I work at a small debt/corp fin boutique, been here c2 years. We've had quite a good year, closed several transactions (where I was instrumental to the execution process, 2 deals I largely ran on my own) that brought in a decent amount of fees. We've got a solid pipeline that we're working on that include transactions with quite high execution certainty, and some riskier ones but that could bring in very high fees. Point being, I don't think we're struggling.
I've built up I think quite solid expertise in a few areas and have become the firm's go to person for these things. Not going to pretend I've been perfect, but if had truly underperformed I'd have been fired a long time ago (our CEO doesn't shy away from getting rid of people).
Recently we had our annual compensation reviews. I was going in hoping for something decent. Maybe not quite market rate (everyone has always said our firm pays below market) but at least something to compensate me for what I have contributed, something to justify those long evenings spent in the office and missing out on dates/gym/watching movies/seeing friends/life in general. The hope of a bonus is what kept me going when times were darkest.
I got nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nil. And pay rise was basically inflationary. When I asked the CEO (also the owner of the firm, he decides all pay) why this outcome, he gave some half hearted response about me improving. When I asked specifically what he thought I should improve on, he shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know and I should ask some other people. He then went on to prove that he had almost no idea what I do at the firm, as well as how I'm doing it per what he had said earlier. As far as I can tell, my pay has been based on whether he likes my face or some other arbitrary factor like that.
Spoke to a few other people who had their reviews and there were tales of bizarre explanations and outcomes all around. A guy at roughly my level he gave the utmost praise to.....and then gave him a month's salary for a bonus even though he's been there for 1.5 years.
Basically I'm feeling like the last 2 years of my career (and life), though great from an experience perspective, have been pretty much a writeoff financially. I work some of the longest hours in the firm (because I'm an expert on several things, I get a lot of workload pushed to me), and it was the hope of a bonus and pay rise that got me through those long evenings in the office where I chose to stay and get another thing off my to-do list as opposed to go home and push it into the next day. But it's clear all that was for nothing, I feel so empty inside. Lied to, cheated out of market standard compensation, received broken promises.
I really should have seen this coming, because last year had the same result: /forums/no-bonuspay...
In fact I'm feeling like an idiot for sticking around after last year's review. Well no more, got a second (and potentially final) round interview with a different firm coming up very soon that should provide a decent salary boost. I can't wait to walk into the CEO's office and tell him I'm resigning. I wonder what the MDs I'm working with and who depend on my input so much will think once they find out I'm going.