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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Goes to Bat With Boss and Wins Co-Worker a Raise

DEAR ABBY: I have reached a crossroads with my career. I used to love my job. I play an important role at my company, and I'm good at what I do. Long term, it provides job security. However, the pay is subpar, and my recent request for a raise was denied. I haven't received a raise in several years. I couldn't get a straight answer about the denial. I was told it wasn't my work performance.

I have started looking elsewhere, and I have several interviews scheduled. All of them will give me a $15,000-per-year salary increase over what I currently make for doing what I do. I wasn't asking that much for a raise, not even close.

But what makes this difficult is my co-workers. They are devastated at the thought of me leaving. One of them, someone I'm fairly close to, was so angry he went to our boss himself without my knowledge. I don't know what he said, but he got me a raise, albeit a very small one.

However, my heart is set on leaving. While I appreciate his going out on a limb for me, I now feel "obligated" to stay. Abby, I'm having a hard time with this. Can you help? -- MOVING ON IN THE EAST

DEAR MOVING ON: Have a private conversation with the friend who went to bat for you. Tell him you appreciate what he did, but when your boss refused the raise you asked for -- after several years of no increase at all -- you realized you were no longer valued by the company. Explain that when you went job-hunting you were offered far more than you have been earning, and this will be a step up for you. It doesn't have to mean the end of your relationship with him or the others who care about you. It might stimulate him to go job-hunting, too.

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