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"And now you give me raise."

After signing off on my Office Assistant's petty cash receipts this morning, I watched his face light up with a big smile as he said, "And now you give me raise." I've been burned recently by being generous so I've been reigning in that impulse. I asked, "have you been here one year?" "August," he replied. To which I replied, "then we'll talk about this in August."
The moment he walked out the door, my internal analytics machine kicked into high gear. This guy just proudly enrolled his son in a new private school (public schools are notoriously poor in India). When we hired him away from his last organization, we offered a better environment with no pay raise. He requested a raise when he joined and I said, "let's see how it goes, first." A raise of $22.45 (at today's conversion rate) would make a huge difference in his life; gosh, we spent that on snacks for the staff last week! Is it right for me to "take out" my previous experience on him? Should I have asked him to sit down and explain why he's requesting the raise? This is a familiar situation in India. Come to think of it, my sweeper asked for a raise this morning! Yet we're talking about precious lives here and I don't want to gloss over the importance of their requests.
Life is often lived in the details -- what defines us is how we respond in these situations. It's tough!


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