When To Ask For A Raise


you should learn to tell the future, without reading palms

-styles p. - 24 hours to live

Timing is everything.

Over dinner one night, a friend of mine who's a department head, explained that one of her subordinates had the audacity to ask for a raise. She proceeded on a rant that ended in HOW SWAY?! This got me thinking, when is the right time to ask for a raise and how do you do it?

I get it, everybody wants more money. Even when you have " enough" you can probably name 10 things you'd do with more so it's only natural to want to seize the opportunity to ask for a raise but before you do, self analysis is imperative. A sweeping judgement like, "I'm a good worker. I do what I'm supposed to." is simply not enough.

Go deeper.

How often are you late? How often are you out sick? How long are those lunches you're taking? Did you have 2 too many at the holiday party? Haven't committed any egregious fouls? AWESOME!

Go deeper still.

Are you exceeding expectations or simply meeting them? Have you proven to be a valuable member of the team?  Are you a pleasure to work with or simply tolerable? Still in good standing here? Great!

Here's where things get a bit tricky, TIMING. 

If your company is in the middle of an RFP year, there are talks of mergers or an acquisition, changes in management, or the industry as a whole has taken a hit, hold off and wait for the dust to settle. Asking for more while the company is in flux will not be respected or appreciated. Even if your job is saved through a shift, you'll be seen self-serving and not a team player which defeats the purpose. 

If your company is riding a good wave and all of your ducks are in a row, arrange a meeting with your manager and have a clear objective. Be prepared to discuss exactly what it is you've done to improve the business and the work environment. Include specific details. Understand that if you have any blind spots, your employer will bring them up here, without question. If presented with them, be pleasant and solution oriented. The worst thing to do here is to be defensive. 

Understand that even if you don't get what you're asking for right away [more than often, if you don't get a YES, you'll get a maybe later), you're now being watched and evaluated more closely. Continue to shine and when the time comes back around, you're far less likely to be passed up again. Being excellent creates the opportunity for promotion. Lead with the work and it'll be that much easier to get the raise you're looking for.

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