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How to Ask for a Raise without Actually Asking
Almost every employee likes getting a raise. Not only is the extra money — and helps us keep pace with inflation — but it’s also a sign that we’re getting publicly recognized for the hard work we’ve put in. It’s a monetary reward that makes us feel as though we’re actually valued in the company, and gives us an incentive to keep trying hard. But when the subject of when to ask for a raise comes up, we suddenly turn into the quietest, shyest people on the floor. Here’s how to get around that and get what you know you deserve.

Do an Honest Self-Evaluation of What You’re Actually Worth

This is often the hardest part of “asking” for a raise, as it requires you to take a deep, long, honest look at yourself, and sometimes the answer isn’t what you’re looking for. The first thing you should do is head to salary.com or vault.com to find out what people in your position make, and then ask yourself the following questions:


  • How often am I early or on-time for work?
  • How often does my manager have to tell me to finish a report or task?
  • Did I need more, less or the same training as other people in my position?
  • How many times each week or each month do I say “yes” or “no” to extra projects?
  • Is my workload ever decreased and given to other people?

    Figure out if There’s Actually Money for a Raise

    If you work at a really big company with healthy quarterly earnings (e.g. Walmart), then you know there’s room in the budget for a raise. But if you’re working at a smaller company, like an upstart, you may have to hold off for a bit. It’s not necessarily that you and your work is valued, but it’s just a matter of timing. See if you can angle towards something else that’s as good, like company shares, extra vacation time, or a higher title.

    If that’s not the case, then you need to come up with a fair number you know will be accepted. A common amount is 5-10%, depending on your worth, the company’s worth, and how long you’ve been there. It also gives you wiggle room to negotiate on a final figure instead of having your offer flat-out rejected.

    Work Like You’re Constantly Being Evaluated

    It’s easy to lapse into complacency after you’ve been doing the same job for a while, but don’t give into the temptation (even if others are sliding). The only thing it’ll accomplish is a shake of your manager’s head, and that will take a lot more extra work to remove than if you just maintained the same high standard. Plus, if you’re consistently the hardest-working one in the office, it’ll be impossible for someone high up to ignore your efforts; if that happens, you’ll get headhunted to a company that will appreciate what you can provide.

    Decide if Your Future Really is at Company X

    If, after all these tips, you’ve come to the hard truth that you’re not going to get a raise from your manager, you have to ask yourself if you’re going to continue working for the same salary or find forward growth elsewhere. It’s a tough decision because it’s always easier to stay on the same path instead of forging a new one, but stuck is stuck. Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to and that's just life. It may not be anyone’s fault that you can’t get a raise but at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for yourself.


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