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2011-05-07 9:13 AM

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Subject: Asking for a raise...
Oh dear.

So, I have an appointment with my boss on Monday to talk. And I want to ask for more money. I think I know the party line "Budget cuts, no money, etc"...but at the same time, we are creating positions and hiring more people.

Further, the professional council for my profession has done numerous salary surveys, and I don't think our salaries stack up as well as they could. Further, we have taken on increasing responsibilities and involved in several MAJOR projects at once that are typically spread out over a number of years.

We are also required to have an advanced degree, and our jobs require the direct handling of irreplaceable things, a decent amount of travel, management of others (in house and interns), and semi-regular weekend call outs for things.

From what I've gathered, there have been no COL raises in three years, although I have not been there for three years.

I don't know if this will accomplish anything, and I fear that it is going to put my butt firmly over the fire. And I want to be clear that it isn't that I think my coworkers don't deserve their pay rate, far from it, they absolutely do, but I feel that myself and my department do as well, considering our responsibilities.

I also have read in more than one source that one of the reasons for the gender wage gap is that women don't ask, we just take what pay is offered (to be clear, there isn't a gender gap in my workplace, we're mostly women, but as a societal thing, I believe this is fairly accurate.). Well, surely the squeaky wheel might get the grease?

I'm trying to write bullet points so that I don't get emotional or scared (I'm a little scared of my boss, if I'm honest), and I'm trying to be as diplomatic as possible.

Any tips on how to make this go well (even if it doesn't result in me getting what I'm asking for)? Bosses, how do you take this conversation? What information would make you consider this type of petition?

This is my first "professional" job, and I'm kind of at a loss here.



2011-05-07 12:19 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...

What's all this "we" and "our"? Are you asking for a raise for yourself, or are you forming a labor union?

Salary is not a matter of your advanced degree, nor the tasks you do, That's why they hired you and why they pay you what they do. Focys instead on how much value you add to the organization. on how much revenue you generate, how much in expenses you save.

Have you really been there long enough to merit a raise? Does your organization not have a formal pay grade and evaluation system in place? My company, for example, evaluates each employee annually, and gives COL and merit increases at that time.

2011-05-07 12:55 PM
in reply to: #3486696

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
the bear - 2011-05-07 1:19 PM

What's all this "we" and "our"? Are you asking for a raise for yourself, or are you forming a labor union?

Salary is not a matter of your advanced degree, nor the tasks you do, That's why they hired you and why they pay you what they do. Focys instead on how much value you add to the organization. on how much revenue you generate, how much in expenses you save.

Have you really been there long enough to merit a raise? Does your organization not have a formal pay grade and evaluation system in place? My company, for example, evaluates each employee annually, and gives COL and merit increases at that time.



Sorry, "we" and "our" are symptoms of my entire team/department being underpaid (in my opinion). I'm definitely not going to speak for them, because I'm willing to put my own butt over the flame for this, but I won't put them in harm's way. Nor is it really my place.

In terms of generating revenue...that's kind of the problem. Our "business" is not really a "business". My department is semi-autonomous, but still dependent uponna state agency and state funding....kind of. The funding and money streams for our branch are very, very complex and somewhat odd, coming from the state, grants, private donors, etc. Officially, my paychecks come from the state.

Further, we're a non-profit, so we don't tend to be big on production or revenue.

In terms of saving them money..definitely. Without having my department and our team, nothing would get done, and I say that in a very literal sense, not as a point of pride. We are the people that make the place perform its function. The functions could be performed by an outside contractor, but the cost of that would be 4x what my entire department is paid in payroll and benefits, plus it would be difficult to attract someone to do that in this part of the country (rather than say the East coast or the West coast...the concentration of professionals in our field is very, very low here). Another very large, very complex, out-of-town project was just added to my department's calendar because the estimates we solicited to do it came back multiple thousands of dollars more expensive then the calculations for us to do it ourselves.

My job is really vital to put it vulgarly, gettin' $hit done. It's not something that could be done by a computer, and it involves training, supervision and apprenticeship in addition to advanced education and work experience.

We are evaluated annually, and that just happened, and I got "beyond expectations" on my eval, but no COL, and no merit increase, and no talk of that ever happening. My coworkers who have been there longer say they haven't seen a COL in three years. There are "classifications", but based on the research I've been doing...it is pretty arbitrary. There are other people in my classification who make WAY more than I do, and a few who make less. for comparison, there is another different but very similar department to mine within the agency, and people in my same classification, same job description, same education + experience requirements, are making 10-12k more. That's a *lot*.

Yet another unpleasant side effect of having your salary be public record.

Like I said, I'm not sure if this is going to end up going well, and perhaps either earning myself a raise, or if I'm going to get fired for even asking (I'm at will and non-union, oh joy).

2011-05-07 1:11 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...

Let's cut to the chase:

How long have you been there? What are you doing above and beyond the job that you agreed to do for your current salary?

From your boss's view: we hired you to do {{scope of job}} for $XX,XXX. Why should I pay you $XX,XXX plus $Y? Has the job changed? Has the revenue earned by the organization increased? Has your value to the organization increased above what it was when we hired you?

Don't give me any "We're worth more because we're vital to the organization." Your position was just as vital before you started. Why are you worth more now?

2011-05-07 1:24 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
The other question here is "Does your boss have the authority to give you a raise or does he have to answer from someone before he can give you an answer?"
2011-05-07 1:49 PM
in reply to: #3486763

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
the bear - 2011-05-07 11:11 AM

Let's cut to the chase:

How long have you been there? What are you doing above and beyond the job that you agreed to do for your current salary?

From your boss's view: we hired you to do {{scope of job}} for $XX,XXX. Why should I pay you $XX,XXX plus $Y? Has the job changed? Has the revenue earned by the organization increased? Has your value to the organization increased above what it was when we hired you?

Don't give me any "We're worth more because we're vital to the organization." Your position was just as vital before you started. Why are you worth more now?

 

I have to agree with The Bear on this one.  In addition, our organization stays away from any discussion of COLA.  Our salary bands are based on cost of Labor, not living.  If the position can be filled for a certain salary range, then that is what the range is until the next salary survey is completed.  Once it is completed, the salary band is adjusted up or down.  If you fall in the middle, nothing will happen to your individual salary.

Merit increases. IF given, are based on performance to a continuum and then salary within the job range and their should hopefully be alignment.

My question would be, did you ask about the merit increase or lack of during the review cycle?  If so, what has changed to the extent that you feel a new discussion is warranted?

Good luck with your discussion and stay focused on what you bring to the table.

 edited to fix typing errors



Edited by SGriepsma 2011-05-07 1:50 PM


2011-05-07 11:35 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
If you go in saying that you'd like a raise, you're toast.  Everybody would like a raise.  And you'll only get a cost of living raise when everybody is getting a cost of living raise.

You need to go in saying why you deserve a raise, with specific reasons why that are related to your performance and results.  What are you doing that's beyond the scope of your job and merits more pay?  How are you helping to bring in revenue and/or reduce cost?  Why are you worth more than your current salary?

Keep it specific and personal.  The fact that other people in other similar jobs elsewhere are making more is irrelevant, unless you're saying that unless you get a raise you'll go work there instead.  And focus on results, not effort.
 
As long as you keep it businesslike and non-threatening and can present good reasons, I don't think you're "putting your butt in the flame."  Good bosses expect good people to want to get ahead, and even if they can't grant your request they should at least respect you for making it. 
2011-05-08 7:18 AM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
Kind of stiring the pot here but here is my question...

If you want more money why would you take work with a non-profit? They are all very well known to not pay their employees what the private sector pays because it is a non-profit and funds come from donors or grants.
If you interviewed and accepted a job knowing that the salary was way too low, you kind of have no room to gripe now.

My wife works for the govnt, she has not had a raise in 4 years (and I mean no raise), she took the job a long time ago knowing that the state pays less than the private sector and she considers her lower pay part of the job because she is doing something wonderful for state and local governments. If she ever gripes about the low money, she can go out to the private sector.

Same for you.... and I agree with bear, raises should be on what you bring to the table, I spend the majority of my day at work, trying to find processes I can be the best at or learning things that other persons do not know. So I amd not only valuable but hopefully non-replaceable.
2011-05-08 10:30 AM
in reply to: #3487521

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...

trigods - 2011-05-08 5:18 AM Kind of stiring the pot here but here is my question...

If you want more money why would you take work with a non-profit? They are all very well known to not pay their employees what the private sector pays because it is a non-profit and funds come from donors or grants.
If you interviewed and accepted a job knowing that the salary was way too low, you kind of have no room to gripe now.

My wife works for the govnt, she has not had a raise in 4 years (and I mean no raise), she took the job a long time ago knowing that the state pays less than the private sector and she considers her lower pay part of the job because she is doing something wonderful for state and local governments. If she ever gripes about the low money, she can go out to the private sector.

Same for you.... and I agree with bear, raises should be on what you bring to the table, I spend the majority of my day at work, trying to find processes I can be the best at or learning things that other persons do not know. So I amd not only valuable but hopefully non-replaceable.

there is something to this but i am not sure there actually is a private sector for her jobs. if I remember right she works in museums and antiquities cataloging and arranging etc. most if not all of that work I imagine is done through public/non profit companies. I am in a similar boat with my company (not the "no raise" thing though) in that I work for a non profit. however my field does have private companies. If I could find a similar job to what I do know in the private sector they would probably make 10-15% more than I do but I love my job, even though it is emotionally and mentally draining and to find a similar position I would have to move somewhere else in the country. 

I would say follow bears advice - if you want to bring it up, get a copy of your job description from when you were hired, and point out everything you do now and that you do well, which is NOT included on that description. If you can show that clearly you will be able to put in a good argument at least. good luck if you decide to go through with it!

2011-05-08 10:18 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
Good luck tomorrow.
2011-05-09 7:11 AM
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2011-05-09 6:50 PM
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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
Well, this morning I got up, rehearsed my talking points, ate a good breakfast, dressed nicely, went to work...


annnnd my boss decided to take a day off and move our meeting.

Crap.
2011-05-09 7:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...

phoenixazul - 2011-05-09 4:50 PM Well, this morning I got up, rehearsed my talking points, ate a good breakfast, dressed nicely, went to work... annnnd my boss decided to take a day off and move our meeting. Crap.

Boss has good radar

2011-05-09 7:37 PM
in reply to: #3490344

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
spudone - 2011-05-09 8:05 PM

phoenixazul - 2011-05-09 4:50 PM Well, this morning I got up, rehearsed my talking points, ate a good breakfast, dressed nicely, went to work... annnnd my boss decided to take a day off and move our meeting. Crap.

Boss has good radar



Worse: Boss has house guests!
2011-05-09 7:56 PM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...

One of my favorite intro's is "What has to happen ..."

What has to happen for me to realize a pay increase?

What has to happen for you to increase my pay?

What has to happen for the organization to realize I merit a pay increase and act accordingly?

Or variations thereof.

It's always about the framework. If you put it in those terms, it's called an assumptive close. The issue of whether a raise can happen is assumed; that merely leaves the question of HOW it will happen.

It also changes the request from a close-ended question (Yes/No to your raise request) to an open ended question (How/When/Give me the plan). Open ended questions are less confrontational and could put your supervisor into strategic planning mode vs You against Me mode.

And if your boss senses your tentativeness or weakness of will, your cause is lost. You're going to have to buck up. It isn't personal. It's business. Be friendly but business-like.

BTW, I negotiate salaries for a living. I know whereof I speak when it comes to money and negotiating. First one to blink loses.

You're welcome.



Edited by Renee 2011-05-09 8:03 PM
2011-05-09 8:52 PM
in reply to: #3490444

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
Renee - 2011-05-09 8:56 PM

One of my favorite intro's is "What has to happen ..."

What has to happen for me to realize a pay increase?

What has to happen for you to increase my pay?

What has to happen for the organization to realize I merit a pay increase and act accordingly?

Or variations thereof.

It's always about the framework. If you put it in those terms, it's called an assumptive close. The issue of whether a raise can happen is assumed; that merely leaves the question of HOW it will happen.

It also changes the request from a close-ended question (Yes/No to your raise request) to an open ended question (How/When/Give me the plan). Open ended questions are less confrontational and could put your supervisor into strategic planning mode vs You against Me mode.

And if your boss senses your tentativeness or weakness of will, your cause is lost. You're going to have to buck up. It isn't personal. It's business. Be friendly but business-like.

BTW, I negotiate salaries for a living. I know whereof I speak when it comes to money and negotiating. First one to blink loses.

You're welcome.

dats right its doggy-dog world


2011-05-10 7:27 AM
in reply to: #3490444

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
Renee - 2011-05-09 6:56 PM

One of my favorite intro's is "What has to happen ..."

What has to happen for me to realize a pay increase?

What has to happen for you to increase my pay?

What has to happen for the organization to realize I merit a pay increase and act accordingly?

Or variations thereof.

It's always about the framework. If you put it in those terms, it's called an assumptive close. The issue of whether a raise can happen is assumed; that merely leaves the question of HOW it will happen.

It also changes the request from a close-ended question (Yes/No to your raise request) to an open ended question (How/When/Give me the plan). Open ended questions are less confrontational and could put your supervisor into strategic planning mode vs You against Me mode.

And if your boss senses your tentativeness or weakness of will, your cause is lost. You're going to have to buck up. It isn't personal. It's business. Be friendly but business-like.

BTW, I negotiate salaries for a living. I know whereof I speak when it comes to money and negotiating. First one to blink loses.

You're welcome.



Great advice here.  Straight question putting the onus on the boss to state factually what has to happen.  Worse case is they say there is nothing you can do.  Just make sure you have data to show the boss that your already addressing the bosses response. 
2011-05-12 6:50 AM
in reply to: #3486576

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
So the meeting went down yesterday.

And I used Renee's line of "what will it take"

And while he didn't jump up and throw money at me....he agreed to evaluate my salary and look at an increase. We have another little meeting next week.

It was surprisingly civil...but then again he was not feeling well so I may have caught him off guard, lol.
2011-05-12 8:23 AM
in reply to: #3495020

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Subject: RE: Asking for a raise...
phoenixazul - 2011-05-12 7:50 AM So the meeting went down yesterday. And I used Renee's line of "what will it take" And while he didn't jump up and throw money at me....he agreed to evaluate my salary and look at an increase. We have another little meeting next week. It was surprisingly civil...but then again he was not feeling well so I may have caught him off guard, lol.
well you still have a job so dat tis bueno
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