Compensation increase, salary decrease

Yesterday I got the great news that my total compensation was going up 10%! My 2nd line manager, filling in for my 1st line whom is out on vacation, let me know. When he gave me the paper with the information on it, he warned me that he noticed something odd about it and that he would look into it. The odd thing is that while my total compensation went up by 10%, my salary went down by 1% meaning I’d be getting less per paycheck than before.

You see, all of the compensation adjustment went into the (really fucked up) “bonus” structure EMC uses. Bonuses are paid out quarterly based on the completion of your quarterly goals. As such they are not guaranteed and, of course, no rational person would ever rely on them. That said, the bonuses aren’t quite as capricious as it might seem and any half-way sensible employee knows how to write their goals to ensure they can complete them to get their quarterly bonus.

The better news I found out today is that this was an out-of-band adjustment and not part of the yearly compensation discussion. EMC realized what we’ve been telling them for a year now: they don’t pay enough. Back when Isilon was Isilon, a portion of someone’s compensation was from stock. EMC doesn’t operate that way and thus their overall compensation isn’t competitive with those of regional competitors like Amazon and Microsoft. Yesterday’s adjustment was an attempt to fix that.

My 2nd line manager said he’s going to fix the adjustment such that more of the compensation bump goes into my salary and not just into the bonus. I don’t know how much power he has in that area and how successful he’ll be, but I trust that he’ll do his best.

On the bright side, while I want to be compensated well I live well below my means as-is. Also after 10 years at IBM I’m an old pro at writing aggressive but achievable goals and I’m confident I’ll get the full compensation even if the oddness isn’t fixed.

And of course, there’s still the usual compensation cycle that is supposedly still happening next year which offers additional possibilities.

Update: After I got home I did some math. After the adjustment, I’ll be making 4% more than what I was making at IBM if I had stayed through the end of 2010. Granted, that was in Denver and the cost of living in Seattle is more than 4% higher than it is in Denver. Still – progress!