Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Employee's power. How to obtain a salary raise

This story was told me some years ago by my cousin. He works in Milan for a company producing aluminium and surrogates. The thing is that they use a complex distributed software application to administrate productions, stock, sales and so on. They also have advanced management software that control the very production process, that is: fusion of metals, compounds purification, filtering and other technical operations on aluminium.

The fact is that everything is controlled and managed by machines. Without software management, strict synchronization between processes would not be possible, and as everyone knows, machines fail. The story is about this huge software and his main responsible, The Engineer.

The story tells that once upon a time this big piece of software broke down and left the whole company with no service at all during some hours. That meant: stop the production, switch machines off for safety reasons and try to fix the whole thing back as soon as possible. Kind of when telephonic network is out of order and you cannot even use your mobile phone, that same sense of anxiety.


So, everyone got at work rapidly to bring the machines back to life, The Engineer was there in the first line to understand what had happened and assistants there too. And when everything was back to the normal rhythm and probably a lot of money had been lost, the management called The Engineer and all his technicians to a meeting.

My cousin was there in the room, so he could tell me this funny story. The manager of the production department started screaming, red-faced and really altered after machines failure, and started accusing everyone. But above all, he reproached The Engineer for his lack of prevision of what had happened.

The Manager: "WE PAY YOU A LOT OF MONEY FOR WHAT? LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED. WE HAVE JUST LOST THOUSANDS OF EUROS FOR YOUR DISTRACTION. IN SUCH A COMPANY, THIS IS NOT TOLERABLE AND I CANNOT PASS OVER IT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING???"

The show went on some minutes, and The Engineer, facing the whole management staff on the other side of the desk, remained silent. He had spoken not a single word since the show had started. The management team was sitting and he was standing. My cousin reported it seemed like a jury deciding what would have been the future of The Engineer. And The Manager went on screaming at The Engineer in front of his team, and more people had got closer to watch the scene and to understand.

The Manager: "I DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE MAKING A FOOL OUT OF ME, THIS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN, I ASSURE YOU THIS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN. AND ANSWER WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!"

The Engineer, who had remained silent the whole time, was standing firmly and waiting for his turn to speak. At last, he just opened his mouth and said.

The Engineer: "I quit"
The Manager: "WHAT???"
The Engineer: "You have heard it. I quit. Tell me where I have to sign. I'll quit right now, I'm leaving the company."

The Manager after some embarrassing seconds of silence, continued: "Wait a second you cannot quit"
The Engineer: "Yes, of course I can. I'll quit right now. I don't need to communicate you anything else"
The Manager, conscious of the vital importance of The Engineer and of the difficulty to substitute him with anybody else, slowed down: "Ok wait, let's stay calm and relaxed, let's see what can we do about it".

Maybe not everybody in that company knows the end of the story, but my cousin knows that not only his friend The Engineer remained in the company in the position of expert of the IT system, but moreover he received a considerable salary raise. And I'm sure that since that moment, people respect him a little bit more.
If you want to obtain a salary increase, firstly make sure your boss, your colleagues or whoever respect you and your job.