How I Earned Two 20% Raises Before the Age of 25
Characteristics of responsibility are drilled into students beginning day one, throughout post-secondary, and onward. The following tasks beaten overhead are a good starting point and general guideline, not a golden rule: “Work hard, do your best, meet deadlines, show up on time (which means ten minutes early), don’t slip out early, etc.” This ethic is said to lead to reward. Reward being higher grades, to get into reputable post-secondary institutions, to get better jobs, to make parents proud, to then move out, start a family, and be successful. Repeat for generations.
Popular societal long term goals with a strict timeline are a vague guide open for interpretation or rejection. Success can be defined differently by individuals at separate times in various contexts. Ask yourself — What does success mean to me? If I was successful, what would that look like? Then ask yourself how you want to get there.
This vision may likely relate to money. Making money often takes time. As a child, I understood that adults generally work 9–5 on weekdays and enjoy weekends off. So, if working is going to consume 5 out of 7 days per week for the majority of life after years of legally mandatory education — damn right, I want to enjoy what I do.
In defining my goals, I figured out how to achieve them in small decisions over time. Fast-forward to the two year anniversary of Marketing Director with a company. This is how I earned two significant pay increases within a two-year span before the age of 25.
Typing that feels like such a flex and honestly, it is. I’m flexing hard. I’m super proud of myself as a strong confident young female millennial conquering a relatively new industry surpassing expectations and achieving milestones.
Now with that background information being said, let’s talk money.
Know Your Value
Firstly, schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss expectations and protocol. I did this at about eight months into my employment with the company. I expressed interest in discussing adjustment to my current compensation. My manager stated employee reviews occur annually, and strongly advised that I wait until my one year anniversary with the company. So, I continue to prove myself through my work as usual.
After the one year mark, I once again expressed interest in scheduling an employee review to my manager. Persistence is key. Ask your manager how you should prepare for the meeting and what you can bring to the employee review.
Listen — I don’t care if you think you’re not motivated by money, or you’re too scared to ask for a raise, or you’ve never heard of your friends or role models doing it before. You do not know the outcome of such initiative until you show yourself and your employer your worth. Want a peptalk? Here.
You are a uniquely valuable asset to your employer and the company. You are an important member of the team. You fill your role in a way to exceed expectations. You have qualifications, skills, previous achievements, and approaching potential.
You may not always feel that way especially when mistakes are made, and that’s okay. In those moments, remind yourself. Come up with a mantra and save it in your phone if that helps. If you don’t believe you are worthy of greatness and know you are valuable to your employer — find a way because this mindset is crucial every step of the way.
Define Your Worth
Once you see yourself as a valuable employee and want to earn more money, you must evaluate your worth. Start by researching current salaries in your industry at various levels of experience. This can be done by either asking acquaintances, messaging professionals, or reviewing online resources and survey results.
Using job search sites (Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor) can serve as an accurate way to grasp compensation scales. Search keywords relating to your position, adjust the location and enter a minimum salary. Play around with different keywords and locations.
Keep track of your data as you figure out where your position currently falls. Save job postings that align with your responsibilities and advertise higher pay than your current compensation. This will come in handy, so be sure to download the listing to your device since the job posting is likely to be removed.
Another tool that is helpful when comparing compensation is Neuvoo. This website shows information about compensation, deductions, tax rates, etc. They also have a basic calculator to convert salary to biweekly pay, hourly pay, and so on. Use this to at least gain a vague understanding of what your current and goal salary looks like annually, and hourly.
Now that you are knowledgeable regarding industry standards in your area and where you believe fit on the scale, identify exactly what you want to receive from the upcoming meeting.
Present Your Ask
Prepare mentally. Dress confidently. Approach friendly. Converse assertively. Remain professional. Business as usual.
When you have the opportunity to speak during the meeting, start by presenting a brief timeline of your accomplishments since you were hired or since your previous employee review. It is more than okay to brag about yourself and portray your value to the company in your highlight reel. Refresh your employer (and yourself) on the amazing work you’ve done. Toot toot!
Present a smidge of your knowledge regarding standard pay in the industry and how the position relates to the examples of relevant specific job posts. Present an exact amount that you are asking for based on your value. Make that the last statement of your pitch. Execute it concisely, clearly and confidently, and then do not speak.
At this point, the ball is in the employer's court and it is up to them to respond professionally. They may blabber on about the economy or reach to pull back the power. Strategize in advance to prepare respectful rebuttals to anticipated backlash when the opportunity is presented. The meeting will likely soon come to an end as your employer comes to a conclusive response.
Well done. You work very hard and demonstrate motivation and determination through your capabilities and potential. Be proud. Take a breath. Celebrate your accomplishment.
During your following shift, adjust your focus to work towards your potential and sore to the next level up.