Ask Tamara: Should I Ask For a Raise?
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Dear Tamara:
I have not received a raise or cost of living increase in three years. This year we were told that because of the economy annual increases are again, “not in the budget.” 
During this time the cost of living has greatly increased. My rent has gone up and my son’s daycare went from $150 to $180 a week. I really need a raise or some type of increase to continue to make ends meet. How should I approach my supervisor about getting a raise?
More Than a Dollar Short
Dear Dollar Short:
I think me and everyone else in America can agree with you that the “cost of living has greatly increased” over the last three years. Whether companies are increasing prices to cover their own increased coats or tightening their budgets to weather the storm, everything seems to cost just a little more. 
Unfortunately there are no laws that state that a company has to provide annual raises and/or cost of living increases to help deal with these increased prices.
I am not sure about your work environment/culture, but I am accustomed to raises and increases being tied directly to performance. In all of the reasoning you listed above, you said nothing about your job, an outstanding performance appraisal, or you consistently exceeding expectations and going the extra mile on the job. 
If you are going to talk to your supervisor about a raise, I strongly suggest you go in prepared to justify a pay increase. In other words, have more in your arsenal than the fact that your living expenses have increased. Your employer may or may not care about your day care costs. 
And at the end of the day, day care costs and what you spend your weekly paycheck on is not their business! Protecting their bottom line, satisfying clients and making a profit is! You should be able to show why you deserve and increase and how the company can and will benefit by keeping you employed and increasing your salary.
It is your job to better manage your personal finances and stretch your paycheck to meet your needs. If you cannot do this with your current salary, you may want to consider getting a second job or looking for another job that pays you more or has higher pay potential.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011).  Email your questions to You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at
This was printed in the January 1, 2012 - January 14, 2012  Edition

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