Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Money Envy

Would you be angry if you found out that a person who works underneath you was making more money than you were? How would you deal with that? And on the flip side, how would you feel if you found out you were making more money than your boss was?

I ask these questions because of an interesting development at work. Our store recently hired a specialist for one of the departments. When he starts working, he will not only be the lead person in that department, he will also set the schedules of the other employees who work in it. The department in question is under the jurisdiction of the same manager as my department. However, that manager was none too happy to find out that this new specialist will have a starting salary that is more than what he is currently making. Basically, the employee (the specialist) will be making more money than the boss (the manager).

This has the manager quite annoyed at the moment. He feels that there will be no incentive for the specialist to listen (or do) anything he says since the specialist makes more money. The manager's superiors are trying to tell him that it shouldn't matter, but the whole thing still pisses him off. However, there is one major disadvantage for the specialist if what I've been told is correct. If sales in his department fall off for too long, he will be fired no matter what.

I told my dad about this and we tried to figure out areas in business where the "subordinate" often makes more money than the "boss." The only one we came up with was professional sports where it's commonplace for players to make more money than coaches.

I myself am hoping that things don't get too crazy between the manager and the specialist. Although I wasn't hired in the same department as the specialist, I have worked it a lot in the past. It's one of the few departments where employees can make a good amount of money in spiffs (extra money for selling certain things). If I end up working the specialist's department as much as I have in the past, I may end up between a rock and a hard place. What do I do if the specialist asks me to do one thing and my manager tells me to do something else? Even though I plan to give the specialist the benefit of the doubt, I don't want to have to choose sides. Frankly, as much as I can see where my manager is coming from, I'd love to be in that specialist's position.

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