How to Know You’ve Got a “Silent Raise” (and Why It’s Bad)

It often doesn’t matter when your boss occasionally asks you to take on a little more work than your original job description says. This request is usually associated with the concepts of “great opportunity for growth” and “be a team player.” However, there comes a tipping point when taking on additional responsibilities should be formally recognized as a promotion with all the attendant perks and pay increases.

If your job has gone up but your status hasn’t changed, you may be the victim of a “silent promotion.” Here’s how to find out if you’ve gotten a “silent raise” and what you need to do to get the recognition and pay you deserve.

What is silent promotion?

As we pointed out last year, the term “silent quitting” has quickly become inflated. In fact, a much more common (and harmful) “silence” in the workplace is that workers are quietly fired . However, the flip side of quiet shooting is a quiet promotion.

At first glance, the promotion sounds good. Unfortunately, the keyword “silently” subtly turns the positive into a negative. The “silent” part of a silent raise refers to the fact that you don’t get compensation or credit for the increased liability that must come with an official raise.

There are many reasons why you may feel pressured to perform at a higher level than your position pays you. For example, if your team is understaffed, you may be asked to take on additional responsibilities for fired or absent team members. When this happens, it can be hard to say no to a boss who presents your unpaid work as a learning opportunity or a chance to shine on the job. Here’s what to do when opportunities cross into exploitation territory.

What to do if you get a silent promotion

You might be telling yourself that as your job responsibilities increase, that means a promotion is definitely around the corner, right? Unfortunately, if you don’t get promoted in writing, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. Luckily, there are some things you can do if you feel like you’ve been promoted.

First, as soon as you notice that you are being asked to do more difficult work without recognition or reward, start keeping a journal to document what is happening. You can use this to express concerns to your HR department or use it if you decide to take action in the future.

If you think your quiet promotion is a simple oversight or something more subtle, consider insisting on a face-to-face meeting to communicate your concerns. A formal conversation about a job change will help you request a raise and a raise.

Until then, one of the most important skills you can learn in the workplace is the ability to say no to unfair extra work . And in most offices, a good employee must master the art of saying no without actually saying no. Learn how to communicate your “no” by presenting it as if your decision is in the best interest of the other person.

In the end, it might be time to think about leaving this job. You deserve fair compensation for your work, so don’t settle for a quiet promotion without proper recognition.


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