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Shit people say when they ask for a raise

ask for a raise

Think before you ask for a raise

The shit people say when they ask for a raise

Everyone has a horror story from his or her industry. If you are a waiter, you have had the diner from hell. A demanding customer that left no tip. Work for the airline? Oy vey. If you were Santa your story is probably about the little crumb snatcher that had the crap scared out of him, literally when little Johnny took a seat in Santa’s lap.

Every industry has their horror stories. For HR people, horror stories fall into a couple of different categories. The shit people say in interviews comes to mind. The other category that is HR water cooler fodder is the shit you hear when folks ask for a raise.

Tenure doesn’t mean doo-doo

Raises are not given because you have been with a company for a certain number of years. They are not given because of a single completed project. Raises are given because you are bringing more value to the company. Tenure with a company gives you the POTENTIAL of bringing more value to the company because you have had more time to learn and master the specific skills your company needs. Time doesn’t mean you are owed anything.

Most managers want to give a raise to someone because of the value they bring day in and day out. The following are the reasons they will NOT give you a raise and is the shit we hear when employees ask for a raise.

“My significant other said I should be making X amount of dollars.”

You would be surprised how many times I have heard this when employees ask for a raise. When I hear this self-proclaimed logic, I hear a number of things and am thinking a whole lot more. What I didn’t hear is why you deserve a raise. I may be a complete asshole here, but if someone mentions their significant-other in this discussion, I am going to think even less of them. Who are you working for? Are you reporting to your manager at Acme Publishing or your future Ex? Who is judging the quality of your work at Acme Publishing? Just because your significant-other sees that the Jones across the street bought a new Lexus does NOT concern Acme Publishing.

“Joey comes in late every day and he told me he makes 5K more than I do.”   

OMG!  Did I just learn that you two children are talking about your salaries? There are so many things wrong with this conversation I don’t know where to start, but I won’t let that stop me. No two significant others are equal and no two employees are equal. Even if you are doing the same job, in the same department, HR will rarely see two employees EXACTLY equal.  You have no insight into what is going on behind the scenes with Joey’s career. You don’t know what circumstances Joey is REALLY working under.  You don’t even know if Joey is telling you the truth. If someone doing the same job as you told you they were making X, there are not too many circumstances where you will admit to making less. I know what Joey makes and unfortunately, I cannot confirm or deny it to you, but 9 times out of 10 in this situation, he has inflated his number. Most people won’t tell others they are making less than someone else doing the same job. I see the numbers and I hear the stories. Most people inflate their salary because they don’t think that anyone would be so dumb as to tell his or her manager about this conversation. Anytime two people talk about salary, someone is going to walk away hurt. You don’t want to walk away hurt and you don’t want to hurt someone else.

My friend works at the company down the street and he gets a raise every year. I haven’t had a raise in three years

Yes, I have heard this, I really have. Don’t worry that the company down the street is in a different industry, a different size, and your friend does a completely different job. (all three were the case) Just because another company does something, doesn’t mean it is feasible for another company.  If you haven’t had a raise in three years, there could be any number of reasons, but if you are using this logic, well. . . . .

“I just did X, Y, and Z.  I deserve a raise”

If you are looking for that upcoming opportunity, find out what it takes to make your it happen. Ask what it take. Explain that you will show them your value through a number of different skill sets that will be used to complete the UPCOMING projects “X, Y, and Z”.  If they don’t agree that these projects demonstrate proficiency with additional skill sets that make you worth a raise, pin down what will. Make the deal beforehand.

Remember, a raise is for the VALUE you bring to the company’s bottom line. If you are saving more money than you did when you first started the company can start to justify a raise. If you are bringing in more money than when you first started, the company can start to justify a raise. I don’t know too many companies that can justify a raise just for “showing up”.

Present your case when you ask for a raise as you would propose any new idea. Present it from a business perspective. We might human, but to the business, we are just a commodity providing an ROI. In this economy it is tough, but most companies won’t be able to justify a raise until you are producing more or saving more. Produce the exact same level of output as you did the prior year, and you will be paid what you were last year. If we were producing 10 widgets an hour last year, and are producing 10 widgets an hour this year, then we are not worth more to the company.

Professional athletes are a great example of a return on investment to a team/company. Athlete salaries are public and you know what everyone is making. Remember our two significant others from above?  No two SO’s are equal and no two employees are equal.  When was the last time you heard of two pro athletes in the same position getting the exact same contract?  Yes, the numbers are obscene, but the bottom line is that if you don’t produce, you don’t play. If lackluster performance continues, you lose your contract. Forget the marquee players right out of college for just a moment. Ninety-eight percent of the rookie players will receive a relatively decent salary out of college, and then on their second contract receive more money. They receive more because they have more experience and are bringing more to the team.  They are scoring more, blocking more, assisting more. They are bringing more value to the team. The points they put on the board, yards gained, assists or interceptions are all indicators of performance.  As the athlete gets older, he or she starts to produce less for the team. They may have been with a team for 10 plus years and have a rabid fan base, but if they don’t produce, they will get cut. It isn’t about tenure. Tenure gives you the opportunity to develop the skills that will help your particular company.

Next time you are going to ask for a raise, think it through from the business perspective, and you won’t be water cooler fodder.

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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