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How to Ask for (and Get) a Raise

How to Ask for (and Get) a Raise

Money

    Asking for a raise can be a fearsome experience. If you’re like most people, you worry that asking for more will make you appear uncommitted. Or that you’ll be talked into settling for what you’ve already got. Or even that you’ll be seen as greedy if you ask to be rewarded well for work you do well.

    “The first thing that people associate negotiation with is buying a car,” says career coach Malcolm Munro,”and so they’re always afraid that they’re going to get screwed.” What’s more, he says, the people that usually are most deserving of a raise are the people that are least comfortable singing their own praise.

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    And singing your own praise is important. In the end, getting a big raise boils down to three simple steps:

    1. Be worth more,
    2. Demonstrate your worth, and
    3. Ask for the raise.

    The clearer you are about your value and accomplishments, the more likely your boss is to give you that raise.

    Be worth more.

    If you’re not already regularly doing more than you were hired to do, start. Take on new responsibilities whenever possible. Build skills outside of work, by taking courses or reading extensively or attending seminars. Make yourself too valuable to lose!

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    Your value to your company is based on how well you do these three things: solve problems, increase profits, or create and cultivate relationships. Make sure that everything you do at work does at least one of these things.

    Demonstrate your worth.

    A raise, especially a big one, is an important business decision; treat it like one. Start planning now for the raise you want six months from now. Munro recommends keeping an “achievement journal” listing all your accomplishments on the job. The biggest mistake an employee can make, he says, is asking for a raise without planning it out. You’re unlikely to be well-prepared on the spur of the moment, and most likely to come off as opportunistic, disloyal, or greedy.

    If you’ve been tracking every way you’ve saved or made your company money, every big client or partnership you’ve created, every inter-office dispute you’ve had a hand in settling — in short every way that you’ve made your company better off — you can make a clear business case why you should be paid more. Employers and managers won’t respond much to your sense of fairness, but show that you are clearly an important asset and you can count on a positive response.

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    Ask for the raise.

    The best time to ask for a raise is during your normal review, says Munro. If your company doesn’t do formal reviews, make an appointment with your direct supervisor to discuss your performance. Bring your records of everything you’ve done to add value, go over your accomplishments, and then bring up a salary increase. “Once they’re in the habit of saying ‘yes’,” advises Munro, “then you ask for the raise.”

    As you approach your review, it can really help to find a “champion”, someone who can sway proceedings in your favor. Bill Adler, author of How to Negotiate Like a Child, suggests you approach someone at or above your immediate boss’ level, mention that you’re planning to ask for a raise, and ask if they have any advice. Once you’ve sold yourself to them, let them sell you to your boss.

    Don’t make threats, even if you’re ready to leave for a better offer. Instead, advises Adler, just lay out your case. “Come in prepared to describe all the things you do”, says Adler, and let them imagine the consequences for themselves. Threatening to leave if you don’t get your raise will not only sour the negotiation, it may well spoil your whole relationship with your company. Extortion is not a winning strategy in the long run: if they give in now, your employers will think, what will happen in six months or a year?

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    In order to thrive, both you and your employer should gain something from your relationship. If you can make a strong business case for a higher salary, most employers will almost certainly work with you. If you follow these tips and think ahead, you’ll be able to approach your boss with confidence and without fear, knowing that you are worth more and that your company will see that.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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