Navigating the corporate world can be tough, especially when you are young and just starting out (like myself). There are many lessons to be learned. And no matter how many books you buy, or articles you read, some of these lessons you can only learn by doing. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to share my experiences as a young professional in the hopes that one day my experiences can prove useful to someone in a similar situation.
I want to preface this post with one hard truth. Life is not fair. This is something that I am reminded of time and time again. Just because you share your food with someone, doesn't mean they will share with you. Just because you lend someone money, doesn't mean they will pay you back. This same principle applies in the workplace as well. Just because you are doing the same exact work as someone else, and may even have the same credentials, doesn't mean your boss will pay you both the same salary. There are many people that feel as if they are overworked and underpaid, but I wonder how many of those individuals have ever ask to be paid more?
For all you young professionals out there - remember that:
In order to reach your goals, you will first need to make them, and then bust your butt in order to achieve them. This means asking the hard questions, knowing what you want and clearly articulating the reasoning behind it.
When the day comes for you to negotiate your salary or ask for a raise, remember these key points:
1. Know Your "Why"
This is perhaps the most important of them all. You should know exactly why you are asking for a raise in the first place. What prompted the thought? Did you take on more responsibility? Have you figured out others in your same position are making far more than yourself? Do you find yourself spending far too much in gas and travel expenses? Are you starting a family? Whatever it may be, your ability to articulate why you are looking for a raise, can directly affect if you receive one.
2. Do Your Homework
Research comparable positions and salaries within your company. Then, research salary ranges in comparable positions within your region at various companies. Be realistic in determining a salary range. I did google searches for my job title and included the keyword "salary" in the search box. A number of sites came up that assisted in finding the average salary for that position.
3. Determine The Range
Once you have researched the average salary for comparable positions, education and experience within your region, then you can come up with a target range for the increase you are requesting. Be sure to have a solid number ready as a baseline if they happen to throw a solid number at you during the meeting.
4. Look The Part
Dress to Impress. Believe it or not, your style and physical appearance does say a lot about your drive and attitude toward the conversation at hand. More than that, dressing well will give you a serious confidence booster. When you look good, you feel good. Dress for the job (or salary) you want.
5. Set The Appointment
Nerves may or may not be stopping you from even setting up a meeting with your boss to discuss the topic. But if you don't ask, then the answer will always be no. So bite the bullet and send a formal meeting invite to send to your boss via email.
6. Be Calm & Collected
Nerves are totally natural. But when you are well prepared for the conversation, then you really nothing to be nervous about. You are taking the initiative and taking control of your career. As an adult, there will me many more times when this conversation will occur. You are gaining valuable experience. You are already a valued member of the team, or else you wouldn't be on it in the first place. You have a lot to offer and asking for a raise is perfectly normal.
7. Stand Firm
There are a million different excuses for choosing not to give someone a raise. Your manager could comment on the number of hours you work not being enough to constitute an increase. Your manager could tell you that while you have taken on additional responsibility, you will need a great deal more responsibility before you are ready for an increase. The most popular response goes something like..."I know the budget is tight right now..." Sometimes these reasonings can seem convincing, especially when they are coming from someone with influence. Whatever the reasoning, stand firm and do not adopt these excuses as a final answer. Also, do not affirm these excuses when they are voiced. Simply listening is very important during this portion of the meeting.
8. Be Humble
Someone once said "Being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself. It means, thinking of yourself less." When you are in the meeting, be sure to emphasis the benefit that the group has received from your hard work. If possible, use hard numbers and examples to illustrate your value to the team. The posture of your heart will clearly come across during the course of the conversation.
9. Get In & Get Out
Don't dally in the conversation. The longer you talk, the more you are likely to say things that were not originally part of the plan. You may find yourself backtracking and things may start to get awkward really fast. Once you have stated your point, then stop talking and allow your manager time to provide feedback. Sit in silence if you need too. Do not feel as if you need to fill that silence with noise, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable.
10. Document Everything
Just because the meeting ended, doesn't mean the job is done. Send a follow-up email to your manager thanking them for meeting with you. If you feel it is necessary, recap the conversation and include important points that were discussed.
11. Give Management 1-Week
After you send your follow-up email, allow your manager one week before you follow-up a second time. You do not want to seem impatient, but you also want them to respect your time. In my opinion, 1-week is a good timeframe. Secondly, always have a follow-up meeting once contacted by your boss. Preferably, this meeting should be held in person. Regardless of whether it is good news or bad news. Even if your boss follows up via email, still make another appointment in-person to discuss it.
12. Learn - No Matter What The Outcome
Whether or not your boss decides to give you a raise - do everything in your power to turn the experience into a positive one. Write down what you learned from it, and keep those nuggets of wisdom close by. The odds of you having this conversation again, or knowing someone who will have this conversation, are very high. You have the power to use the entire experience to motivate you and propel you forward in your career. DON'T TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED!
Some lessons are learned best by doing. So take a minute and pat yourself on the back. It doesn't matter what the final outcome of the conversation was. All that matters is your willingness to try something that was completely out of your comfort zone, and your ability to learn and grow from it.
Ever been in a similar situation? I would love to hear about it! Write about it in the comment box below!
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Stasia | Rose
Photo Credit: by Ondrej Supitar on StockSnap
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