Wherein I complain about…

someone being nice to me. Strange, eh? The story goes like this:

The network administrator likes me. As in, we are friends, compadres, allies, etc. You get the idea. We’re two smart women in our 40’s who fight the daily battle of the “good ole boy” administrative stupidity above us and the half-cocked, cowboy-ism of the young men on her staff below us.

I’ve helped her out a few times, and in those instances have done more for her and the organization than her own staff did or would have done. Because of this she is always exceedingly complimentary to me and has told me of several instances where she has sung my praises to my boss, her boss and the personnel director. While I certainly appreciate that she’s done this, it also feels a bit strange. Somehow cloying.

I think part of the reason she tells them and then tells me about what she’s said is because she is genuinely afraid I’ll leave. If I left then her staff would end up doing my work, at least temporarily. Since she definitely doesn’t want that to happen she makes sure that everyone knows how valuable I am.

Also, if I left she would lose an ally and confidant. Among other things, she discusses her personnel issues with me, including the approximate salary levels of some of her staff. Obviously, telling me a salary outright is inappropriate but since we have job grades here she can discuss someone’s grade and I pretty much know.

Now, here’s the weird part…

Twice in the last two weeks she’s brought up MY job grade, saying that she’d like to see me get promoted. I *think* she assumes that I’m on the same level, grade-wise (and thus in salary) as her staff. I’m not. My salary is above the starting level for the highest job grade we have, which is at least three levels above the grade of her highest-rated staff person. AND, I only work 4 days.

I’m guessing that I’m more on her level as far as salary goes. Perhaps not as high, but probably very close.

Today she told me that she discussed my getting a promotion (raise) with her boss! Of course, he’ll have to discuss it with my boss, she tells me. “Oh?” I said, “well, thanks.” As sincerely as possible. It would be great if that would happen, and she’s certainly able to make a recommendation because we work closely together because of our job functions. I just don’t think she realizes what level I’m at and it’s not likely that any raise I’d get would be as much as a grade level change when the standard raise around here is cost of living.

I’m feeling akward about this. Do I tell her to leave it alone? Do I mention to her that I’m already above the highest grade? What if I’m actually above her? Do I not tell her anything? Of course, the wise thing is to say nothing but the fact that she has gone beyond simple praise and recommendations is bugging me.

What do you think?


  1. Hmm…well, I’d think you’d have 2 options…you could just smile and nod and see if anything really comes from it…or you could tell her something to the extent of: I’m happy where I’m at…*shrug* there’s probably more options, but I can’t think of anymore at the moment…

  2. I would go the route of not revealing your salary as that would seem to encourage her talking about your business to others.

  3. Never Ever mention salary to anyone at work. It is a first class ticket to hell. Let her carry bones to you but never give her any bones to carry to others.

  4. What they said – don’t mention your salary, nod and smile, and hope you get a raise.

    And Karen, that’s MY background you’re talking about!

    [ Actually, now that you mention it, it is rather pajama-ish 🙂 ]

  5. Almost sounds like she’s fishing… don’t give her any information. Not that I’m paranoid, but like everyone’s been saying, it’s best not to give her any ammunition to shoot you with or any dirt to bury you under.

    She may well be fully well-intentioned in this… but then again, you never know.

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