Tim Heard is a technical recruiter for JC Malone, a career placement service. Tim shares his career advice by answering questions from TechRepublic members.
After working as a part-time co-op student for more than a year, I was hired full time to replace the network administrator upon his dismissal. Due to my lack of experience, I was given the job title of network technician and was told that if I did well after a year, I would be promoted to network administrator and would be given a "professional raise."
I have just finished that first year and, during this time, have been attending the Microsoft Prep Courses (2151, 2152, 2153, 2154, etc.) funded by the Veterans Administration. I have also been certified as A+ and MCP (2000 Pro and Server). While my employer has given me two raises—at six and nine months—bringing me from $25,000 to $28,000, I have yet to be recognized for my work administrating the network.
I am responsible for all maintenance and administration of six servers and 80 users. I perform all of the duties and responsibilities of the administrator and have proven to be more effective than my predecessor at efficiently running the network, upgrading the company's hardware, managing the e-mail domain, and handling all hardware repairs (including servers).
I am considered an expert by the managers and employees, and I’m regularly asked for advice or help by all levels of employee, from janitor to CEO.
Am I being premature and petty by seeking this recognition and a professional raise (to $35,000), or should I be looking for another opportunity to grow at another company? In addition to my current certifications, I hold an associate’s degree in information sciences and have 115 credit hours in an IS major from a local university. I retired from the U.S. Army in 1995 after 21 years of leadership and therefore do not understand the politics of the workplace.
While you are undoubtedly making much less than you were used to receiving while in the military, your pay isn’t far off—depending upon the city you live in—for someone with your credentials and experience. Furthermore, you’ve received a 12 percent raise in less than a year, showing that your employer is making an effort to move you along fairly quickly.
Add to that the fact that you seem to be in a position in which you are well liked and respected, and these points lead me to believe that you’re in a pretty good situation right now.
I would weigh these positive points when considering whether to seek an opportunity elsewhere. The job market isn’t what it was even a year ago, and in all honesty, it’s easy these days to find someone with an MCP certification who would be more than happy to fill your job if you leave.
That’s not to say that you need to give up on the idea of a raise. Your manager clearly thinks a lot of you if you have received two raises in nine months, and you have made yourself an asset to the company. Even if you can easily be replaced, there’s no guarantee that the next person will fit in as well as you do or that that person could be trained as readily as you have been. The time that it would take to train someone new is also a factor. All things considered, my guess is that your employer will not want to see you go.
I suggest that you make a list of your accomplishments over the past year. Include your certifications as well as the projects you have worked on and the duties you have performed. Take this list to your manager and privately discuss your concerns.
Make reference to the raise you were promised and see what happens. If your manager refuses to give you a raise, be positive and ask what you need to accomplish in order to earn one. That will give you a target to shoot for.
From my perspective, it appears that you’re in a good situation right now. You’re gaining excellent experience and a lot of strong references that will help you attain your next position, should you decide to leave your company. Best of luck!
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