My boss and I started at another company; I was his intern until he eventually quit his job to continue his families business. He immediately hired me on his team. I have been with this company for over 2 years now straight out of college.
Like many startups, our work environment is very unconventional with the pool table, flat screen TV’s, rock wall, funky furniture etc. Many dream of working here, I once did. My job was always fun and I enjoyed going to work each day. My boss created this culture of a team environment, where we have no titles and we are very independent. I consider my team, including my boss, who is the CEO, all to be really good friends. I’ve attended his family’s Christmas parties, funerals, and even was a part of his sisters wedding.
Being that we have less than 10 people on our team, I have to take on many roles. For example, I am the only tech person, the IT Department, the Web Developer, the Graphic Designer, an Event Coordinator, a Writer, the Sales Department, NonProfit Manager etc. I constantly have to be 5 different people at once, which leaves me overwhelmed. Playing different roles isn’t necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it keeps things interesting and I am always learning new things.
The problem I have is that I am very underpaid. I graduated with my degree in Computer Science, yet I make $15/hr, which doesn’t nearly cover my bills.
I have not asked my boss for a raise, because financially I know the company is struggling to break even. It’s hard to even bring the topic up when I hear my boss complain daily of not having enough money or when I hear that he only received half of a paycheck to make sure we all got paid (he doesn’t make much more than I do either). It would take years for me to get to the salary I deserve, but my expenses and student loans aren’t going to wait for that to happen.
If I leave, I would cripple the day-to-day operations and there aren’t going to be too many tech people willing to do the work I do for that amount of money. Maybe there could be, but I wouldn’t even know where to help them look. Furthermore, I feel like I would hurt them emotionally and I would be disloyal.
Even if I got a raise, the fact is that I have also lost passion for what I do. I dream daily of working for a more established tech company with health benefits, higher salary and more focus on my skills as a Computer Scientist. The financial struggle from being here is just too much for me now.