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Many people are afraid of asking for a raise for some reason, which is extremely strange to me. It seems that people are in general afraid of being fired, or somehow making things bad in the workplace. However, that is extremely unlikely. Let’s take a look from the employer’s perspective.

When you do a job, you have an arrangement with your employer, where you are trading your resource of time for their resource of money. Your employer had to expend significant resources to get this arrangement (assuming it’s some sort of skilled labor). It also takes a lot of time to train someone and for them to get used to the working conditions. This usually takes weeks if not months/years. In general, it is very expensive to fire you. Assuming your boss is a rational person working in the best interest of the company (which he should be if he’s in a management position – if not, you should probably find another boss to work for because that company is probably going down :-) ), he wouldn’t take that option unless you leave him no other ones. Just sound completely reasonable, and try to work together.

The general idea is that you tell your boss you can make him/her more money. Yup, that’s right, that’s what you were hired for. No matter how nice or upbeat you are, if you can’t make your boss money, he’s going to want to fire you. So the arguments boil down to 1) maintaining your current salary at a fair market rate, and 2) convincing your boss you are performing above market standards.

How to ask for a raise?

So how do you ask for a raise? Here’s a couple of the easiest arguments I would lay out on the table:

- You should be getting an inflation raise every year. Money inflates at varied percentages per year. See current inflation rates. If you don’t get this raise, then you are getting a paycut! If you’re not getting your inflation raise, you should ask your boss if your performance has somehow been substandard. If not, then why is he giving you a paycut?

- Look up the typical salary range for your job and see where yours fall within that range. Do you see yourself as an average employee? If so, then improve yourself until you can convince yourself you are much above average. Then, you can go to your boss, tell him the specific ways in which you are above average, and ask for an above average compensation. If you are already in the higher end of your job spectrum, it’s time to get promoted (yes, you can ask just like anything else).

- In general, emphasize the ways in which you are making your boss money above his best alternative (this is good advice for any negotiation). Of course, this means you should be looking around and getting a good feel of what kind of competition is out there. So talk to your coworkers, talk to your friends in the same field, and figure out what areas you excel in.

When to ask for a raise?

A lot of people like to put it off until the end of some project completion, but I’d say if you do that, you’ll probably never do it. It’s a type of procrastination syndrome. The best time to do anything, is now.

Simply walk into your boss’ office, inquire about how you’ve been performing (so you get a sense of how your boss views you), and tell your boss you’d like to make him more money. Ask about how you can do that for him, and if your job has ANY growth prospects at all, he’ll love to tell you how you can do this and that, etc. Maybe he’ll ask you to take on some extra projects, so you can challenge your skills and see if you can complete more work in the same amount of time, which you should be able to do if you’ve been growing your skills. That’s an example of something you would have done anyway, but now you’re just making it known by your boss.

You should steer the conversation in the direction of, “here’s what I need to do to get a raise”, then you can just do it.

The worst case scenario assuming you’re being reasonable? Your boss says “Not right now”, but he’ll remember that you asked for a raise. What’s going to happen the next time a raise opportunity comes around? Your chances of him giving you a bigger raise just went up. If you’re the boss, and there’s two guys who are exactly the same, but one asked for a raise and one didn’t, who are you going to give a bigger raise to to keep him happy?

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5 Responses to “Asking For a Raise”

  1. How to Convert your Time to Money on June 19th, 2007 2:40 pm

    [...] your boss is hiring you, you are also hiring your boss! That perspective will help you a lot when asking for a raise, or looking for a job in general, but that is a subject for another [...]

  2. Winning Ideas on October 20th, 2010 10:37 am

    Interesting article.

    Latest article on my blog
    Succeed in your job with these 10 super tips

  3. Asking For a Raise on June 17th, 2011 7:31 pm

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  4. alyssa on January 24th, 2012 3:09 pm

    I always found that these tips helped alot and always got me the raise

  5. Mark on March 5th, 2013 6:02 am

    I think it is okay to ask for a raise if you really deserve it. Let’s say you have worked hard as an employee in
    restaurants Bethlehem PA.
    There’s nothing wrong with that.