We usually look to our personal lives when we’re thinking of ways to save money, but it rarely occurs to us to look to the most logical place to earn more money…your job.
I’d imagine, that for most of us, our day jobs are our main earners, and provide us the cash to pay for our homes, pay our bills and buy other essentials like replica Harry Potter wands. However, when you end up with too much month at the end of your paycheck, we automatically look to decrease our spending, rather than increase our earning.
As stiff upper lipped Britain’s, we’ve always been taught that discussing money is a taboo subject; what you earn and spend is your business, so it’s a conversation that we tend to avoid. But the fact is asking for a pay raise is an important step in defining your professional self.
But the fact of the matter is that, asking for a raise is a tricky subject and there’s certain questions you need to ask yourself and do first….
Do you deserve a raise?
We’d all like more money, but in all honesty do you deserve to make more money? How hard do you work, do you just coast by or do you go above and beyond what’s expected of you? If you’re in a performance based role, are you hitting your goals and targets? What was your last performance review like?
How long have you been in the role?
Generally speaking, asking for a raise while you’re still in the first year of employment is jumping the gun a bit. You’re still proving yourself and you need to put in the time as a team player. You need to show that you respect your superiors and understand how things work. Asking for a raise too soon comes across as arrogant and selfish.
What’s you value
Do some research. What’s the average salary for your position, what are other companies offering for a similar position? You’ll figure out if you truly deserve a raise or if it’s just wishful thinking.
It’s also worth researching your companies pay structure, since you may be due an incremental rise.
How is the company performing?
Again, this is mostly to do with timing. Is the company prospering, is it stable or is it under going change?
A couple of months ago, my Mum’s employer were undergoing a merger, so even though she was working massive hours and above her role, it would have been a terrible decision to ask for a raise, even if she did deserve it.
What’s stated in your job description?
Make sure you consult with your job description. This will confirm whether or not you’re working above and beyond your expected responsibilities and arm you in your discussion.
A few years ago I was working for Bolton College. I’d been there two years in their marketing department and was enjoying my job. I’d been gradually taking on more and more responsibility and coordinating my own campaigns, with responsibility for one of the learning sectors. My boss had also learned of my design experience shortly after I joined in 2008, and as such I was also acting as an internal graphic designer. At this point in 2010, the graphic design part of my job had taken up over half of my time and my boss felt I deserved a promotion and went for bat with me with his boss. It was unsuccessful, mainly due to a part of my job description. I can’t remember what it was, but it was a very vague, catch all statement which meant that all the work I was doing was actually within my job description.
Shortly afterward I was offered a job with a design agency. It was more money and working in an industry I wanted to work in, so I took it. In hindsight it was a bad decision. But given that public spending was cut shortly afterward, the likelihood of me being made redundant was strong. We learn.
Hopefully, that account gives you some idea of what’s appropriate in your situation. I should have checked my job description more carefully and been more aware of the college’s financial situation (the economy was bad and it had spent £80million on a new campus which I had spent two years promoting). I was a little arrogant; I was getting great feedback from my work and because I was saving the college money on graphic design I over estimated my value.
- Schedule the meeting. Don’t just pop the question in the corridor.
- Remain positive, enthusiastic and as selfless as possible
- Prepare evidence – sales figures, work etc.
- Don’t make threats…obviously
- Don’t be arrogant
- State your case professionally
- Be specific about what you want
- Be patient
- Don’t bring up personal issues….your boss doesn’t want to hear about it.
- And don’t appear desperate
The good folk over at Payscale.com have knocked up a cheeky little Infographic/flow chart to help you make the decision of whether to have the tough conversation about your salary.