I've been working part time as an independent contractor (aka Form 1099) for a friend in accounting and administration for the past four years. When I started she told me how much she was paying and I was happy with the price as it is more than what I could make where I live. I don't want to destroy this friendship. but I don't want to be a sucker either.
I worked with the same hourly rate for the whole 4 years. She often tells me how much she values me, what a good job I'm doing, and asks me not to go. The price is higher than I could earn in my place of residence, but at least 20% less than it would have to pay for someone in your location. The working hours are very flexible and I am grateful for that.
In 2021, she raised the wages of all her employees by 5 to 10% as her company is doing very well after COVID. She never offered to raise my tariff. Admittedly, I did not request an increase. It's not about her being able to afford it. She's very wealthy – worth at least $ 20 million. Your company is very profitable.
My husband says I should be excited about what I do. My local friends say they think I'm being exploited. I am torn.
Friend and worker
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Dear friend and co-worker,
You're not asking for a raise because you're friends and you don't want to ruin the friendship. She doesn't give you a raise with everyone else because you're friends and she doesn't want to ruin a good cause. She also knows how grateful you are and that your friendship creates a mutually beneficial, if sometimes uncomfortable, arrangement.
Once you have entered into a business relationship with a friend – be it as a partner or employee – the balance of power is at risk. It is no longer the same. Personalities and emotions are not part of a negotiation strategy. In the interest of a friendship, you should not act against your own interests – especially if this friendship has been irrevocably changed and this is the case.
Why would she give you a raise when she doesn't have to? That's the bittersweet thing about hiring a friend: priorities shift and boundaries blur. The rules of the real world no longer apply. Sooner or later, one or both parties let their needs take a back seat. In this case, those needs are yours. If she respects you as much and is as grateful to you as she says, she would give you a raise.
Tell her that you are happy with your job – if so – and what you have contributed over those four years. Don't mention friendship. It's just business. Her time is valuable and she pays for it. If she falls short, there isn't much to salvage from a friendship or work relationship. It's a win-win for both your self-respect and the value you place in your role in the company.
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