The country is in a crisis, prices keep going up and the idea of asking for a raise seems fair, after all your current income is not enough even for everyday expenses. If your boss does not offer you a raise, you will have to start the difficult discussion yourself.
However, if you come simply complaining about the rising prices or that your salary is not enough or your other problems, you will get nothing but irritation. The boss has enough problems of their own; they don’t want to hear about yours.
Where do you start? By preparing.
Check out job search websites for salaries for your type of position. You may go to a few interviews and get a couple of actual offers, so you know for a fact how much you are worth right now on the job market. You may find out that you are overpaid and you cannot find such a salary elsewhere. Most likely, however, you will get an offer with a salary significantly higher than your current one.
It will be easier for you to talk bearing that number in mind. You will be able to negotiate from the position of a professional who knows what they’re worth as opposed to the position of a teenager nagging for allowance. If you have a “plan B” (to accept the offer for another job), your negotiating position is much stronger than if you don’t know what to do if you are denied the raise.
Now draw the Descartes Square and write down what happens if you take the new job offer and what happens if you stay with the old one without a raise. Write down what you lose in both cases as well.
Find a few dozen arguments and reasons for each version of events. Analyze the pros and cons.
You are now ready to negotiate.
You should not, however, begin by saying that you have an alternative job offer – this is usually perceived as blackmail.
It is much better to start with a question about what additional duties will help you earn the amount you want. You can say something like, “Mr. Walsh, I would like to make X dollars going forward, what do I need to do so you would be able to pay me that much?” Listen to your boss’s suggestions or give them a day or two to think about the different options.
Analyze your options using the Descartes Square again. If the boss’s suggestion suites you, take it. If not, in the second round of negotiations you can mention that you have been offered a similar job with a higher salary. It is best to refer to a third party, “I really care about our company and I would love nothing better than to work here all my life, but my spouse insists that I either ask for a raise or accept another offer because we need the money to send the kids to school.”
If you get a raise, congratulations! What if you don’t?
If the boss refuses to give you a raise, ask for their advice on what they would do in your place. This will help you keep on good terms with them, even if you make a choice that they don’t like. You may also get a good advice or find out the real reason you are denied a raise. Then find another intelligent person and tell them all the pros and cons; it may be that an independent approach will help you make a better decision.
It is not uncommon for someone to go to work for another company and come back after the trial period or in a few months for a much higher salary, because after unsuccessfully trying to hire a replacement the boss finally learns to offer an appropriate salary and value the work done.
That is why, even when you leave, you should try to keep on good terms with your boss and your colleagues: thank them for working with you, sympathize with them, admire them. Don’t slam the door behind you – it is quite realistic that you will be back.
May all your negotiations be a success!