Asking for a raise: What not to say

The time has come. You want more money and you want it now. But you wouldn’t be reading this if you thought that asking your boss was going to be easy. Here are a few quick tips to get ready for the big moment.

Since it is sometimes easy to learn from demonstrations of how NOT to do it, here are three examples:

1. “I have another offer with more money.” It depends on the culture of the company you work for, but this backfires as often as it works. Remember: You don’t want to take the risk unless you really do have an offer somewhere else — and hopefully, it’s a company that you like! Threats make bosses defensive. Defensive bosses aren’t happy bosses. Unhappy bosses tend not to be generous.

Top 10 reasons to make a budget and stick to it 293x300 Asking for a raise: What not to say

Asking for a raise: What not to say

2. “I need it, because I need to buy·” This can be a very moving, personal appeal. I once talked to a boss who felt so terrible about an employee’s need for more money that she loaned it to her personally (and ended up firing her later, after resentments kept layering on top of resentments.) Think about it, though. Would you like it if a guy said, “I need to make more money because I am the sole support of my family and Missy is pregnant again with our 15th child?” I didn’t think so. This is about what you are worth on the market, not how your employer can take care of your needs.

3. Bad Timing. Do yourself a favor and choose the right time to talk money with your boss. Do not walk into her office mid-afternoon when you know she hasn’t had a chance to eat and she got to the office late because the babysitter was late again and everyone in her house (probably including her) has the flu. The right timing means starting the conversation in a calm moment, months before, by agreeing on what she will need to see from you to rethink your compensation. Touch base along the way, so that when the time finally comes to iron out details, the two of you will already be in agreement about some kind of raise, and the only issue will be exactly how much.

What does work?
Get your facts together before you do anything else. Check out the Web for information on what your salary range is. Great sites is the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Know what your boss gets paid to do. Even if you don’t know what her exact deliverables are, you probably have a good sense of the targets she needs to hit. She needs to know how what you do makes it easier for her to reach her goals.

Make it a joint project. By talking to your boss in advance about how you can contribute more·and in doing so, be worth more·you get her on your side, instead of just across the table.

Subscribe Scroll to Top