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Top-Performing Employee Tells Boss That Because His Pay Is 'Below Average' His Work Will Be Too After Getting Denied A Raise For Two Years

Photo: TikTok/Ground Picture/Shutterstock
woman in human resources meeting with employee

Workers are changing how they view employment. No longer are they willing to settle for being underpaid or dissatisfied with their work environment. Employees are demanding fair compensation for the jobs they do and deciding that if one employer won’t give it to them, another will.

A man on TikTok is demonstrating how workers are reclaiming their power in the workplace with a video documenting a conversation he had with his boss.

The man told his boss his 'below average' work is due to his low pay.

In 2022, a TikTok user named Kris shared a video that he says is a recreation of a real conversation he had with his employer about his performance at work.

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Though the voice we hear is that of Kris's voice-actor friend, his department head called him to, as the voice says in his video, “discuss the difference in your performance between last year and 2020.” She went on to explain that he was the top performer at the company the year prior but had seemingly lost focus and was no longer engaged since then.

Kris nodded his head in agreeance, admitting that his performance had recently declined. He explained that in 2020 he failed to receive a salary increase for the second year in a row, though, as she had so thoughtfully pointed out, he was the top employee.

He went on the tell the woman that he had asked why he did not get a raise and was told that his pay was “a fair market value” for his role. Yet when he asked where his salary landed on the pay scale, he was told that it fell below the median, which he took to mean that he was being paid below the average salary that he could make in his position.

Kris then told her, “At that point, I just decided I’m going to come a fair market value employee and put in a below average amount of effort because that’s what I feel like you pay me to do.” He told her that the environment the company had created provided no incentive for him to go above and beyond, so he didn’t.

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His department manager was apparently unable to find the words to respond because there were several seconds of silence before the video ended. Though the video is a re-enactment, viewers still applauded the man for his clever response to the inquiry about his performance.

High performers can often be left demoralized, especially since it is not uncommon to be rewarded with more work without an associated pay increase. This can lead to exactly what we saw in the video, a practice now referred to as ‘quiet quitting,’ where a person stays at the job but does the bare minimum to stay employed.

Prioritizing employees that give their all can help with retention, and morale, and keep employers from creating knowledge gaps that will negatively impact the business. Investing in tried-and-true talent is the best way to keep employees engaged, inspired, and loyal.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.