Career Strategies: Fighting Money Squeeze Plays

Q.  At my annual review my boss said, that while my work was outstanding, I wouldn’t be getting a raise.  He said that others in the department needed “encouragement so they’d stay.”  He said he knew how loyal I am and since I’m near retirement anyway, what was the point in “throwing money my way?”  I couldn’t believe it!  If excellent word doesn’t merit a raise, what does?  He also said that, if I could come up with arguments he could use with his boss, he might be able to get me “a small increase.”

how to justify a pay raise

A.  You don’t say how old you are but it really doesn’t matter unless you plan to retire within three to six months.  If you aren’t planning to retire for two or more years you should definitely fight for an increase.  Remember, even this late in the game, the wages of loyalty is low pay.  If they think you won’t/can’t leave you will be paid less than someone who’s known to take calls from even C-list headhunters.  Of course it’s not fair.  It simply is.  Fight back.

1.  List all the ways you made/saved money for the organization in the past year.  Use dollar amounts.  Identify those that are estimates.  Let you boss dispute them if he likes.  He’ll get the point.

2.  Find out what the market rate is for your job.  Network this one and use data from trade and professional society salary surveys.  If you are underpaid indicate it.  What if you are over paid?  You still need to know.  You can always argue added value to the organization.

3.  Rehearse your pitch before you meet with your boss again.  Don’t let more than a day or two elapse before you schedule the meeting.

4.  If he argues that he could replace you with someone who’d do the job for less, don’t disagree.  Say, “That may be true, but how long would it take someone new to get up to speed?  I’m here and doing the job the way you want it done.”

5.  Update your resume.  If you have more than two years left to work, and your retirement is a 401-K, you can change jobs and get a raise, not to mention a signing bonus.  What are you waiting for?   Even if you don’t get a dime this time your boss is on notice that you have options including finding a new job.

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