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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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