That evening, Justins listened to my tale and he shook his head and grinned. Now that is something that doesnt happen every day my friend.
Yeah, no kidding. What should I do?
He proceeded to make a very good point. You have to put yourself in his shoes. What if you had made a mistake like this? How would you feel?
Then I went into wishful thinking mode. Maybe he doesnt even realize that I have the salary spreadsheet. I could just go talk to him using hypotheticals to make my point.
Justin straightened me out. And what will you say if he calls your bluff? Justin mimicked my manager by pounding his fist on the table.
So you do you think Im a fool. I know you found that spreadsheet!
He was right. I had to come clean. I thanked Justin and had a very restless night trying to decide my next move.
No, that wasnt going to work either. Part of me was even angrier because if he hadnt made this mistake I could be blissfully ignorant and wouldnt have to deal with this mess.
The team meeting proceeded, but I didnt pay much attention. I wondered if he even realized the spreadsheet was in the folder. That question was answered right after the meeting as he walked up to me with a look of consternation on his face.
Hey buddy, do you have a moment? Lets step into my office.
Buddy? Oh, I knew right then that this was coming to a head whether I liked it or not.
Before he even had a chance to sit, I handed him the folder that contained the salary spreadsheet. He let out a slight sigh that signaled some sort of relief.
Im guessing you looked at this, he said as he stared intently at me.
A knot was building in my chest, but I managed to stammer Um, yeah. I, uh, didnt know what it was. But yeah, I looked at it.
He leaned back in his chair and let out an exasperated sigh this time. Look, Ill answer any questions you may have, but if you share this information with anyone on the team, there will be consequences.
I thought, fair enough. I mean what would I say to my fellow developers? Hey congratulations, you make more money than me?
So I took the opportunity to ask some questions while I fidgeted uncomfortably in my seat. Ok, then I do have questions. Why am I the second lowest paid on the team and everyone else received a higher increase when you just gave me a very positive review?
He crossed his arms and legs then proceeded to explain why.
You are a decent developer and no doubt you have good client relationship skills. However, in comparison to the rest of the team, your skills are not as advanced and their salaries reflect what they could get on the open market.
I didnt like where this was going. This was before the Internet, so I couldnt research developer salaries on the Web based on geographical location and other details. At that time the salary reports published were very broad like Programmer I or II. So I bit my tongue and let him continue.