Other than the vague "Are years four through six here going to make me more valuable than years one through three somewhere else?", I would have been fine sticking around with a promotion, new technical opportunities, more strategic leeway, or even a big enough raise.
Anything else means having failed the employee - with some exceptions. Some folks do have unreasonable requirements that will not be satisfied.
Usually it's because the organization didn't allow them the room to manage the way they wanted. Sometimes they just weren't allowed to provide the raise or promotion necessary. Sometimes there weren't roles for tackling the problems I wanted to tackle. More often, the managers were just too distracted and spread thin in time and/or political capital. They were pressured (or at least felt pressured) to say yes to things they shouldn't (over my concerns and objections) and didn't have time to do much more than keep chopping wood.
I'm not a shy person. I'll be clear and hopefully even handed about my concerns. But I won't throw tantrums, talk about people behind their backs, or make ultimatums. If, after a reasonable amount of time, my input isn't taken seriously, I'll have to find opportunities where I can contribute. Maybe on another team, maybe in another company. Otherwise I'm shortchanging my potential.
> Some folks do have unreasonable requirements that will not be satisfied.
I don't have unreasonable requirements, but good managers will be clear if they feel this way. It will save me time in the long run, at least.
I started employees at higher rates than senior traffic engineers make today. Pay also included bonuses and profit sharing, sort of. The profit sharing wasn't ever written into policy.
The benefits were prett good. I always tried to find a way to ensure any additional training/education goals were met. We'd still pay their partial salary while they attended, cover child care expenses, and things like that - if and where needed. It wasn't always domain related. I've paid for people to take culinary arts classes, albeit at night, just because they wanted to learn to cook better.
Err... It is slightly more involved than that and a post of its own, if you want me to write about that aspect. I'm willing to do so, but I strive to remain on topic.
As mentioned elsewhere, I had slightly less than 250 employees. I also never took any classes in management. So, I got away with things that would be laughed at today. Our head office had a small bar and pool table in the back, for example.
Anyhow, a programmer would have probably started at about $120k in the year 2000. That is unadjusted. Not having taken any management classes, I realized that individual salaries were paltry compared to other fees, I paid $12k per month just for a print room.
I also realized it wasn't my money paying for it. I kept the business' funds separate from my own and drew down a salary like everyone else. My clients paid our salaries. If I had higher salaries, my rates would adjust to suit.
If you're curious, I actually paid myself a smaller salary than some employees got paid. I'd hired them to do complicated things that I could not do. I paid them accordingly.
It was rather unorthodox. The company was sold and the sake was finalized in 2007. The now-parent company is public so it has SEC filings. I suspect I've given out enough information to figure out the name, but I'll let you sleuth or not. I kind of enjoy not being known as 'that guy' and having to meet expectations.
Related: I am still mulling over the idea of writing a book, but I am not really a good writer. So, it's a bit of a toss-up.