the job market was valued at 150-180k so I’d be majorly undervalued. I was starting to think I’d have to be a sucker to take that offer.
So I told my boss I was grateful to be considered, but I was not comfortable taking on any role until the terms of employment including compensation were more fully defined. He said his hands were tied – HR wouldn’t renegotiate until the next quarter.
I came home and told my husband I declined the promotion. And he was surprisingly mad about it; he said it was something we should have talked about instead of me just going on my own. And that I knew he didn’t agree with me!
I said that I knew my job, the financials weren’t looking good, and you can’t get water from a stone. And if I took that, I’d be doubling my workload for nothing.
He said I’d have something for my resume that’d let me negotiate a higher pay elsewhere, since it’d open up other management jobs for me.
I said I liked being an individual contributor, I wouldn’t enjoy management, so that wasn’t something I cared about.
He said “it’s all about you, isn’t it” and was upset because we’re married now and I was impacting both of our financial futures since I didn’t want a “hard job”
And that it was normal to take on additional responsibilities and then have a salary review- I just didn’t know because I’m too young (27 to his 33) and have never been promoted since I job hop too much.
I said it was an old-school way of thinking to slave away for free on the hope you’ll be rewarded – I tried that at my first two jobs and that’s why I quit! All it does is tells them you’re cheap and gullible! He called me naive and said I was too idealistic…
Am I Wrong for declining the promotion?
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