Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bittersweet Praise

I had a great week this week, looking back. It started off with a wonderful unexpected surprise and ended with one of the best birthday's I've had in a long time. In between was a big mess, but nothing different than any other time recently.

I haven't seen my boss in two weeks due to both of our schedules and her traveling. I wasn't set to see her this week even though we were both technically in the same building. At some point she emailed me and asked where I was...she needed to tell me something. I told her, and she told me she would come and get me so we could talk for a few minutes. I told her that was ok, as long as she didn't come to fire me. I was half-kidding. Knowing the economy right now and how things are in the world I figured she was coming to tell me something bad. Anytime I don't know what is happening I tend to expect the worst and then be surprised if something changes. Although I didn't expect her to tell me that I was going to lose my job, I expected that she was going to tell me something bad about someone else. She's really good about determining when to tell something in person and when an email will be fine...this was something she felt she had to tell me in person. So I waited in the meeting I was in, looking secretly at the door every couple minutes trying to prepare myself for what she might want to say.

When she did come I stepped two steps out the door, the door closed, and she told me. She finally was able to get me a (roughly) 7.5% raise. HUH??? That was certainly not what I expected for so many reasons. The biggest shock was that this isn't the time of year for raises...that is usually in the spring. I didn't expect it at all. The economy is bad and when many companies are considering RIF's if not actually having lay-offs, I certainly didn't expect a raise. Not to mention that in the last year I already received a roughly 2% raise and a 10% raise before that. So, in the last year I received about 20% raise over the what I was making. This is unheard of especially considering that average annual cost-of-living raises are about 3%.

I was honored, and it didn't come one minute too soon. Not because I need the money for anything, nor because I feel I deserve it, nor because I actually do deserve it, but because I've been so stressed about not doing enough in my job, my family, my school, that it was nice to be recognized for not only my efforts but for my accomplishments. I know how much it took for her to get that passed through those who approve such things, and to be able to convince the powers that be that I 'deserved it', especially after what I've already received in the last year, is amazing. I'm extremely grateful to my boss who is an excellent leader.

That being said it was a bit hard to accept. I am not one who insists that I deserve more. I'm grateful for what I've been given. I know that due to my age and relative experience in the world and our industry I am underpaid compared to my peers. In fact, the person who works for me earns 10K more than I do. I suppose they know this too...that I could go to another company and make a significant amount more. But I don't do what I do for money. I mean, I guess I do...the whole reason I work is to provide an income to our family. The truth is though that who I am at work is not for a salary but to make a difference in the lives of those I work with and for and to put whatever God has given me to use for His glory. I hope to shine for him more than anythin else. Additionally, I know there are so many people in this world losing their jobs or struggling. I'm not, and in this specific time in the world its hard to accept an increase in pay when I'm already doing fine and I know there are others who need help. I also believe though, that God for now has provided me an income as He has not for my sake but to pass it along to others. I'm not attached to "my" money. Also, it was a bit hard, because if I had my way I would quit work in a heartbeat and become a stay at home mom and full-time student. We can't afford for us to do that yet and as my husband is in the public sector it may be a while before his income can come close to making up for losing mine. It's just the way it is. Now that I earn more, the discussion of giving up my income involves even more income. And, of course, there is the indebtedness one feels to their organization for taking care of their finances as they have so far.

In any case, I'm extremely grateful for being blessed as I have. It's amazing to see how God continues to grow in my life and although I can never give enough to Him to make up for it, I hope that I can please Him in everything I do.

Then, my birthday came and I was completely blessed both at work and by my family. It was a great day. I'll post on that another time (because I only have about an hour or so to work on my homework before the booga wakes up and even with a raise I can't afford to waste that precious time!!!).


Monkey Momma said...

M, congratulations!!! Like you, with the way things have been lately, I'm just grateful to be working right now. What great news for you!

amelia said...

Yay for raises! I'm so happy for you :)