On Karma

So, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was on stage at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. He was asked:

„For women who aren’t comfortable asking for a raise, what’s your advice for them?“

His answer (cited from ReadWrite):

“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Nadella told a confounded (and predominantly female) audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on Thursday.

Ascribing to mortals the fictional abilities of comic book heroes, Nadella advised that women embrace their innate „super powers“ and confidence, and trust a system that pays women 78% as much as men.

His belief in the imaginary didn’t stop with super powers:

Nadella made the comments in an on-stage conversation with Maria Klawe, a computer scientist, president of Harvey Mudd College, and member of Microsoft’s board of directors. He seemed to suggest that „faith in the system“ is akin to magic.

„That might be one of the initial ’super powers,‘ that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have,“ he told the straight-faced Klawe. „It’s good karma. It will come back.“

Yeah. right.
So. I’ve been in IT for ten years now. Coding, in case you were wondering.

I have been offered precisely zero raises.

When I asked for raises, I was shot down every time, except once.

When I left for a new company, money was always at least one of the issues.
I wouldn’t leave only for the money, but after being turned down for raises, it does become a sore issue that contributes to my willingness to leave.

In all of these cases, my announcement to leave went like this:

– I’m handing in my notice, I’ll be leaving on $date.

– OMG, why?

– $reason1, $reason2, and – oh yeah – I’ll be getting more money.

– How much more? Maybe we can convince you to stay?

– $amount.

– oh. … well. We wish you all the best for your future.

Yupp. Every single time that happened, they’d rather see me go than give me a raise.

But hey, maybe I’m just lacking that initial super power.


ETA: @MarkusGerstel points out that counter-offers almost never work, and refers to @RealEvilHRLady: Should I Make a Counter Offer?
Interesting point that leaves me wondering why companies hint at an offer they don’t intend to actually make…

ETA2: I noticed that this post sounds a bit … bitter.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my job, and 99,999% of the time I feel appreciated and respected technically, socially and – yes: financially.
But apparently Nadella’s statement hit something that has been rumbling under the surface 🙂



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