Business Practice: Treating a case of salary envy

You and your coworker share similar career paths, but he’s earning significantly more

Credit: Joey Guidone

Jul 01, 2019

Sections Strategy

Business Practice is a collaboration between Chicago Booth Review and Chicago Booth’s Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership. Tell us how you’d deal with the situation below; once you submit your answer, you’ll be able to read and evaluate other readers’ answers, and they’ll be able to read and evaluate yours. Shortly after we stop accepting new answers, we’ll post an analysis of the results by Chicago Booth professor of behavioral science George Wu, and if you like, we will follow up with a personalized email explaining how other readers responded to your answer. Check out analysis of past Business Practice scenarios here.

Your coworker Robert is a great guy and a very good analyst—you’ve known him since you started together at McFarland Media several years ago. He recently made a casual reference to his salary, and to your dismay it’s 20 percent higher than yours. He’s good, but as far as you're aware, his career path has more or less mirrored your own. You started at the same time, in the same role, and neither of you has received a formal promotion since.

This revelation is eating at you, so you’ve tried to divine some reasoning for it by comparing your performance to what you can observe of Robert's. But on any measure you can think of, your performance isn’t notably different. In fact, your manager recently gave you some encouraging feedback on your work. At wit’s end, you’ve requested a special one-on-one with her this afternoon. But what do you say? Write a script.

This Business Practice scenario is now closed to new responses. Thank you to everyone who offered their insights and helped evaluate answers. Check back soon for George Wu’s analysis of the responses we received.