There are a lot of great how-to articles out there on how to get a raise. The ones that come up towards the top of your search engine results are giving you all the right advice. Want a raise? Follow the advice!
So, if it’s so simple, why do so few of us make asking for a raise a standard part of our work lives? I believe it’s because many of us have doubts that keep us from following even the best how-to articles. This article is about psyching yourself out to actually take the recommended actions. Why? Because I see this time and time again when I am working with my clients. You are not dumb. You’re actually quite intelligent and capable. You can search online for how to get a raise. What stops you is not how to do it, but actually convincing yourself to take the actions. If doubts crop up in your mind that prevent you from taking those recommended actions, this article is for you. Read it, be truthful with yourself as to what is preventing you from taking action, then challenge yourself to take the first small step towards asking for a raise.
If you’re unsure whether you have doubts that are stopping you from taking the necessary actions, here is what those doubts tend to sound like this. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- I don’t really know how to ask.
- I’m not the kind of person who can just go ask for a raise.
- I’m an introvert, so it’s really hard for me to have these conversations.
- Asking for more money (or any other form of compensation) is greedy/pompous/(choose your adjective)/etc.
- What if my boss says no?
- I know I talk and think about wanting a raise, but I don’t know if I really deserve a raise.
- I’ll eventually get noticed for my work and will be rewarded for it without asking.
- We don’t ask for raises here.
Here’s my 1-2-3 primer on getting past your doubts:
- What’s stopping you from taking action? What little voice, story, or doubt do you have that’s keeping you from asking for a raise? Is it one I have listed or a different one? Write it down.
- Argue with yourself. Ask yourself if your reasoning is really true. I’ll show you how to argue each of the doubts that are listed above so that you get the idea.
LACK OF INFORMATION
- Doubt: I don’t really know how to ask.
- Argument: Google “how to ask for a raise”. The how-to is there for anyone wishing to take action.
- Doubt: I’m not the kind of person who can just go ask for a raise.
- Argument: What kind of person are you then? The kind of person who likes to feel undervalued? Are you willing to be the kind of person who asks for a raise for one day this year? What if I could guarantee you that you would get what you asked for? Then could you be this person? Remember, children don’t decide if they are the kind of child who can walk. They just take action.
- Doubt: I’m an introvert, so it’s really hard for me to have these conversations.
- Argument: Difficult does not mean impossible. How badly do you want this? What kind of conversations are less difficult for you? Asking for a raise is often a series of conversations about what the company values most and what you can bring to the table that contributes in the highest way possible to those things that are most of value to the company. Therefore, could you have a conversation with your boss about what the company most values? Another way of asking would be as follows: “If the company could solve any one problem right now, what would it be?” The answer is very indicative of where the company places value and where you might be able to help.
- Doubt: Asking for more money (or any other form of compensation) is greedy/pompous/(choose your adjective)/etc.
- Argument: Why do you believe this? Are you absolutely sure that your belief is true? Can you think of any instance when asking for more money does not meet your criteria of greedy/pompous/(choose your adjective)/etc.? Do you want to choose a different belief about asking for money? As an aside, this one was my excuse for my adult career through my 20s. Then, I learned that one of the reasons that men are paid more than women for the same work was because men, on average, tend to ask to be paid more and almost always negotiate while women, on average, tend to assume they’ll get paid the same as their peers. Eliminating gender inequality has always been close to my heart. Amazing how quickly I learned to ask once I was fired up!
FEAR OF EMBARRASSMENT/THE UNKNOWN
- Doubt: What if my boss says no?
- Argument: Will the world end? Will you have lost your job? What’s the worst that will happen? Even if the answer is “not right now,” will the act of asking possibly open up a conversation about what would warrant a raise in the future?” Will asking determine whether you want to start searching for another opportunity where your skills are of more value?
- Doubt: I know I talk and think about wanting a raise, but I don’t know if I really deserve a raise.
- Argument: Do you know if you deserve a raise? Usually, people in this boat haven’t done their homework and haven’t started real conversations about value with their supervisor. Move on to the research component of a how-to article and start a conversation with your supervisor to compare your skills and results to expected compensation rates in your field and geographic area.
SOMEONE ELSE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN
- Doubt: I’ll eventually get noticed for my work and will be rewarded for it without asking.
- Argument: Really? Are you sure? Have you seen it happen? Leaving your compensation in the hands of others is irresponsible. Take the reins and know where you stand.
- Doubt: We don’t ask for raises here.
- Argument: What makes you say that? Why not? What would happen if you did?
- Choose a micro-goal to reach today. Once you have argued away the doubt (or at least quieted it enough to allow you to take an action), choose a micro-goal that you will meet today to start the movement. Write it down. For example, a micro-goal could be, “Before I go to sleep tonight, I will look up and browse at least one how-to article on getting a raise.”
I call them micro-goals for a reason. This is important! Make the goal so small that you are 100% guaranteed to meet your goal. The smaller, the better. There are two reasons for doing this. First, you want to build up psychological “wins” for yourself in this process. So, making the goal so small that it seems ridiculous is a good thing. Second, you will most likely end up accomplishing more than your micro-goal in any given day. If you do, then you will feel great about your progress! But, if you don’t do any more than your micro-goal, you will still be feeling good and won’t start getting down on yourself and sabotaging your progress.
What if I don’t want to do this? Your alternative is talking yourself into the “what-i-have-is-good-enough” mindset and going another quarter, year, or lifetime without asking for what you want. Not very fulfilling if you ask me.
Lys Ella Severtson
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