What are you worth? Someone out there wants exactly what you’ve got!
What happens when you like your job but it just doesn’t pay enough? Well, sometimes there is nothing you can do, for example if you are in a profession where salaries are controlled, such as with public sector jobs. And some of you may have already tried bringing up the topic of salary raises without success (many countries are still in recession and salary stagnation). But there may be circumstances in which you can at least discuss salaries, if only to express your desire to stay on at the company, and your dissatisfaction with only one aspect of the job – your pay. This can be quite a positive message for your boss and also an indication that you know your worth and are not afraid to communicate it.
This post is not about the gender pay gap – that’s a whole other ongoing debate and the result may be beyond your control. I am more interested in what we can do today as individuals about our own pay, and about our own careers.
This post also assumes you are ready for a pay rise – you’ve been in the organisation beyond your probation period and you are meeting expectations. Negotiations outside of these parameters are likely to be pointless and do more damage than good.
I’m afraid none of these articles will guarantee a pay rise. There are no guarantees, but the tips that follow just ooze common sense and best practice and none of them will do you any harm. As they say, there’s nothing wrong with optimism as long as you don’t get your hopes up unrealistically. Above all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Many of us feel embarrassed to talk money. We are not supposed to be motivated by money – we are supposed to be the kind of people who come to work for the challenge, the comradeship and out of loyalty, like members of some kind of Utopian cooperative. But we have all been in positions where the cost of living is spiraling beyond our small or inexistent pay rise. So let’s look at some scenarios where it might be appropriate to raise the issue of pay, and how to go about it. Let’s start with not mentioning pay at all.
The indirect approach
In his article How To Get A Raise Without Asking For One https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-get-raise-without-asking-one-dr-travis-bradberry/ Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, takes the view that you don’t actually ask directly, but let your behaviour do all the work. These tips are all about proving that you “add value” to your role, and go above and beyond just turning up on time every day and meeting deadlines. When you do this, you stand out from the rest and place yourself firmly in the “candidate for promotion” category, which is a sure fire way of getting a pay rise. Or at least you pave the way for a positive pay rise discussion. By “acting up” a role, or exceeding expectations, you get yourself invited to the top table. Among other suggestions, the article recommends:
The direct approach – full-on negotiations
Online career resource site The Muse takes the more direct approach and gives you a whopping 37 tips in one article https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-negotiate-salary-37-tips-you-need-to-know. A whopping 37 tips! According to a survey by Salary.com http://www.salary.com/most-people-don-t-negotiate-due-to-fear-lack-of-skills/slide/2/ only 37% of people always negotiate their salaries while an astonishing 18% never do, and 44% of respondents claim to have never brought up the subject of a raise during their performance reviews, mostly out of fear. The article goes on to describe how a failure to negotiate salaries from the start of your career can lead to you working extra years compared to your negotiator colleagues to keep up with their career earnings. Scary, whatever gender or sector applies. Tips include:
Interested? More techniques for serious career-hackers
Finally, remember that if there is nothing you can do about your actual salary, there may be other benefits that could make your working life easier, happier or more useful to your career goals. That could be flexible hours, working from home, casual dress, office location, job title, a parking space, a chance at a new project or any other condition that you believe is worth fighting for. Work is where you spend most of your waking hours so don’t be afraid to express yourself if you feel better conditions could enable you to do your best work.
Before you go in for that pay rise meeting, warm up your smile muscles by looking at a “how not to” seminar from Michael Scott https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDwTMzyyMDk .
Next week, I’ll be looking at being perfect – and why trying to achieve perfection is holding you back. The internet has been full of stories this week of outrageous overtime worked all over the world in pursuit of perfection. What if it isn’t necessary?
Until next week!