The Right way to ask your Boss for a Raise

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We don’t get paid for time, we get paid for value

Why You Should be Asking for a Raise

There are two reasons you should be asking for a raise this year.

  1. The income from your job is the driving force that allows you to pay the bills and build wealth
  2. If you don’t advocate on your behalf, nobody else will

When you ask someone what the largest asset they own, they will probably say their house. I am suggesting to you that the largest and most important financial asset you’ll ever have is your career.

The income you get from your job is the foundation for your wealth. If you think your house is your largest asset, consider what will happen to your house if you were to stop releasing paychecks. Most likely it would get taken away.

Your job allows you to pay the mortgage, buy the groceries, go on vacation, cover every other expense you have in life and save any money that’s leftover to build your long-term wealth.

If your lucky enough to have a defined benefit pension or 401k, your job also allows you to save and plan for retirement. Does your house do any of that for you?

The more money we can make from our job, the more money we can save and invest to build our wealth. It’s critical that we treat our careers as the most important investment in our life because it is.

That means we need to do everything we can to ensure we are maxing out our income potential from our jobs. Ask yourself this, if you are not directly advocating on behalf of yourself as to why you deserve a raise this year who else will?

Nobody.

We need to be our own advocates.

The Wrong way to ask for a Raise

Do not simply walk into your bosses office and demand a raise. You don’t want your boss to feel like they are being blindsided with your request.

A lot of people demand raises on the grounds that they “deserve it”. Unfortunately, deserving a raise and earning a raise are two different things. We all work hard and feel we deserve more money than we make right now. Sadly, we don’t live in a world where we get what we deserve. We live in a world where we get what we can negotiate.

Simply walking into your boss’s office and demanding a 10% raise without backing up both why you are asking for 10% specifically and why your boss should grant you this raise is a sure-fire way to not get your raise and piss your boss off in the process.

The Right way to ask for a Raise

We all need to remember a fundamental truth about why our employers pay us any money at all. We don’t get paid for time, we get paid for value.

We don’t get paid for our time. If we did, work would simply be an exercise of walking into the office sitting down and staring at the wall for eight hours.

We get paid for value. Specifically, we get paid for the value we add to our employers. If we did not provide any value to our employer, why would they pay us anything at all?

If you want your employer to pay you more money than you currently make, the value you bring to your organization must exceed your current salary.

You also need to make sure your employer is aware of the value you bring. We’ve all heard the saying “if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. That same logic applies to your career. “If you are adding tremendous value at work, and you’re the only one who knows it, does it even register with your boss?”

You don’t need to go to your boss and tell them about every time you’ve done something great. Nobody likes a suck-up.

Personally, I keep a daily log of everything I do to add value to my organization. There are many ways I add value to my organization and I make sure I document it all.

Whether it’s adding more revenue to the organization, finding ways to cut costs, providing exceptional customer service, helping a co-worker with a problem, cleaning out the staff kitchen, taking a work call after hours or on the weekend, there is an opportunity to add value to your organization in almost every interaction throughout the day.

Start writing down every single thing you do that demonstrates the value you bring and turn it into a formal report. The next time your boss schedules a performance review, send them that report in advance of the meeting and let her know that you would like to discuss the report during the performance review.

If your boss is worth their weight, they will have read the report in advance of the meeting. If done properly, this report should make it clear that your current salary is the best deal in town when compared to the value you bring to the organization.

If you can accomplish that task, it’s much easier to refer to the report and make the argument that based off your performance over the last year you feel it would be reasonable to expect a raise this year.

If you can demonstrate that your value far exceeds your salary and your boss refuses to entertain the possibility of a raise this year, that is a signal that your employer does not fully appreciate your value and perhaps it’s time to start looking for a job where your value will be recognized.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.