Where’s My Piece of the Pie?

‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I'm currently working for a restaurant group that is franchising one of our concepts. As general manager at one of the current locations, I've been running things (without the owners), plus I've been doing a lot of "extra" work dealing with consultants, marketing folks and architects. My pay is not increasing, and my question is, when and how do I say, "Where's my piece of the pie?" Anytime it sort of comes up, I get the "We have to wait till the money starts coming in." — Reggie J.T.: This is going to sound harsh, but here is what the owners probably are thinking, "Reggie has been doing all the extra work at the same pay, so why should we up his salary now?" That mind-set is why you can't wait till the topic "sort of comes up" — you need to have a clear conversation with management around a "When this occurs, I want this" strategy. Dale: Yes, but don't go into that conversation feeling resentful; after all, it's management's job to take advantage of you. I know that sounds wrong, but we no longer have a paternalistic economy, much less a maternalistic one; employers are merely maximizing work and minimizing pay. Sure, some enlightened managers still work to take care of their employees, but the prevailing reality is that you get what you negotiate. If you haven't negotiated a better deal for yourself, that's not their fault. J.T.: To be a good negotiator, identify the role you see yourself having as the company evolves. Then, set a meeting with the owners and tell them what you are envisioning, offering them a view of the future value they'll get when they promote you. You've got to entice them to invest in you, not badger them for more pay. Dale: They might not even be aware of the role you've been playing in the planning — I doubt those consultants and architects are giving you a lot of credit. So come prepared with a list of what you already have contributed. Also come prepared for them to seek to postpone any decisions, arguing that there is too much uncertainty. Anticipate this and use it to your advantage by explaining how you'll be able to help them navigate their upcoming management issues. J.T.: That moves you from "badgering" to "helping," and when you do, you will have moved from an expense to an investment. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the career management blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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