I used to be absolutely terrible at negotating. My first attempt at asking for more money was during a hiring process as I had just gotten a job offer.
It’s so embarrassing to think about. I might have asked myself to leave right there. I remember saying “If I only make X amount of money, then when I leave for my next job I won’t be able to make as much.”
Yes. I did that.
Fortunately my future boss understood that I was an idiot, and gave me the benefit of the doubt, and hired me anyway.
I’ve gotten a little better over time. The best lesson in asking for anything is to frame that request as a benefit to the person you are asking.
How does what you’re asking for help that person, or organization? That’s what will ultimately get people to listen, not your own self-interests.
Still, countless people still believe that they should get raises for reasons other than those that actually matter. Here are three reasons your boss will absolutely never give you a raise, and what to do instead.
Because you’ve worked there for X number of years
Time elasped does not make you more valuble to your company, yet it’s one of the main reasons people ask for more money. Just because 3 years have passed since your last pay raise doesn’t meant you deserve one.
If a company set expectations like that they would never see any increase in value of their employees over time.
Because your kid just got braces
I’m using braces as a metaphor here. Because your personal financial situation has changed and you now need more money, is no reason for your company to give you a raise. This is the same no matter what the situation is.
Again, if companies gave their employees a raise every time their employees needed more money, that would be an endless cycle of irresponsible spending on both parts. That’s not a recipe for success.
Because your co-worker makes more than you do
This is a huge irrationality that people have. They start to compare things like tenure and salary, when this has no bearing at all.
Every single employee is different. The contributions they make are different. The skills they have are different. The value they have is completely different.
The only way this comparison can be accurate is if you’re comparing two employees with the exact same tenure, position, skill set and level of education, and that rarely exists.
Reasons People Do Actually Get a Raise
The bottom line here is… don’t look at other people when you’re looking for a salary increase. Look at yourself and the contributions you are making because that’s what matters.
That’s what you’ll notice about the three reasons below. They’re all focused on the value of the employee, nothing else.
That you have grown professionally since your last evaluation
Have you gotten a certification, taken professional courses, gained valuable skills, gotten an additional degree, or anything else that increases your potential ability to contribute to your company?
If so, you’re now able to provide more output, and that means you’re contributing at a higher level. If you’re using these skills to contribute more value you might be due for a compension increase.
Be sure to keep good documentation of how you have progressed. This will come in handy during a salary discussion.
That you’ve taken on additional responsibilties
Are you leading a new team? Are you managing more projects or employees than you previously were? Are you doing more high value tasks than you previously were?
If so, again, you’re contributing to your company at a higher level, and this is a great reason that your boss might give you a salary increase.
Again, make sure you have this documented so you have easily present it during a salary discussion.
That you’re helping others increase their skills
One of the best types of employees is someone who doesn’t only increase their own skills, but also spreads that knowledge and raises everyone else up around them.
This type of thing can be done through leading by example, by working with your training department to create resources, or by doing one-on-one trainings with people that would like to learn the skills that you possess.
The overarching theme here is that for you to get a salary increase, something has to change with YOU interally and the value you provide to your company. That’s ultimately your golden ticket.