Question: I work in a medium-sized advertising agency outside of Chicago. The last two years my raises have been only 2%. I’m supposed to be learning what this year’s raise will be, and I don’t expect much. Any suggestions if it happens again? Should I quit? (By the way, like your blog.)
Martha, Chicago, Illinois
Answer: Martha, you’ve got two choices: either let it happen again, or make happen what you want to happen this time. If you just “let it happen,” chances are you’ll do no better than last year, and maybe even worse. To “make it happen” the way you want, you’ve got to put in the effort. No one will “make it happen” for you if you don’t do it yourself.
Make a list of the important things you do for your boss, and the valuable skills, traits or attitude you have that enable you to do them. It might be that you are the person who always comes in Saturdays if needed, or you are the person who keeps the clients updated on their projects, etc. You may be the only person in the office who is skilled at the presentation software. The idea: to remind your boss that you are worth saving, and worth investing in. It’s like selling anything: this time, though, it’s selling your value.
Prepare a memo to your boss. Remind him or her of your “unique human capital,” and tell him or her what raise you’d like – and expect – this year. So long as it’s respectful, reasonable, and has a positive rationale – what will help you maintain your good efforts – there really is no downside. After sending it to him or her, ask for a brief meeting to ensure the two of you are on the “same track.”
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That’s negotiating for yourself at work at its simplest, and its best.
Best, Al Sklover
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If you decide to resign, do it wisely, strategically, and with forethought. We offer Model Memos, Letters and our 100-Point Pre-Resignation Checklist. To see a complete list, just [click here]. All of our Model Memos, Letters and Checklists are Delivered by Email – Instantly!