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Do I have to ask for a raise?

What an awful thought—asking for a raise. How many times have we had to do it—and how many times have we hated the experience. The idea of asking our boss to give us more money frightens us to the core. But it should not—it does not have to be this way. Forget the overnight worry, the sweaty palms, and the slight stammer getting started. Here are some good ideas to calm down the fears of asking for raises, and possibly set you on a tension-free system of salary increases.

  1. Your best insurance against having to ask for raises is to insist that the subject be addressed and spelled out in the Offer of Employment—while you are interviewing for the position. Then, when you receive your offer document, read it carefully. Periodic raises can be defined and detailed in the initial Offer of Employment. So can a salary review after a pre-determined period, normally 6 months—which can lead to a salary increase. If the subject of raises is not covered in your offer document, as you consider accepting the offer, suggest that raise periods and increments be added to the offer language.
  2. If the subject of raises was not handled prior to your employment, in writing, you should sit down with your new boss as soon as you are comfortable in your new job—and let him know that you desire to advance in your position, and increase your value to the company. And, with this advancement, obviously you will expect salary increases. Assure him you would like to count on him to guide you on what you will need to do to get salary increases—and the time involved in each increment.  You should leave that meeting with some clear goals and timelines you can work towards. Plus, you’ll have your boss’ support along your road of achievement, your increased value to the company, and the pay raises you deserve.
  3. However, if some time has elapsed, and no raise discussion has come to pass—and you even begin to feel you are not being paid enough, you must initiate a meeting with your boss to address the situation. You will not get a raise without it.
  4. Here in very simple terms is how that meeting could proceed:
    • Mention your performance successes—preferably including successful projects you and employer have worked on together. Show how you have saved company money—and list amounts.
    • Having looked up your position on Payscale or Glassdoor, or checking trade association sources to determine what your position is paying—mention the discrepancy.
    • Frequently during the conversation, ask his help in securing a “salary adjustment”.  The word “raise” can imply you are asking for something extra—while “salary adjustment” emphasizes that your salary is not on a par with the market value for the position.

Do not despair if things don’t go as smoothly as you had planned. A raise in salary can involve a series of conversations over a few months. But do try to learn why a raise is not possible right now—and what you can do to improve your performance— and if there is a chance for a raise in the future. If you come to believe there is no way your company can afford to give you the pay you deserve, it is time to start looking for a new job!

Philip Kemper is Founder/President of Kemper Associates, a 38 year old Chicago-based national executive search firm, specializing in Permanent and Contract staffing for Trade Shows and Exhibits, Staging and Equipment Rental, Business Meetings and Events Production, Video, Training and Incentives and more .His more complete bio is on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/philip-kemper/2/795/308/. You may view Kemper Associates’ web site at: www.Kemperassociates.org, and contact Phil with questions or comments, and employment needs at: Kemperassoc@hotmail.com, or his private phone line: (312) 944-6551.



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