Carrots on sticks dangled too long in front of you soon stop serving as motivation and instead turn into an inescapable torment. An ever-present reminder that you’ll never get anywhere in this place. It’s hard not to feel demoralized when you’ve been putting in extra effort to help your company and/or achieve record numbers and profits, only to get nothing in return to reward you for your efforts.
Of course, it’s foolish to do more than your job description requires under a thin promise that you might receive more than you’re currently earning if you were to turn around good results. The reality is that without an established rapport with your employer, any promise that’s not explicitly defined in writing is likely to never materialize, instead evaporating in a cloud of ethereal mist like Obi-Wan Kenobi being touched by a lightsaber. But, this is often all retrospective. Thanks to the work ethic and ideals that have been ingrained into us since we were but wee things, it’s hard to say no when your boss approaches you seeking a volunteer for a new project or requests that you stay late to meet a deadline.
That’s not to say that learning and growth within the workplace aren’t worth pursuing; it’s very likely that you can propel yourself into an upward trajectory by capitalizing on the chance to learn new skills—even if you aren’t being paid for the work. However, it’s far easier, more common, and more likely that you get caught doing more time-consuming “busy work” that isn’t teaching you much of anything.
If you do take on extra developmental pursuits, it’s important to make sure that they aren’t affecting your numbers, or you’ll find that every manager above you in the management structure comes knocking…
This worker shared their experience of being denied a raise only to be told that they were “not doing enough” when they went back to only pulling their own weight. See their account of events below, along with the discussion that formed around their story.