After working for the same boss for 9 years I got a new boss this past March. Old boss is in his early 60’s (same as me) and my new boss is 35. At review time this June, I did not get a raise or a bonus that I have always had every year since I started. This devastated me. When I asked why, all he said was “You need to improve.” I asked on what and he went around and around, about nothing in particular and could not give me a specific reason. What should I do now?
-Out of Pocket
Dear Out of Pocket,
Given that I wasn’t in the room, I’m going to assume you were clear and asked more than once what you need to improve upon to increase your salary. I can appreciate how frustrating it must be to get the run around, rather than a clear answer. Since you still don’t know where you’re falling short, you need to revisit the situation.
Try this phraseology: “(Supervisor’s name), I am committed to making any behavioral changes necessary to create a healthy working relationship with you, the team and also earn the opportunity to achieve a bonus. I hope you can appreciate my surprise, after consistently receiving positive reviews, to hear that I need to improve. Especially since this is the first I’ve heard that anyone was unhappy with my performance.
Moving forward, if you see anything that is concerning, would you please address it with me immediately? After all, I’d prefer to correct the situation rather than let it continue. May I specifically ask where I need to improve? (run around) I’ve heard what you’ve said, but that doesn’t contain any specific examples for me to understand where I’m falling short in your eyes. Without specific facts I hope you can appreciate it’s more challenging to know what you’re exactly looking for. (run around) Telling me to ‘improve’ without an example leads me to believe this might be a personality issue, rather than a work-related issue. Is this possible?” (The goal is to get your supervisor to address the real reason behind this issue.) Do your best to walk away with concrete examples and next steps that allow you to exceed expectations and get that raise!