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Company Wanted The Skills He Developed on His Own Time, But When He Asked For a Pay Raise, Their True Colors Were Revealed.

The Original Poster (OP) navigates the complex terrain of evolving responsibilities at a lab. As OP self-initiates a foray into programming and web development, tensions rise over workload and fair compensation. Amidst performance reviews and unmet expectations, a pivotal moment emerges as OP stands firm on his worth, setting the stage for an unforeseen confrontation.

The Lab Life

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OP had been with the lab for nearly five years, progressing from a part-time position to a full-time role. The journey had been quite intense, with responsibilities ranging from leading studies to data management. Early tasks included a stint at application design using PowerPoint.

The Programming Denial

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The lab’s programmer thwarted initial efforts to introduce fresh software ideas. Frustrated, OP took it upon himself to venture into the programming world. This was the inception of a new chapter in his professional life.

The Self-taught Journey

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Over the last year and a half, OP devoted personal time to grasping various programming languages. As proficiency grew, OP began to automate tasks, dabbling in Python for linear regression analysis and file handling.

The Web Development Dive

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A shift towards full-stack web development was next. After creating an initial version of the lab’s desired website, feedback revealed it needed to be built on the preferred web stack. Undeterred, OP relearned the required stack and developed the website anew.

Double Duties

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Despite these newfound skills, OP’s primary responsibilities at the lab remained unchanged. Balancing both roles was challenging, as programming was squeezed into post-work hours and weekend classes. Burnout was looming.

The Performance Review

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The recent performance review brought no reprieve. While the boss acknowledged the time crunch, suggestions to offload some duties remained vague as the recent layoffs had left them shorthanded.

The Hiring Dilemma

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Management’s message was clear: they wanted OP to handle both jobs. The lab’s staff shortages were complicating matters. New hires were proving elusive, increasing the load on existing employees and leaving little room for task redistribution.

The Raise Request

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Recognizing the additional effort, OP broached the topic of a salary hike during the review. However, the conversation took an unexpected turn, with the boss questioning OP’s qualifications for web development.

Credentials in Question

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Intrusive questions about a computer science degree and certifications cropped up, even though OP’s lack of formal qualifications in web development was never a secret. While the raise wasn’t directly declined, the conversation hinted at refusal.

The Email Stance

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Feeling undervalued, OP communicated his decision to cease web development for the lab via email. If the lab valued the work but wasn’t willing to compensate fairly, then it wasn’t worth OP’s extra time.

Accusations and Backlash

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The following day brought a storm as the lab’s management labeled OP’s stance “unprofessional” and accused them of withholding their work despite OP continuing all other designated responsibilities.

Defined Roles

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Determined, OP stood his ground and fulfilled his primary duties: study management, visits, and data entry. However, he firmly abstained from the additional web development tasks.

Value Vs. Compensation

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A clash of perceptions became evident. While OP viewed his additional web development work as a skill deserving additional compensation, the lab’s management saw it as an extension of the existing role.

Professional Boundaries

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OP’s refusal to perform web development was misconstrued as holding work “hostage.” However, from OP’s perspective, it was merely setting a boundary for his professional obligations based on fair compensation.

The Ethical Dilemma

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OP sought external opinions on his predicament. He asked his family and friends if they thought he was in the wrong for refusing to undertake tasks that he wasn’t adequately paid for. His friends and family agreed that he should have been compensated for the extra work.

Stepping Back, Moving Forward

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Amidst the turmoil, OP’s resilience shone through. His primary commitment remained to the core job responsibilities, ensuring that his main tasks and the lab’s primary operations were unaffected. Still, the feedback from management made him reconsider his position at the company.

Web Development

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While web development was a skill OP willingly learned and applied, it was now a matter of choice. Given the circumstances, OP deemed it right to retain autonomy over its application. Perhaps it would be a useful skill for a future job at a different employer.

Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?

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OP posted his story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.

Forum Responds

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One reader said, “If they didn’t pay for it, it’s not theirs. It was created in your own time as you were not being paid to do it.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote, “They decided to play dirty to save money, and you outed them publicly, which they were not prepared for. Nothing you said was false. They’ll either come around or try to fire you ASAP at this point, so be prepared.”

A Third View on The Story

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A different person stated, “Make sure you keep records of what you’ve made, should they decide to get litigious. If you’ve developed all of this off the clock, then they can’t lay claim to any of it unless they’ve got a contract with you saying otherwise.”

A Final Perspective on the Matter

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Another reader commented, “You actually went out of your way to learn programming to make their life easier, and they expected you to do this for them for free and then try to bully you?”

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