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Iā€™m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Negotiate a raise"/ "Am I entitled to severance if my hours are reduced?"

Sept. 11, 2017 "My employer says I'm aggressive, how do I negotiate a raise?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


I work in a large corporation with more than 25,000 employees and moved from Vancouver to Toronto 18 months ago to gain more visibility and to climb the corporate ladder.

Employees here often go on extended coffee breaks and assignments are either undelivered, or late with no consequence. I recently had my midyear review and, despite a stellar review, I was told I was too aggressive and to lower my expectations of others. I make a mediocre wage in comparison to my colleagues.

I've been with my company for 13 years now and in my industry for 15 years. I feel that it's time to call it quits and to do my own thing as I know I have what it takes. I'm looking to negotiate a 30-per-cent wage increase and have the ability to work out of Vancouver when year-end performance reviews take place.

My management team will likely say no to my demands. Should I resign and offer to train my replacement? Or allow them to reconsider their position on how to deal with my situation? I feel they need a bit of a wake-up call.


Bruce Sandy

Principal, Pathfinder Coaching and Consulting, Vancouver

Who needs the wake-up call here? It sounds like it's you ā€“ not your employer.

You have an opportunity to learn from the situations that have been presented to you. You have received the feedback in your midyear review that you are too aggressive and to lower your expectations of others. As opposed to reflecting on the feedback and altering your behaviour, you want to ask for a 30 per cent raise and to work remotely in Vancouver.

Your boss may come to the conclusion that you are too demanding and aggressive and, thus, not worth retaining.

Decide whether you are going to heed your boss's feedback and adjust your approach to try to fit in at your current company or whether you are going to leave. Remember you want to get a decent reference from this employer if you leave.

Start updating your resume, networking and looking for another job while you practice adjusting your style. Consider seeking professional help and support if you are not able to shift your current patterns on your own.


Colleen Clarke

Career specialist and corporate trainer, Toronto

You want to price yourself out of a job in hopes that the company will give you a package ā€“ is that what I am reading?

Hang on to your job for the moment and take the next couple of months to look at what it would take for you to start your own business. You have 15 years' industry experience, you are motivated and ambitious.

Asking for a raise that you know would never happen could embarrass you and cause resentment and a negative reference if you do decide to leave or are terminated. Working in an environment that goes against your values and work ethic is toxic, so why stay?

Your conditions could backfire on you. The company could just make your life miserable and force your hand to leave without severance.

When you are prepared to go it alone, resign; do not offer to train your replacement. In such a large company, there is not much likelihood of your situation being reconsidered.

ann strahl
1 day ago

Ignore the posted advice. One of the things you don't mention is your gender. If you are a woman, you are probably being ignored and labelled aggressive because you want to be treated well.

If you are a man, you don't fit in. You need to be on top and the only way you can do that is self employed. Go for it. Time is wasting and if you are who you say you are, your temperament means you are hardworking and results oriented. You should be a success.

24 hours ago

Bang on - we don't really know what "aggressive" means in this instance. Probably not truly aggressive if this company is as mediocre as it sounds.

Plot your course wisely - take that drive for excellence and make your career a success story.

Andrew from Toronto
1 day ago

Offering to work remotely, believing that your colleagues are lazy, and seemingly not socializing with them screams NOT MANAGEMENT MATERIAL. If you have been in your industry for 15 years, there are probably not too many non-managerial jobs left, and "climbing the corporate ladder" means getting into management.

In an organization with 25,000 employees, you are not going to change the corporate culture from a relatively low-level position. You should be saving up your money to start your own business, but \i would not want to work for you.
1 Reactions

23 hours ago

If you want to start your own business, why rock the boat? Give yourself some runway for your new venture by continuing to work at this company.

Also, if you want the company to relocate you back to Vancouver (and out of their hair) why not play nice?

20 hours ago

You sound like a horrible person.

However, I've known a number of very successful business men and women who were horrible people.

Going it on your own may well be the best option for you in the long run. Just do it smartly and don't burn any bridges. Good luck!

Oct. 23, 2017 "Am I entitled to severance if my hours are reduced?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


I have worked as a technician for a medical company for more than 25 years. Over the past three years, my hours have been steadily reduced and I now get maybe 10 hours every couple of weeks.

When I ask, they say the work will pick up soon. My total years worked have been a mix of full- and part-time periods. I am frustrated because, had they laid me off while I was full time I could have applied for employment insurance benefits. Am I entitled to severance?


George Cottrelle
Partner, Keel Cottrelle LLP

Your entitlement to a severance package depends upon whether your employment has been constructively terminated by your employer, as a result of the reduction in your work hours, due to your employer's lack of work. Constructive dismissal requires a unilateral and substantive change to an essential term of your employment.

Constructive dismissal depends upon the facts of each case, and presents a serious challenge for employees. If an employee leaves their employment alleging constructive dismissal, and their claim is unsuccessful, then the employee will have resigned their position, without entitlement to a termination payment. This is a significant consideration for you, given the length of your employment.

Your employment has included periods of part-time work, which you have accepted, so that alone would not give rise to a claim for constructive dismissal. However, if you are working substantially fewer hours than under your prior part-time arrangements, you may have a claim.

We are not clear if you have communicated your objections, but constructive dismissal must be raised within a reasonable period. Given that your reduction in hours occurred over a three-year period, there may be an argument that you accepted the change and are precluded from raising the matter.

To assert constructive dismissal, you must expressly reject the change, and are likely required to continue in your job, to mitigate your damages, while asserting your claim. Given your 25 years of employment, and the uncertainty of your case, this would be the prudent course of action.


Colleen Clarke
Workplace coach, Colleen Clarke & Associates

Waiting for the other shoe to drop is common behaviour when workplace practices change over time.

Each party waits for the other to make the next move. The cutbacks in your hours occurred gradually and you accepted them, now the hours are few and you are highly underemployed.

If you need to work, waiting for them to dismiss you altogether is holding you back from career satisfaction and moving forward with your life.

Apply to other companies for 25- to 30-hours/week positions and you could gradually ease this company out of your life, albeit without a severance. Or you can get another full-time job and quit.

With such long service it is very unfortunate to have to leave under such duress, but it is important to take care of yourself at this point and move forward psychologically and physically.

The writing has been on the wall for three years. Now, it is your move.

My opinion: I agree with Clarke.  Start looking for another job.


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