By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. I want to get a raise but also realize these days I'm lucky to have a job. Are there rules about how to negotiate for a raise?
A. In coaching people, I've discovered that they fall into two categories of salary negotiators. People in the first group want more money but haven't earned it. Those in the second group want more money and are worth twice what they're earning but are scared to ask.
If you fall into the first group, your job is to realize you have to pay your dues. Paying your dues means putting in enough time, going beyond what your boss is paying you for, making your boss's life easier, and helping improve the profitability of your company.
If you fall into the second group, you don't need to do anything different except change your assumptions about the workplace and money. The truth is that money doesn't come to those who do great work. Money comes to those who do great work, get visibility for their contributions, and ask to be paid what they are worth.
Asking to be paid does not mean marching into your boss's office and demanding more money. Even if you deserve a raise, demanding money can get you demoted or stuck at your current salary.
Instead, find out what your market value is before you approach your boss. The easiest way to know your market value is to apply for other jobs. There's no way you'll persuade a boss to change your salary if you can't demonstrate someone else will pay you more than your current position.
Some of my clients balk at this idea. Several clients have worried their current employer will think they are disloyal. Realize that many employees get approached by recruiters. Your employer has no way of knowing how your new job opportunities landed in your lap. Most bosses believe their best employees are likely being contacted by recruiters.
Since you already have a job, you'll notice your anxiety about job interviewing and salary/benefit negotiations will be low. You'll also discover that lower anxiety will lead you to take more risks in negotiating higher reimbursement.
Once you have a concrete written offer or find out that people will pay you more than you're current job, you're ready to meet with your boss. Ask your boss for a planning meeting to do some "career problem solving." You want to keep the exact nature of the meeting vague without creating nervousness for your boss.
Once in the meeting, let your boss know that you like your job and are not looking to change but that you have had some lucrative offers. Make it clear you are loyal and want to stay in your current position and that you're finding your market value is more than you are making. Let your boss know what the other companies are offering. You do not need to give the names of these companies.
Most of my clients find that if they are valued, their boss always comes back and offers them something. If your boss comes back and offers you nothing, you just received critical information. You are in a dead-end job. You will not be promoted or make more money. Your next move needs to be to interview, get the money you want, and get out of your current company.
The Last Word(s)
Q. I can't stand one of my coworkers. Is there a way to work with him?
A. Yes, realize your coworker doesn't have telepathy. Focus on your career and do what benefits your future rather than your feelings about him.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). Contact her at www.interpersonaledge.com
or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the July 1, 2012 - July 14, 2012 Edition