Episode 410: Guaranteed cost-of-living raises and my manager doesn't like me


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi Soft Skills!

    I’m writing to you as I look forlornly at my paycheck, unchanged for the last year and a half, and wonder if I’ll ever see market rate again. While I prepare my leetcoding skills for the trek that is your classic Soft Skills Adventure (quitting), I think about future interviews and wonder: how common is it to have something like a COLA clause in your employment agreement? Something like “Oliver will receive a raise of no less than the current CPI% per year”. Are there other ways to mitigate this, other than joining a company with more people and less greed? I don’t think I should have to beg for COLA-s with good reviews in hand. In fact I think those reviews call for raises!

    Thanks for bringing more joy to my life :),

    Mr Twist

    P.S. I am grateful I’m not paid in porridge and any reference to Oliver Twist isn’t to suggest Tech Salaries aren’t livable wages.

  2. Mr. Peanut Butter asks,

    I’m a senior IC at a small startup and I’m struggling to get along with an engineering manager. M has a say in my promotion and has already said no once, which was pretty painful considering the time and energy I’d spent helping their team succeed. I think there are two headwinds to M changing their mind 1) I’m FE-focused, and M’s conception of FE work is dated and simplistic. 2) M can be a bit of a blowhard. Said generously: M is a top-down thinker, quick to make conclusions, process-focused, and loves discussing architecture and design patterns. In contrast, I’m a bottoms-up thinker, pragmatic, plain-spoken, slow to make conclusions. M and I meet regularly to discuss cross-team matters, and it is my least favorite meeting of the week, even weeks that include dentist appointments. M sometimes devolves into lecturing me about software fundamentals (which I know at least a well as they do). I know from experience that there’s an M at nearly every company, so I’m reluctant to order up an SSE Special. How do I leverage this dreaded weekly meeting to turn M from a detractor to a promoter?

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