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5 guidelines for asking employer for a raise

There was quite a buzz when the Microsoft CEO suggested that karma will reward women who don’t ask for raises. Appropriately chastised, he apologized and national attention moved on.

But for many workers — men and women — asking for a raise remains the sticky wicket. Making the request is tough for any worker who has realistic understanding of the economy and their employers’ finances.

In a time of generally stagnant wages and continued fears of job loss, few employees dare to make rash demands. Yet many honestly deserve more pay. Here’s how to request it:

Time the appeal correctly. Know when your workplace’s budgets are drawn up for next year and put your bid in a couple of months before they’re inked. Alternatively, time your request to align with when you’ve assumed more duties or received a promotion that was offered in name only.

Know the market. You must be realistic in your request. What is the pay range for people who do your job — inside and outside your company? Consider regional price differences. Use online resources and personal conversations to get the information.

Prepare your reasoning. Be ready to cite specifics about why you deserve a raise. Don’t rely on “just because I haven’t had one in a long time.”

Make a list of examples showing how you’ve exceeded expectations, taken on more responsibility, done things that made or saved your employer money.

Be calm. Approach the appropriate manager at a time when both of you have time to talk privately and at some length.

Avoid yelling, crying or other strong emotion. Just state the facts.

Accept the outcome. Sometimes you simply won’t win. If you can’t accept the rejection, start a quiet job search. If you can wait until later to ask again, try to focus on keeping your morale up in the meantime.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to [email protected]. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and twitter.com/kcstarstafford.


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