Question:During my last performance review, my boss said he is paying me too much for what I do. At the same time, he called me an extremely good office manager and mentioned no problems with my performance. For the past seven years, I have handled all his administrative work, plus many unexpected emergencies and customer problems. I can't figure out what's going on, and he won't respond. What should I do?
Answer: If I understand correctly, your manager made a very rude and hurtful remark about your worth as an employee, but did not actually say that he plans to cut your pay. To determine whether this was a veiled reprimand or the first step in a salary reduction plan, you will need to get more information.
Although you say "he won't respond," I assume your boss did not literally give you a mute stare when you requested an explanation. Therefore, you must have either avoided asking a direct question or expressed your concerns via email. Since the indirect approach clearly isn't working, it's time for an unambiguous face-to-face conversation.
For example: "You recently said that you feel you are paying me too much. I'm confused by this, because you seem satisfied with my performance. Why do you believe my salary is too high?"
If external comparisons have shown your pay to be much greater than that of other office managers, you could be facing a salary freeze. But if your boss has been harboring unexpressed performance concerns, be glad you had this talk, because that's a problem you can fix.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach. Visit www.yourofficecoach.com.