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joni1977's avatar

What's a clever way to ask for a raise without threatening to quit - again?

Asked by joni1977 (822points) December 5th, 2008

I do damn good work at my job and I know – not think – that I deserve a raise. To get one before, I had to threaten to quit. Which worked because no one else would be stupid enough to do my job for such an insulting salary and there is no way a single mother like me can survive on my salary alone during this recession. Thank goodness I have other income, but that’s besides the point. I do most of the payroll and billing, so I know me getting a raise wouldn’t bankrupt the company. So how do I ask, without putting my position at jeopardy?

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12 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Money talks. And by that, I mean, document the ways you’ve saved time or money for the company by finding efficiencies or ways to do things better/smarter/faster. Unfortunately, doing good work or not making enough money to meet your bills is not a reason to get a raise. How is your presence in the company beneficial to the well-being of the company?

augustlan's avatar

Alfreda makes some great points. You may also want to carefully consider the timing of your request. While it may not ‘bankrupt’ your company, the economic environment is so uncertain right now that your company may not wish to make any extra expenditures until things settle down.

joni1977's avatar

@Alfreda: Before I came along the director did everything by herself. Not only have I taken on most of the responsibility, but I also take initiative and yes I do things better/smarter/faster. The director is a penny pincher stuck in a time warp. I brought new ideas, technology and some stability to the company. Of course, I have put much thought into my request because I know the timing may not be right @ Augustlan. But I also feel that I’ve been patient long enough. Should I give it more time?

Jeruba's avatar

I think the verge-of-panic times have to be taken into consideration, as Augustlan suggests. You may suddenly look like a liability. Also Alfreda is wise to recommend documentation and weighting your request in real dollars.

I do have another suggestion. In your place I would first explore whether there are some creative ways that you could increase your gain without costing the company additional actual dollars. For example, can you cut your hours a little (and reduce your babysitting costs) at the same rate of pay? Can you add a couple of weeks to your PTO allotment or arrange to take off school in-service days and holidays when you would normally pay extra for child care? Can you make use (with permission) of some company resources that are already expensed and save something that would normally be out of pocket for you, such as a company car or travel miles? Can you get the company to supply you with a laptop and a dialup line or VPN connection so you can work at home during after-school hours? Do vendors or suppliers give the company premiums or vouchers of some sort that you could put to personal use? If you work in the financial side, you can probably think of a number of ways that would cost the company no additional cash outlay but represent a real material gain to you. Your boss might go for that in a big way if you make the advantages clear.

cak's avatar

Here is part of the problem. Right now, there are people that will take a job for lower than normal pay – and that just might work against you.

I learned something, very interesting, a long time ago. If you find a well-qualified applicant for a job, that will work for less than normal pay for the position and you decide to hire them, those pay raises tend to be far and few in between. Why? Because the applicant sets the tone of pay level, when they accept at a low pay base. That being said, it doesn’t mean that the worker should go without merit or cost of living increases. (a lot of companies have phased out cost of living raises.) It does mean that you’ve proven you will do the work of one, two or three workers, for the price of one.

I would advise getting everything together – outline what you do – what your position is and what you are doing above and beyond your position. The advice above me, is great. A combination of the above is the way to go. Also, try to never use the “I’ll quit” ultimatum. While it worked the first time, doing it again, probably will be the end of the road for you.

Consider showing her what kind of increase you think you deserve. Remember, though, if your boss considers looking that over, she probably (if she does give you a raise) will counter.

It’s time to be reasonable and levelheaded. I know it’s tough. I was making it on 10.00 and hour, as a receptionist and moonlighting in the dining room of a country club – before I was promoted to a much higher position. I’m like you though, I look for opportunities and look for ways to move forward. Raising a daughter on that…it was tight, to say the least.

Good luck!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

joni, then there’s your analysis and your case. Take what you’ve done since the last raise, and assign cost savings to those improvements. For example, if you put new software in that made reporting faster, then estimate the number of hours saved, and assign a dollar amount to the savings. There are 2000 FTE (full time employee) hours in a year, and if you changed software and are able to do something in less time, freeing yourself up to do more or different work, then you’ve saved the company money. Doing a CBA on your work is a great way to update your resume.

basp's avatar

Just seems to me that with the economy the way it us, asking fir a raise is risky. There are plenty of unemploed people they could hire that would be thankful for the job regardless of the pay rate.
I think you ought to try for other perks that might save you money, but not necessarily cost the business too much. Perhaps you can do some if your work from home. Or maybe work four tens so you can benefit from an extra whole day off.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@joni, how profitable is the business? And what is the sutainability?

I’ve noticed that a lot of the companies that are closing, are closing for reasons that have nothing to do with the economy. A lot of it has to do with market saturation. Circuit City, for example, fired a lot of their associates a few years ago and replaced them with people at $2 an hour less, and got higher staff turnover. They also started charging customers for returning products for any reason if the box had been opened. This is the aftermath of Best Buys moving into markets in proximity, with better inventory, better pricing. Also, Linens and Things, matched stores with Bed, Bath, & Beyond. How many household goods stores do we need in proximity of each other? A lot of problems are due to the business model. Things like offshore customer service, stocking practices, etc. affect how profitable businesses are, and impact margins.

In 2006, the top 36 members of management shared $13 million in salaries. In 2007, Ford paid Mulally $28 million for 17 days of work. Ford’s stock closed at $2.82, Honda closed at $18.44.

If you look back in US financial history, we tend to come back from economic distress with system improvements, and profitability.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s today’s headlines in NYT. Details available from any news source.

I would say, “Wait.”

U.S. Loses 533,000 Jobs in November; Joblessness at 6.7%

joni1977's avatar

Thank you all for your answers and suggestions. They will definitely be taken into consideration. I work for a non-prof agency that houses homeless military veterans and so far (and just because of the cause alone), we are going quite well due to very generous donations. The only good thing is my boss has expressed on several occasions that she could not function without me. But I won’t be ignorant, I know this isn’t the best time to issue an ultimatun which is why I needed help with a more professional and clever way to ask. Despite my issue, I like my job and I like what I do and because of the the declining job rates, I will definitely think rationally before making any sudden decisions.

jca's avatar

no matter what the boss says, remember anybody is replaceable.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

No one is irreplaceable, and donations will most likely be down, as will government funding.

I just got a e-mail from a friend who took a year off from work for personal reasons and is trying to get back into the workforce through temping. She’s a bookkeeper for small businesses. She said the temp agency told her good luck. She has 25 people for every opening, and many of them are CPAs or MBAs.

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