Tuesday, January 18, 2005

corporate boundaries crossed

In all my previous jobs, I have managed to walk in my boss' office and ask for a raise more often than normal when I feel that I have exceeded what have been expected of me. Therefore giving me an upperhand in negotiating my salary. In one firm I was at, I did it every 3 months interval and was successful in exceeding the salary ceiling for unlicensed architects. In a matter of 7 years of my architecture career in the United States of America without a license or masters degree *and a minority at that* I have more than doubled what I started making twice over. Yes! That is a 400% increase from what I made my first job in architecture without counting the employment in the Philippines. That is pretty fucking amazing considering all the odds that are against me. See what I lack in my personal life, I over compensate in my career. I am ballsy and shameless. I say what I feel and think without worrying whose ego I hurt. I question everyones opinion while defending my own. I do it intelligently of course, I back up what I say with proper information and research.
All those assets have worked in small firms. I knew it was a different ballgame in the corporate world. I also started with a deminished self worth and confidence dwindling from personal troubles and medical deficiencies. But I am as hard working as always. I decided long before I started this job that I would lay low and not be so quick to try climbing the corporate ladder. Architecture is an old MAN's careerand so I know that I have plenty of time to try and get noticed. Besides, I have always been told that you are just one worker ant in a sea of many, there is no way to get noticed. WRONG!
For about 5 months now, I have been quiet, just doing my thang and yet I have broken records in terms of getting presentations approved by the BIG BOYS. Last week, we were informed that our Senior Project Designer will be moved to another project. This meant more responsibility for me.... I thought of asking for a raise like I usually do but then it was black and white in my offer letter that I am not eligible for a raise nor a bonus until January of 2006. Not getting what I want from a job will greatly turn me off resulting to zero motivation, so I opted to keep my peace and not ask. Specially I am above median of what architects my level make.
Today, I went to a showroom to get some material samples and then picked up some breakfast. I got in the office an hour later than our normal business hours. All the other designers always say that we are not priveledged to have flex time to visit showrooms and such but I always believe that a good designer should not be stuck on her desk because new ideas are being born as we speak. Regardless if I am breaking rules, I do what I do! As I got to my desk with quiche on one hand and coffee on the other, my boss approached me and called me in his office. My heart almost dropped because I thought I was going to get reprimanded by my rebellion to follow rules and office policies or maybe I had excessive reimbursements or that I cannot go to the convention I have been planning to go to next week. To my surprise, he called me in to inform me that he gave me a raise! He was apologetic that it was a small raise because I have only been there six months (not even) and that he said I shouldn't worry because he will take care of me next year with a better raise plus a bonus. I was so happy that I got a raise unexpectedly. Of course it REALLY meant more responsibilty, way more that the raise given but hey!!! I would gladly step up to it anyways bacause I have passion for what I do, no matter how insignificant it is in my opinion. I take pride of it and I own up to it.
I have deminished all my negative notions of corporations becasue I have officially broken a boundary I thought existed. Hardwork do pay-off... So imagine a sincere & passionate desire to produce exquisite design ideas at work... it does pay off!!!