Marolt: Give me a raise or take me to the prom — it’s your choice, Boss

Roger Marolt
Roger This

Everyone knows you can’t just ask for a raise. You have to have bamboozle your employer.

It’s prom season at Aspen High, and the fad is a competition of one-upmanship in concocting outrageous ways to ask dates to the big dance. I might take a cue from one of the best I’ve heard.

I know my editor’s daily running routine. I’m inclined to stage a phony bike wreck on the path about halfway through his Wednesday morning active rest recovery jog. I’ll lay there waiting with a cracked helmet by my side next to a mangled bike wearing torn clothing with Halloween rubber scabs pasted on my knees and elbows. If he stops to run in place long enough to kick my side to see if I’m still breathing, I will roll over and reveal a previously concealed sign: “RAISE?”

I’m not sure it’s fair to lay something like that on him, though. He can hardly be expected to know my salary history. He’s the fourth or fifth editor I’ve worked for at the paper. Who can keep track? The guy who hired me was named Mike Hagan — a generous, jolly soul who obviously recognized talent in its rawest form. He paid me well! Fiscal responsibility was not his strong suit. He is dearly missed by all.

Thirteen years, 17 Colorado Press Association awards and the 2005 Fishwit Prize for local literary irreverence later, I am making half what I did then. Please hold your applause until the end — about the awards, that is, not the incredibly shrunken remuneration. Someone will surely mention these coveted prizes again after I’m dead. This is not due to the enormity or significance of the recognition by my peers in the newspaper world, but rather because my will strictly forbids anyone eulogizing about me being an accountant, a former member in dubious standing of the local Rotary Club, or the president of the neighborhood homeowners association for one week in 2009. That doesn’t leave much else to talk about while the casseroles are heated and coffee cake sliced in the church basement.

Things in the columnist business unraveled like a Slinky in the hands of a 4-year-old when the full force of the Great Recession hit in 2009. I won’t lie, there’s a part of me wishing I helped cause that cataclysmic economic event. Maybe then I would have gotten a big raise like the bankers and mortgage bundlers who did. As it is, my pay got whacked in half. It hasn’t gone back up; the irony being that I, a legit member of the liberal media, has prospered no more in this “recovery” than a mosh pit Republican at an Indiana Trump rally.

Some are going to say this is coming to a head because I learned Lo Semple is making more for doing the same job as I am, only worse. And, I’m not talking about skiing, either, even though it is the case with that, too. Skico pays him in 100-day pins for basically partying every day at the Sundeck, skis optional, while I’m out there busting my hump on Ridge of Bell for nothing but the fun of it.

Subtlety is not an arrow in my editor’s quiver of virtues. Lo and I were doing election night coverage on Grassroots television. All the press was there. Right in front of me, my editor made an offer to Lo that raised my eyebrows and which Lo turned down without a blink. Then my editor turned to Lo’s and said, “We’ll trade you Roger for Lo.” Then they both laughed like this would be the stupidest deal since the Red Sox sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees for a player to be named later.

Yet, that’s not what got me worked up. It was the Broncos signing Jamaal Charles for $3.75-million, an old NFL running back who won more games for the Broncos while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs than he ever will now actually playing for the Broncos. If a notorious fumbler like Charles makes coin like that, I think a notorious babbler like me is worth at least as much as when I penned my first rant. I mean, Charles could cost us the Super Bowl! I never will.

Writer to writer, I don’t have much chance making headway on this with my editor. He knows I like the job and my threats of mutiny are only bluster. What I need to do is go under his feet to the accounting department — bean counter to bean counter. Doubling my current salary would be a rounding adjustment on the company income statement. Go ahead and plug it already!

Roger Marolt is climbing the company ladder. Unfortunately it is hanging on its side from the joists in the root cellar. Email at


WineInk: The 2023 vintage

“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.

See more