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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 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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