Ethical grey area

Today I gave someone some advice that I probably should not have given. 

A colleague of mine (actually he’s more of a friend than a colleague) took me out for lunch today. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Pinche Taqueria nearby. Ordered a couple of tacos and margaritas (I know it was lunch, so what?) We got around to discussing about jobs, and my new job. I don’t know if it was the margarita, or if he just sees me as a friend, but he blurted out his salary to me.

Now this guy has a bit of a back story. He had to join this company in the middle of recession 3 yrs back as an unpaid intern or he would need to return to his country (he’s from Qatar). After the internship he was hired full time and has been here since then. He was a mentor to me when I joined, and is now a tech lead. 

The shocking part is, his salary is very very very very low. By low I mean Mariana Trench low. Forgive the dumb metaphor, but I felt very sorry for the guy. We live in NYC, where expenses are sky high. He’s so bright and hardworking. He has done a part time Masters after he joined here. And the worst part is, he did not even know he’s terribly underpaid! 

At first I didn’t know what to say. I loved working here and I love the people here. They have lost quite a few employees in the recent past. If I tell this guy the truth, would he choose to leave? 

Anyway, I decided to tell him. I said, “Erm Jim, you know you deserve to get way more than what you do right now, right?” He just thought I’m being nice to him and shrugged it off. I decided to go all out and told him my salary and my fiancé’s salary. He was dumbfounded. He really did not know that software developers do get paid a decent amount. I urged him to speak to our manager or if that doesn’t work out, just look for a new job.

I am not sure if I did the right thing here. Because of me the company may end up losing a really brilliant guy. Also, Jim likes it here. Money isn’t everything right? Job satisfaction is also important? What if he ends up getting another job that pays him well but that he doesn’t like as much? 

I do hope the company gives him what he’s really worth and it works out for everyone!

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6 thoughts on “Ethical grey area

  1. As you said he is more of your friend right?? then don’t think any negative outcomes of your suggestions.. You are wishing him best , you suggested him for his best otherwise he would have been unaware of what’s happening, let him take the decision now, as per my personal opinion you did the right thing girl.. don’t worry 🙂

  2. irrespective of how much he might love the work, clearly the company has been taking advantage of him by paying him so low …. ignorance isn’t bliss in such matters 😛

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