Asking For A Raise

A friend messaged me earlier to say that he was chatting with his HR about asking for a raise. “He said I should just ask, because the worse I can be told is ‘no’. I think I deserve a raise, given my new job scope. But sometimes I still have imposter syndrome.”

Ideally, an organization should have a regular scheduled process for addressing this – like a quarterly or bi-annual performance review. At a high-tempo workplace like a startup, an annual review is probably too infrequent.

Compensation shouldn’t be about feelings – it should be about the amount of value that you’re adding to your organization.

If you normally only have an annual review (as my friend does), you should probably request a meeting about 3 months into a new role.

“I don’t know how to ask for it. I guess I’ll ask as tactfully as I can, and the worst the can say is no.”

I think this is actually setting yourself up for failure. If you ask “Um, can I have a raise please?”, it’s very easy to say no to that. Your manager might sense that you’re not very sure of yourself, and that you’ll accept no for answer. It might seem like you’re already kind of defeated inside. Perhaps they’ll buy you a drink and say nice things, which is touching, but it doesn’t improve your position.

You want to make it easy for them to say yes. You want them to think to themselves, “Wow, this person is focused and committed to improving herself. She’s clear about how she measures her progress, and she’s going to keep growing and levelling up as a contributor. I can say yes and earn her ‘loyalty’, or I can say no and she’ll probably end up moving to somewhere else that appreciates her better.”

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