She makes how much money?

Dear Annie: I have 38 years of experience in the health care industry. I love my job and co-workers. I’ve been at my present job for 11 years. “Good work ethics, dependability, loyalty and honesty” is my work mantra. My co-worker “Samantha” has been here for a little over two years. She is doing a great job. Our duties are comparable. I enjoy working with her and care for her very much.

But she is a very close friend of my employer’s and of my office manager’s, and some time ago, I learned that she is making the same hourly wage as I am. Her past experience was teaching preschool.

Needless to say, it has been hurtful; I feel slighted, and it has rattled my work confidence. Over the past 10 years, I have turned down three job offers that would have paid me a higher wage. My employer doesn’t know this or realize my loyalty to the office. Retirement is three or four years away for me, but in the meantime, I would like to be treated fairly, and I don’t know how to handle this situation. Could you please offer me a solution or some advice? — Undervalued

Dear Undervalued: Your experience speaks to the power of perspective. You went from being extremely satisfied to feeling cheated, not because of any change in your job or the way your employer treated you but because you gained knowledge about your co-worker’s salary. Still, I understand why you’re irritated.

If you haven’t gotten a raise in a while, now is the perfect time to request one. Highlight your dedication and work ethic to your manager just as you did in your letter. And if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, make peace with the situation. Get back to your mantra. Keep your eyes on the horizon and that promising rainbow that is retirement. You’re fortunate to have a job you love enough to turn down higher-paying offers. Not many people can say that.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.