This situation occurs from time to time. A person starts a new job. He is paid a low wage because of his lack of experience. But he is ambitious. He spends time improving his programming skills. He notices a persistent problem and writes a program in his spare time to solve it. He offers it to his boss and the program is implemented. There are the usual hiccups that go along with implementing a new program but after a few months, the program is running smoothly. Efficiency increases, man hours are reduced and most people are happy with the changes.
His manager gives raises of 1 to 3 % with 5 % for exceptional performance. To give a larger raise, the manager has to fill out a lot of paperwork, making the case why the employee deserves more. Even then the raise may not be approved. After all money is tight and 5% is considered an excellent raise.
When the employees review comes due, he is called to the manager’s office and is offered the 5% raise. He will go from 24000 to 25,200 per year. The manager explains that 5% is the largest raise he can give.
The employee is disappointed. He protests. “Programmers make 60 – 70 k. I have proven my abilities. I expected a larger raise.” The manager says “I don’t have a slot for a programmer in this department. My manager won’t authorize me to pay you even $30,000 much less 60 or 70.
What happens next? Sometimes the employee keeps up the good work, with various results. Often he concludes that working hard is a waste of effort. Why work so hard when to company will basically steal his work? He becomes one of the drones, doing the minimum amount of work he can get away with.
If he is smart he looks elsewhere. In the company’s mind, he is a 25,000 a year guy. No matter how many new skills he develops, the company is unlikely to give him a substantial raise.