The logic of the raise is ruthless and simple, I told Amy. We don’t get raises for what we’ve done: management doesn’t tip. Our raises are like higher bids. If there’s no other bidder, the auction’s over. Amy doesn’t get it. I tell her it pays to be friendly with the boss’s assistant—every boss’s assistant—that things happen for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance, that she’s naïve to trust in her abilities alone. She’s resting on her record, I tell her, and that’s like admitting she’s overpaid already. She thinks I talk like an opportunist (It gets in the way of sex.), when actually I’m just looking out for her. The boss approves raises on Thursday mornings that follow on difficult Wednesdays. The week of a falling quarterly earnings report, I notice, is prime. While Amy writes my expense statements, I’ve been keeping a chart. The boss’s door is open and his assistant is at her desk. He’s meeting with the board. It’s Thursday morning: cupcake Thursday. A simple reminder sends the assistant off to the coffee room, allowing me a moment alone at her desk. For the prepared, a moment is enough. Her access gives me access to the boss’s calendar, into which I insert a simple note: Is SOB (my unfortunate initials) looking? My salary review goes better than anyone else expected. He offers me Amy’s raise, and a kicker, and wonders if I’m getting enough support for my projects. He tells me what the board expects from him the following quarter and asks me to keep the raise between us until tomorrow’s staff meeting. That’s fine, I tell him, but I’ll be needing Fridays off. I ask Amy to celebrate with an early weekend if she can get a sick day.

Copyright © March 14, 2008 David Hodges

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