Money (That’s What I Want)

Last week my neighbor, Shelly, and I were discussing employment and the topic of wages came up.  Shelly is an Advertising Sales Representative for a local radio station with an exceptional sales portfolio.  For the last five years she has exceeded every sales goal imaginable, yet she told me she hasn’t had a salary increase in over a year.  Shelly is considering asking her boss for a raise.

As we were talking,  I realized I’ve never attempted to ask for a pay increase, though I have thought about it many times.  Ultimately, my fear of being laughed out of the boss’s office is probably what keeps me from taking a such a bold step.  But, after Googling the word "raise", I discovered that many people are concerned with how much money they are not making and have considered telling their boss to pay up.

Most of today’s work force is just waiting for their chance to ask for more money, but after doing some research, I’ve learned there are several things that must be taken into consideration before charging into the boss’s office.

First, consider your position. Are you a college-hire, a seasoned veteran or a part-time employee? It’s a fact that all employees must climb the work status ladder to get anywhere. If you’re working an entry-level position, your chances for a raise are slimmer than those who’ve put in their time year after year. If you work part-time, many employers may not be able to consider you for a raise until you take full-time status.

Second, think about how long you’ve worked for the company. If you’re the new kid at the conference table,  you may need to wait six months before approaching the boss for a raise. If you’ve got a few years under your belt, it’s recommended that you wait at least three months from your last raise before asking for more money.

How knowledgeable are you in the field you work in? How well do you know your position?  Consider your experience.  If you’re an expert in your field, your chances of earning a raise are good, but if you’re new to the business you might want to consider acquiring more training to become more knowledgeable, first.

Making a list of all the reasons you feel you should be earning more money is a good idea, too.  List all your projects and accomplishments that have contributed to the success of the company.  If you find that tooting your own horn is uncomfortable, practice your speech in front of a mirror.

Most importantly, schedule an appointment to meet with your supervisor.  Don’t just barge in and ask for a raise.  Saying that you’d like to meet with him or her to discuss your position in the company is a good way to go.

Another great suggestion is to watch for signals from your boss that may indicate the timing is off.  If your boss appears to be having a bad day at the time of your meeting, offer to schedule another appoint for the nest week.  The best time to talk about a raise is after you’ve received praise for completion of a project or task.

But the most important advice is to know when to step back.  If your meeting doesn’t go as expected, and you don’t receive the raise this time around, it’s important not to push.  Instead, work hard and be on the lookout for the next opportunity to make your case.

SoYouWanna.com offers other tips for talking money with the boss.

Have you ever asked for a raise?  What worked for you and what didn’t help at all?