We’ve all been there. Most of us have sat in the chair across from a superior, contemplating a request for a raise. Though a lot of us have indeed contemplated it, many (if not most) have “chickened” out. Why? Because money talk is uncomfortable.
Sometimes, we feel we don’t even deserve a raise in the first place, which could stem from a misconception of how long it takes to perfect a set of skills. Maybe our idea of seniority is skewed, or perhaps fear may be the problem: fear of being turned down, of being seen as pushy or aggressive, of being seen as too “me” focused, or fear that we might botch the question and hurt our status at the company. There could be a lot of factors playing into why many of us fail to ask or negotiate a raise in pay, but other than fear, I believe it comes down to simply not knowing how to ask or how to move past that fear.
After all, humans often fear what they do not know or understand.
Negotiation Leads to Compensation
Asking for a raise isn’t easy no matter what generation you come from. All of the above concerns are legitimate, and they are exactly why we have 3 narrowed-down approaches or possible options for negotiating a raise.
- Ask before you start working. This first option is the best, but requires pre-groundwork. In the interview process, ask the question, “When someone does really outstanding work over a 6-month or 1-year period, how are salaries and bonuses adjusted, if at all?” As the conversation begins, it’s fair to ask the follow up question, “So, if I come in and do incredible work, exceed your expectations, and adapt quickly, what kind of increases are ordinarily possible?” These 2 questions can also be asked within the first month, if you didn’t manage to do so in the interview.
- Don’t avoid asking, especially if you feel you deserve the raise. Trust me, it’s worth biting the bullet to be considered for a raise. It’s interesting that some people would rather completely avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation, even if it means they will not be fairly compensated. Do not be that person.
- Feel the fear, and do it anyway. Like I said, fear is a huge part of the dilemma for several reasons, but this shouldn’t stop you. That nagging feeling that your contributions merit an increase in compensation will not go away. So, decide to broach the subject in the right way, and just go for it.
First, try to catch your supervisor on a good day and in a good mood as a result of a difficult project or assignment you completed. Keep in mind that you need to have put in your time, at least 6-9 months, and then ask if you can see him/her for 15-20 minutes for an important discussion. When your supervisor grants the meeting, just be prepared with the right questions.
Jennifer, I love working here and am so excited about the work I’ve had the opportunity to do in this first 6 months. This last assignment, in particular, was a great chance for me to show what I can really do, and I get the sense that, because it was such an important assignment for the organization, you are really pleased with how it turned out. I wanted to ask you to consider me for an increase in pay because of the quality of the work I have done since I have been here. When does it make sense for me to expect a salary adjustment if indeed you are so satisfied with my work?”
This does take preparation and practice, but we must understand how important it is. If it were easy, we wouldn’t be writing columns about it.
Putting in the Work
Understanding how and when raises happen is crucial to asking the “Don’t I deserve a raise?” question. Also, it is far easier to deserve and receive a salary increase when you have done far more than is expected of you, rather than when you simply meet minimal expectations. So, be incredible, and know what they expect. Then blow their doors off with your performance, and the money will flow your way.