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Friend and I joining same practice, but offered different salaries. What to do?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post
    He/She was happy with the job offer, then they found out they were getting paid a bit less and felt weirded out (that's understandable). So now you folks want him to have a chip on their shoulder, carry a grudge, and look for a new job-- that's not how life works and that's bad advice. Whether that was the right thing for his employer to do is irrelevant.
    I don't know why you can't wrap your head around it, but it is highly relevant. An employer who would do this is very likely to do other things that you find undesirable.

    I can't really imagine an employer who would be absolutely great to work for and this being the only exception. That is unlikely.

    Whether the employee should actually leave or not is based on lots of additional factors, the main one being what other alternatives there are.

    Comment


    • #32
      I am in my third and hopefully final job. It is a group where finances are transparent within the group, and paying everyone equally or a transparent percentages of equal, based on an algorthim, is thought to be best for the practice. In my pevious job salaries were secret, there was incredible salary discrepancy, and it only benefited those at the top. I had the top salary among the non-administrators, and it was awkward to know that someone doing nearly identical work to me was paid almost half. My first job was in academics and I learned that I was making more than someone who had been there nearly 10 years and was only now coming up for associate professor--I high tailed it out of there. The way I see it, you can renegotiate your contract when this term is up, and tow a hard line, after proving your worth to the group, or you can look for a job with less secrecy and pay disparity. I chose the latter and am happy.

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      • #33
        never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

        and for those that would advocate leaving:

        what do you do before taking the next job? These types of issues are hard to gain a lot of knowledge about ahead of time

        it’s funny, people come around here often asking about job interviews, negotiations, what to ask for etc

        dont recall anyone ever saying “make sure to find out if all new hires get paid the same”

        and we would typically advocate “negotiate for yourself” even when the situation is “this is the standard offer”

        you can’t have it both ways

        Comment


        • #34
          I am firmly with VagabondMD on this thread.

          there are wild assertions being made with no evidence that candidate B was either a better candidate or that they negotiated better. There is no evidence that either is true.

          There is no valid reason to pay 2 doctors with identical skills/experience at different rates.

          This might be as simple as a clerical error, over the years I have seen some extremely consequential spreadsheet errors that you would have said "there's no way that could happen" and then we find out $15-$150k later that is sure as heck can happen.

          If the person running this group is totally unable to justify this or unwilling to address it, that's a huge warning flag. If they start looking for ways to rescind your offer b/c you asked for a 5% pay bump to bring you to parity w/ another new hire, that's an even bigger one.

          This isn't a question of being grateful for what you have or accepting that life is unfair. That's ridiculous. Anyone saying that can I lower your salary by 7% and just tell you "hey, life is hard" or "be grateful you have a job." Of course not.

          I wouldn't be confrontational about this I would just be very direct and professional, in person if possible, "Mary I wanted to discuss something with you, I apologize if this is a little bit uncomfortable but I have the information and I need to ask about it. As you know, Jane and I are very close and we ended up discussing our offers and I was surprised to find that mine was a bit lower. Can you help me understand why this is?" This is not a conversation for email. Phone at minimum, zoom next best, best socially distanced coffee. "Help me understand" is great language here and in many situations: non-confrontational, entreating, and reasonable.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by MPMD View Post
            I am firmly with VagabondMD on this thread.

            I wouldn't be confrontational about this I would just be very direct and professional, in person if possible, "Mary I wanted to discuss something with you, I apologize if this is a little bit uncomfortable but I have the information and I need to ask about it. As you know, Jane and I are very close and we ended up discussing our offers and I was surprised to find that mine was a bit lower. Can you help me understand why this is?" This is not a conversation for email. Phone at minimum, zoom next best, best socially distanced coffee. "Help me understand" is great language here and in many situations: non-confrontational, entreating, and reasonable.
            good luck with that.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post

              good luck with that.
              good luck with having a polite, professional, in person conversation with your immediate supervisor about a compensation issue?

              uh....

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by AR View Post

                I think you're missing Vagabond's point. The main point is that it is in the practice's best interest not to do something like this. You might save 20K on the cheaper employee in the short run, but in the long run you can create discord that will cost you a lot more in ways that may not be obvious.

                Also while you are correct that leaving a job over 20K might be an objectively bad decision, such feelings are human nature, which is why as the employer you don't want to do that.

                So the reason for the employee to want to leave is not just the 20K, they should want to leave because they now know they are in an environment where treating people equitably is not valued as much as trying to save 20K over a new hire. That's a red flag and it's easy to imagine that such people are not ones you would want to work with for an entire career.
                THIS. Among other malignant things, my old group had a habit of creating the feelings of being undervalued, then when people left asking everyone why? The reasons would be brought up to senior partners, yet nothing changed. The 20k split among 15 partners (i think thats what OP said the group had) is less than 2 k per partner and avoids the distrust that has now been seeded in OPs mind. Totally different if you are talking about someone with experience vs not, or a fellowship, or partner track vs employee (sweat equity).

                OP- good luck, I would not bring it up (unfortunately) but I would look for other red flags of this group. If it starts to eat at you (and only you can tell, dif people will handle it differently) then start looking for another job. First job out of residency don't burn the bridge on the way out. And do not throw your friend under the bus- especially in our world (anesthesia) most good jobs are advertised word of mouth, and a person's recommendation can help or hurt you in the future if you plan to stay local. I have had many offers from former colleagues who worked with me at my former group.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post

                  good luck with that.
                  Even better advice. -- though it in reality FLP is right that the chances are the door will be shown vs an admission of clerical error (maybe) vs admission of inequities and doing the right thing -- but it will shine a light on the issue and better to know the true stripes of the practice than living in the shadows.

                  MPMD - I think that's an awesome, disarming way to approach the practice and great advice for the OP if he/she so desires and really does address OPs inquiry. Good option.

                  jacoavlu - yeah, can't have it both ways from the employee -- one can certainly call out the practice though if one inquires and the response is 'this is the way', then, well it isn't true. It's one way or the other and practice wasn't forthright with it.

                  eg: I changed jobs back in 2014 moving to SD. From the very get go I set salary expectations to a job opportunity with Qualcomm/Stanford which they acknowledged. After three rounds of interviews the job offer came -- and lowball salary offer 20%+ below true market. I declined offer outright and they came back that it's an initial offer and requested a counter -- I declined and gave direct feedback of the expectations set early and wasn't denied and will not go forward with this as clearly reflected their management style and hiring practice. They appeared to take it to heart as after joining the UC practice, they took on a UC physician with a more reasonable interview process and respectable salary offer. -- so feedback and decisions do make an impact -- up to individuals to roll with it or do something about it.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by MPMD View Post
                    "Help me understand" is great language here and in many situations: non-confrontational, entreating, and reasonable.
                    It's funny you say this. Pretty much every conversation I've had in my entire life that starts with a "Help me understand" has generally been unpleasant and generally ends with no good resolution.

                    That's not to say it's inappropriate here. I just always brace myself when I hear it. I can just tell that it basically means "I'd love to be confrontational about this but I'm going to be polite instead."

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by jacoavlu View Post
                      never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

                      and for those that would advocate leaving:

                      what do you do before taking the next job? These types of issues are hard to gain a lot of knowledge about ahead of time

                      it’s funny, people come around here often asking about job interviews, negotiations, what to ask for etc

                      dont recall anyone ever saying “make sure to find out if all new hires get paid the same”

                      and we would typically advocate “negotiate for yourself” even when the situation is “this is the standard offer”

                      you can’t have it both ways
                      I haven't read this thread that carefully, but I don't think anyone is advocating flat out leaving, just that it should be considered. Here's what I would do (not saying it's the best approach, but it's what I would do):

                      1. I'd talk to the friend and get details of the negotiation. Is the job exactly the same? Was her initial offer different? Did she just negotiate better? How did she secure the better offer? I'd also ask for permission to discuss this disparity with the partners. If friend said no, then I would keep my mouth shut. If yes, then I may discuss it with partners (see below)

                      2. I'd discretely look for other jobs. Just see what is out there. There is no time pressure since you've already got a job.

                      3. I'd make a good faith effort to make the best of the situation. But I'd keep my eyes open for other red flags.

                      4. If don't see any other red flags and there are no better alternatives, then I just forget about it. Maybe if an opportune moment arises, I might inquire about it with partners if friend was ok with it.

                      5. If I see other red flags and there are better opportunities, then I'm gone.

                      6. If it's a close call between leaving and staying, and friend said I could discuss it, then I'd make an effort to discuss it and figure out what happened. The precise explanation will likely be the tie breaker between staying and leaving.



                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by AR View Post

                        It's funny you say this. Pretty much every conversation I've had in my entire life that starts with a "Help me understand" has generally been unpleasant and generally ends with no good resolution.

                        That's not to say it's inappropriate here. I just always brace myself when I hear it. I can just tell that it basically means "I'd love to be confrontational about this but I'm going to be polite instead."
                        Better to disagree than be disagreeable.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post
                          I have a different take. The reason that it "feels strange and unfair" is that it is. It's brutal.

                          In my practice, we always treated people coming in together equally, no matter the skill set or whether we needed/wanted one person more than the other, and always considered past practices and future practices when making these decisions. We know that people will talk to one another and never wanted to appear partial to one or the other new hire.

                          Example, about 15 years ago, we were recruiting two rads doing fellowships in town: A with a less desirable skill set and B with a more desirable skill set at the time. A signed first, and B was waffling, and we upped B's offer. B accepted, and we went back and increased the starting salary of A. Fast forward 15 years later and A is the outgoing Chairman of the practice, and B is the incoming Chairman.

                          In my opinion, two virtually identical incoming associates differently will lead to ill will and low morale and promotes bad culture and increased turnover. How could the OP not feel bad about the practice? If I were the OP, I would already be looking for the next job.
                          Agree. Associates talk amongst themselves and expecting them not to is silly. We give all our associates the same partnership length and salary terms. Keeps the negotiations simple.

                          The only times we have made an exception to this rule is if a new associate brings a unique skill/tie to our practice that everyone recognizes has value. If we give him/her a better deal we don't keep the terms a secret. That is a very rare occasion and not something the practice does lightly.
                          Last edited by zlandar; 12-24-2020, 02:43 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by AR View Post

                            I haven't read this thread that carefully, but I don't think anyone is advocating flat out leaving, just that it should be considered. Here's what I would do (not saying it's the best approach, but it's what I would do):

                            1. I'd talk to the friend and get details of the negotiation. Is the job exactly the same? Was her initial offer different? Did she just negotiate better? How did she secure the better offer? I'd also ask for permission to discuss this disparity with the partners. If friend said no, then I would keep my mouth shut. If yes, then I may discuss it with partners (see below)

                            2. I'd discretely look for other jobs. Just see what is out there. There is no time pressure since you've already got a job.

                            3. I'd make a good faith effort to make the best of the situation. But I'd keep my eyes open for other red flags.

                            4. If don't see any other red flags and there are no better alternatives, then I just forget about it. Maybe if an opportune moment arises, I might inquire about it with partners if friend was ok with it.

                            5. If I see other red flags and there are better opportunities, then I'm gone.

                            6. If it's a close call between leaving and staying, and friend said I could discuss it, then I'd make an effort to discuss it and figure out what happened. The precise explanation will likely be the tie breaker between staying and leaving.


                            I think this is the right approach. Yes, make sure that the two jobs are exactly the same. Of course, don't leave yourself jobless - no need to cut off your nose...

                            It also depends on the job market. If it is robust and favors the applicant, start looking. If it is tight, you might have to hang in there.

                            If you feel that it is unfair before you walk in the door for the first day of work, it is not likely that this feeling will change, and you will be constantly looking for other signs of relative unfairness to support (or refute) this assertion. It is human nature.

                            And to those who decry "it's only $20k!" - feel free to send me a check for $20k - but more importantly, we probably have just not reached your threshold for what is intolerable. What if the friend was earning $100k more per year? Had a shorter partnership track? Had 4 more weeks of vacation per year? Had no night call (and you did)? Etc.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by md1500 View Post
                              First post! she was offered 20k more than me per year for the first two years (so 40k more than mine over 2 years)
                              This may be due to her better negotiating tactic that you might have missed.


                              with a 13k signing bonus (that I had originally asked for and they declined).
                              Thia will rankle me more even though it is a smaller amount because I asked and they declined and yet they did not decline it to her.

                              I would stay on for at least a year. Once COVID improves significantly I will look at other offers vs yours and see how the work environment is. You should be better prepared when the negotiations for a partnership comes up, if you stay there long enough.


                              Comment


                              • #45
                                She was either a better negotiator and/or there were extenuating circumstances. While I agree it isn't fair since you accepted the deal you must have been satisfied with it. Shrug it off and allow yourself to enjoy the new position but also ask her about how the negotiations went down because you might learn something. Think of this as tuition for a lesson learned and when the two years are up ensure the next contract makes up for it.

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