Advice please? I make $15,000 less than my coworker and I do more work

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Jacques, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Jacques

    Jacques New Member

    Hello. May I please benefit from the advice of others here?

    I have 6 years of systems administrator experience at a university. I have a BS in CS. I have no industry certifications. At the time I was hired, I was part-time and still a student. Upon graduation, I was offered a full-time position and my salary was doubled, making it $30,000.

    My co-worker also has the same degree but makes $45,000 a year. At the time he was hired (1 week before me), he had politics (his father is a professor in another department on campus), but no degree. He earned a degree in CS 1 semester later.

    However, he lacks personal skills and is quite rude and disrespectful to others in the department. So, he is basically left alone because no one wants to deal with him, and subsequently, my work load increases all the time.

    As for me, I can get along with anyone. But what disturbs me is the fact that my work load is actually more than his, and I have more skills than him.

    Politics is very important in a university setting (my opinion, to which I'm entitled to) and I don't have any at all. My boss had politics (best friends with the then department head) and makes $65,000 a year, with no CS degree and no industry certs.

    In January I will meet with my boss and the department head for my performance evaulation.

    The magazine Sys Admin,

    has a call for papers. I have been thinking of writing an article to get published.

    I want to study and obtain some industry certifications.

    I read an informative post about Charles Stuart University and their master's degree in this section.

    These are the areas I want to work on.

    I want to list my accomplishments in the department.

    Can anyone please offer me any advice concerning this endeavour? Is it even possible for me to get a pay raise in my current department?

    Of course, I realise and understand the old saying, "life ain't fair", but come on-this is really not fair.

    Does anyone have any suggestions that might help? Thank you in advance.
  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Start looking for a new job.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm with Ted here -- unfortunately that looks like the best advice. I've found that organizations rarely correct inequitable compensation situations like yours. If they did for you, they'd have to correct all of the inequities in their system, which would probably be very expensive.

    If you don't go to local or regional meetings of people with your interest, start now and otherwise start networking.

    Good luck!

  4. richtx

    richtx New Member

    Both underpaid

    You BOTH need to be looking for jobs at double your salary range. Academia pays low in everything. Man can't live on bread and water alone. Look toward a new industry. People right out of school are making twice as much as you.
    Good luck!
  5. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    Do you would at a State U. in the US? If so, the salary information is a matter of public record. Use it to your advantage when talking with your boss or whomever else. Find out why the pay is different. It can't hurt to ask. Also, do not wait until your review. Ask now so you can have a plan in place and can show progress when you meet again in January.

    ... a couple of things.

    1. If you do more than your co-worker and have more skills ask to have your job listing re-written. I know if this being done in academia many many times over. You basically write a job posting for what you already do, not for what you originally started doing.

    2. you aren't going to get ahead by tearing the other guy down. Instead, think about ways to improve yourself and highlight all you have done, showing you are worth more.

    3. Don't base everything on money. Some here said get another job. Don't be too quick to take this advice. Know what you are getting into, there are always tradeoffs. Maybe you get free or discounted tuition ... My best friend works for IU as a sys admin / developer. He works about 32 hours a week, gets two months off a year and they complete in one year what my company does in maybe one month. I am not knocking his employer, in fact in many ways I am envious! : ) His life is very low stress, mine is very high stress.

    Publishing is a nice idea. I like it. I would also consider taking some classes at your university in your field. (a MS maybe?). See if your boss will give you time off to go to class (my friend does). Work on an MCSE.

    You ask many questions that only you can really answer. Can you get a pay raise? Sure you can. Anything is possible.


  6. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    Re: Both underpaid

    Depending on the location, those numbers are pretty close to market for university jobs.

  7. Jacques

    Jacques New Member

    HI Steve! Thanks for your great thoughts.

    Yes, I am very pleasant with everyone and I am being extra careful not to say anything that could be misconstrued as criticizing my co-worker.

    Yes, I work at a State University. However, the Human Resources department is not cooperating even though our state has an open records act.

    I talked with my department head, and he says he has to talk to the Dean of the college and asked me to write up a statement of my current job duties.

    Steve, you have really good and mature thoughts. Yes, you are right about money. In fact, I agree, about university jobs. A lot are low stress and have benefits. In fact, at first, my job was like this and that is why I never questioned or really thought about salary differences.

    Tuition is free up to 9 hours per semester for all university employees. And our department does have an un-official "comp-time" policy.

    My job is nowhere near as stressful as the private industry, and I can walk to work every day.

    Steve, my boss likes me and I think you have a good idea Steve-I may work the angle that since my pay is less, I want to improve myself and help the department, and see if I can't take classes during the normal office hours. I work overtime a lot and don't get any comp for it often anyway. So perhaps I could argue that I will just work after normal hours while I am attending class.

    Steve, you are right, the true answer to many of all of life's questions can be found within us, all of us have a "secret power within".

    Thanks Steve for helping to give me some self-confidence and nice thoughts. Thank you Steve for your nice post.
  8. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    I wish you well. Let us know how things turn out.

    Something fun you might want to study is VMware (

    It is fun to work with, it can save $ on hardware costs and it might be something good to write a paper on. We have had great luck with workstation, esx and gsx.

    VMware workstation is great for testing patches and light server consolidation. ESX has a lite linux inspired core / base OS .... read up on it, it is good stuff to know.

  9. Mr. Engineer

    Mr. Engineer member

    My advice - get over it and get used to it. You are a commodity and your company looks at you like a living asset. If you want more money, you need to go out and get it. It is not your employers problem what you make -- and it is none of your business what your co-workers makes.

    The brutal truth - absolutely. But it is the way it is. Get used to it now or you will burden yourself and your career.
  10. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Advice please? I make $15,000 less than my coworker and I do more work

    I tend to agree with Steve on this. Don't be to quick to just up and leave a job. You have to weigh things like benefits, pension plans, holiday/days off, medical/dental coverage, etc. Once you have passed probation in the public sector, you also tend to have more job security/protections than in the private sector.

    Think about it and don't rush into anything. I wish you well.

    Abner :)
  11. rolen

    rolen Guest

    If you really have to stay in your current employment, then perhaps you're going to need to learn new "start kissing ass". I've seen this work wonders.
  12. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    So you and the guy making $15K more than you are on the same level as sys admins, right? And it sounds like what you're saying is that people are coming to you for help more than people come to him (ostensibly because he's a butthead and people like you better), so your work is, effectively, greater than his. You're carrying some of his load, then, right? Is that what you're saying?

    If so, the problem is one of IT management. Shame on your boss for letting end-users choose who supports them, how, when or why.

    This situation is what it is because there is no procedure, apparently, for getting support or making task requests which forces the amount of work directed to the two of you to be roughly equivalent.

    And your manager doesn't really know what's going on because you happily take-up the slack. If he got all the work he's supposed to be doing, his failings would be revealed to management in the form of complaint emails from end-users who point out that they can't work with him, or that he can't keep up, etc.

    Yes, you should talk to your boss about the pay inequity; but that's really a separate issue.

    But you need to make sure your boss knows what's really going on, but instead of complaining that you do twice the work and get $15K less pay, focus on getting management to adopt a procedure that will force approximately one-half of the work onto both of you. If what you're saying is true, the problem will become apparent to management in a big hurry; and you'll end-up doing less work than you're now doing, which will make that $15K sting a little less.

    When you do talk about pay inequity, don't even talk about having to do twice the work that he does. Let whatever mechanism you're able to talk management into implementing, which will equalize the work, reveal that problem. Instead, when you talk about the pay inequity, talk about it as if exactly the reverse of what really is going on were, in fact, going on. In other words, complain that your job and his job are the same -- same title, same job description, etc. (assuming those things are true); and that your creditials and time on the job are the same, etc.; and point out the unfairness and inequity of that. Talk about how you could understand it if he were charged with something to do (and actually did it) that you are not; but that, under the circumstances, you really think that the two of you should be making the same amount of money.

    Just my $.02 worth... for what it's worth.
  13. Jacques

    Jacques New Member

    Hi everyone.

    Thanks everybody for your input.

    Thank you DesElms, sir Gregg, for your thoughtful advice and thoughts.

    Thank you Sir Steve for your thoughts and consideration.

    Thanks everyone!

    Well, I did get a salary adjustment of 8,000 dollars, so I'm still short 7,000 dollars (lol), but I'm thankful for what I did get.

    Yes, my boss doesn't know or even care what's going on. He spends his days stating that he "is so bored", and talks to janitors and anyone else he can talk to.

    Our department does have a resource tracker. The professors and staff are supposed to go online and enter a support request. LOL-but professors and staff in the computer science department don't like using technology! And if I state to them to please use the resource tracker, they get mad and complain to the department head, and then my boss gets ill with me, because here the professors are Gods, and shall be treated as such.

    I talked to the department head, and wrote a letter showing my official job duties when I was hired, and my salary then, and compared and contrasted it with my current job duties (significiantly more) and salary.

    I didn't mention my co-worker or the amount of work I do compared to him.

    In my letter, I asked for a raise of $20,000, hoping to maybe get $15,000.

    The department head assured me that he sent a request to the Dean of the college and asked for a raise of a lot more for me. (A mistake I made was not getting a copy of this supposed letter that the department head sent.)

    Well, after a lot of higher power games, I was given the $8,000.

    I think what DesElms said in another post is correct-the IT field is a heartbreaker. Especially here at this particular state university.

    But I've learned a lot.

    And I sincerely appreciate everyone here who helped me with their advice.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2005
  14. Online Student

    Online Student New Member

    Why do people know or think they know their coworker salaries?

    Keep this private. It cases problems and jealousy.
  15. Jacques

    Jacques New Member

    Well Online Student, this is a state job and an open records state.
    Furthermore, the salaries and job titles are posted openly.

    The problem here, stated not only by me, but by DesElms, is mismanagement, piss poor management.

    Online Student, you obviously don't know all the details or situation, and apparently didn't even read the original post.

    I don't "know or think I know" concerning salaries-it's a fact.

    The whole thing is clearly an issue of fairness-same job title-same job duties-vastly different pay.

    Online Student, why don't you read some of DesElms posts to learn more about the IT industry. I'm not trying to butt-kiss DesElms by mentioning him a lot; in fact some of his thoughts and opinions I disagree with. But the fact is, if anyone posts on this board, and DesElms reads it, he will respond with a considerate and thoughtful post and try and help someone.

    And that's what he did and others here did; they tried to help me, and I appreciate them. And that's what we all should strive to do here at this board-help each other.

    This is totally not about jealously; afterwhile one gets tired of allowing one's self to get crapped on.

    Ted Heiks, SteveFoerster, richtx, scubasteveiu, Mr. Engineer, Abner,rolen, DesElms, and others helped me, and I want to thank them and others. I sincerely appreciate everybody's kind thoughts.

    Online Student, if you want to argue, we can take this to private messenger.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2005
  16. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member


    I am glad it worked out for you. Good job! You stood up for yourself and came out ahead.

    Abner :)
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I have to agree with DesElms on this one.

    You could simply stop working and screw off all day while giving the impression you are working. Open several random windows with command lines. Telnet to various routers and display their stats.

    Surf the Internet for fun and when people want you to do something mutter like the stapler guy in Office Space and suggest they see the rude guy.

    You can probably keep that up for 18 months to 2 years before anyone wises up and does anything about it. It worked for me. Just remember to keep a few people happy so you can use them for references.
  18. Tom H.

    Tom H. New Member

    There were a number of good suggestions above but, if you can get over the 7K screwjob (after the raise) and reduced standard of living, surf the Internet and collect a check for goofing off ... or maybe you can use the opportunity to boost your DI post count to attain Senior Member status. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2005

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