First, I’ll start by saying my job isn’t very difficult. Most of my time is free to devote to homework, and most employees are students for this reason. I don’t expect to be overly compensated for just doing my job, but I do expect to be recognized for when I go above and beyond my job expectations, and in the past two years I believe I have. I’ve volunteered for extra projects, helped organize and run events, and come up with ideas to streamline and improve our work.
In keeping with Levo’s advice, I took stock of what I’d done and realized I had become more valuable to my manager and team because of my contributions. I reasoned that my contributions had earned me a raise. Sounds reasonable, right?
Yes. But while I did some things right, I did other things all wrong. Make sure that when you ask for a raise, you do the do’s… and avoid the don’ts:
Do: See your value
Honestly look at your accomplishments and trials. What have you done for your company lately? How have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? Take note and use what you come up with as support for your case that you have earned a raise.
Don’t: Go in without a plan
When you sit down with your manager to ask for more money, more vacation, whatever it is you’re looking for, make sure you have an outline of what you want and what you did to deserve it.
Do: Your homework
Looking for a raise sent me straight to Levo. I searched articles and studied the mistakes, the steps, and negotiation tips just in case.
You’d think I was all set, and I was.
Don’t: Fly off the handle
All this got me pretty fired up as to why I hadn’t been offered a raise before. I read through our manual to check for loopholes or points I could bring up to help, and I found something that made my blood boil.
The guidelines for performance reviews stated that if any employee earns a certain grade on their review, they’d earned a raise. I’d had a near-perfect review, but no talk of a raise. My managers are fabulous and really know their stuff, so I was confused as to why they wouldn’t follow standard protocol. My fingers flew over the keyboard typing up an (admittedly long-winded) email citing policy and my achievements in an indignant flurry.
It wasn’t my proudest moment.
The email wasn’t rude, but I went about it all wrong. I sent the email to our Regional Director, who has nothing to do with our operations. I also copied my beloved manager, who was on a well-deserved vacation and did not need to be hearing from me.
Do: Trust your manager
I can’t even begin to describe how patient my manager is. I’m so fortunate to report to someone I know 100 percent has my back and values my input. After my email, my manager simply said she was disappointed that I didn’t wait for her to come back from vacation to discuss the matter with her first. I felt about a foot tall. I’d made an unnecessary fuss, I’d bothered my manager on vacation, and I had to clean it up as gracefully as I could.
I set to apologetically (but professionally) following up with our Regional Director and that went, thankfully, very smoothly. I then waited the three dreaded days until my manager came back from vacation. I was so nervous she would be upset, and I hated disappointing her.
Don’t: Forget your commitment
Don’t forget that your commitment to your job has earned you more than a raise—it earns you credibility. The day came where I was in my manager’s office and the subject of a raise came up. I mentally switched on all the tact I possessed to carefully filter anything that bubbled up in the nervous goop that was my brain.
We talked about my history at the job, when I had or hadn’t been reviewed, why I hadn’t received a raise before, etc., and ultimately we couldn’t see why. She said it was perfectly reasonable that I had earned one, and well within the budget to give me a raise, and filed the paperwork the next day.
To get a raise, plan ahead, remember that you can still find success if you forget the rules, and take responsibility when you mess up. No one is perfect, but you don’t have to be perfect to achieve your goals.
Did you ever ask for a raise and have the conversation not go as planned? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Kathleen Warner, COO of the Startup America Partnership, for her tips about asking for a raise!