When the economy is rocky and job security seems like a thing of the past, how do you go about asking for a raise? With tremendous pride and conviction. But before asking for a pay increase, you need to ask yourself an important question: Do you merely want a raise, or do you truly believe that you deserve one?
This hit home for me recently when I had dinner with a friend and heard his story. He'd been working at the same software company for about eight years. Though software companies aren't having a great time, my friend had been successful at helping his company increase productivity, so he made an appointment with his boss to ask for a raise. In the meeting, he laid out his reasoning with absolute conviction, but she very politely said, "Sorry, there's no money for that right now." Instead of feeling defeated, he went home and drafted a letter—not from a place of anger, but from a place of power. He described in detail all that he had done in the past year to help his company make money and explained why, if he was going to continue doing this, he deserved a raise. This time his boss said yes.
The key to this story lies in a major law of money: Truth creates money and lies destroy it. To put this law into effect when asking for a raise, follow these guidelines:
- Make a list of the reasons you believe you deserve one.
- Meet with your boss from a position of truth and power; you deserve a raise, and you know why you deserve it.
- Don't be attached to the results. Your job is to give it your best shot, not to control what happens.
- Take an inventory of your feelings, if you don't get what you asked for. If you feel undervalued or not respected, then you may want to start searching for another job—that way you'll have a head start when the economy turns around. If you are truly at your wit's end and have your eight months' emergency fund saved, you could consider resigning now and looking for a position with a company that will respect and honor you—which (raise or no raise) is what every one of us deserves.