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Help me ask for the title that matches my job.
August 16, 2011 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me ask for a promotion and raise at my performance appraisal. I'm already doing the job, I just want the title and salary to go with it. I was hired three months ago and made the mistake of not negotiating when I was hired. What can I do now?

Three months ago I was hired in a marketing department. I love the department, love my coworkers love the company. However, I'm frustrated that I didn't push for the correct title when I was hired. I accepted the first offer out of the gate, which I know was a mistake. The company really wants me and is really happy with my work. I'm doing the job one level up, and I want to be compensated appropriately. Especially since they've got me spearheading an entirely new, organization wide project that will be ongoing for years. That's way beyond the scope of the entry-level position they hired me for. (Not to mention that at any other company, the project would be a VP level job.) The main difference between the title I have now and the next one up is whether you're responsible for driving projects and leading campaigns. In the last three months, I've already got two campaigns under my belt, and I'm the leader for some big ongoing stuff.

I'll be having my three month performance appraisal next week, and I need to write part of it. I want to approach it strategically and demonstrate that I should have the next title up and a raise. I've got a pretty basic worksheet - accomplishments, any barriers to effectiveness, goals for the next appraisal period, professional/career growth, and any other comments. What can I do at this point? The company definitely won't fire me or demote me for asking, and the department has the money. We're a small department, and I work directly for the VP of marketing. A promotion won't change corporate structure or put me over anyone. It won't even change the work I'm doing, since it's what I do already. I currently work 20 hours a week, and I'm not too keen on more hours although I anticipate it will be necessary as I take on the big project looming on the horizon. I am definitely not willing to take more hours without the title change.

I feel a bit stupid for not stepping up and asking for the appropriate title when I got the job, since I had a hunch this would be the case. On the other hand, I've had a chance to prove my work and value to the company. I don't want to let another opportunity pass me by. How should I approach my performance appraisal?
posted by stoneweaver to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You are in the right direction:

The company really wants me and is really happy with my work.
I'm doing the job one level up, and I want to be compensated appropriately.

*Especially since they've got me spearheading an entirely new, organization wide project that will be ongoing for years.
*That's way beyond the scope of the entry-level position they hired me for.


I want to approach it strategically and demonstrate that I should have the next title up and a raise.
Read this book: Negotiating Your Salary:How to Make $1000 a Minute
posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you're doing a great job! Congratulations.

Now the naysaying: If I were your manager, I'd want you to demonstrate that you'd been doing work above your paygrade for significantly more than three months. Typically the first three months is an opportunity for you both to determine whether it's a good fit at all.

If I were you, I'd wait minimally until the 6 month mark or ideally until you have quantifiable results (I increased X metric by Y % over the course of a year, for example) to show for it. By asking now, you may not be directly penalized, but you will also reduce the impact of making your request again at a later date when the powers that be are more likely to entertain it.

Hang in there. It sounds like you're doing everything right.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2011


I already have those metrics (it's a relatively fast paced environment), and the project that they're asking me to lead is well within that capacity. I hear what you're saying about waiting, but I've really blown them out of the water - they've told me as much. It's not really the type of industry that waiting is appropriate, it's seen more as a sign of undervaluing yourself than being prudent. They hired me because I'm a risk taker, and that's what they want. I'm not dismissing the thought that I might be jumping the gun, but since they hired me as a go-getter I'm not sure that I should sit on my hands here. If I wait until the six month mark, I'll have been doing the new VP level stuff at an entry level salary for three months. I don't give my work away.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2011


I am no expert here, but maybe you lay your cards on the table, e.g. "I'm excited by the work we're doing and the projects that are coming up, but I can't help noticing that I've been given, and succeeded with, far more responsibility than my job description would suggest. I like responsibility. I know I'm good for it. But frankly, at the risk of setting myself up as a person who's hard to please, I also feel like I ought to be paid for that level of responsibility." Hopefully they then concede that yes, you're surpassing expectations and maybe you have a point, and they ask what you think a fair wage / salary would be.

That's about as risky as I'd be comfortable with.
posted by jon1270 at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


By all means put it out there, but in my corporate environment, there is no way in hell anyone would get a raise after three months. There are probably people on your team that have been waiting for a raise for years. Managers will almost certainly be batting for them first. It sucks that it's not based on your own work, but there you go.

But hey, no harm in trying, worse is gonna happen is they say no. Obviously, I don't know where you work, but in my org, to get a significant raise - promotion or no - you basically have to threaten to leave and they have to want you to stay; I definitely wouldn't recommend that course of action here!
posted by smoke at 3:39 PM on August 16, 2011


I did some more research, and I'll be waiting another three months so that I can sync with the fiscal year. I'm working for an incredibly profitable company, and I know that people get raises with good regularity. Manager compensation is tied to retention, so the company is pretty focused on keeping people happy and engaged. Thanks to the book recommendation, I'm laying the groundwork now for the conversation in a couple months. I'm kind of a barrel on in kind of person, so being a bit more thoughtful is definitely the right move here. jon1270, I love your phrasing! I may ask for the title this go-around but leave any talk of compensation out of it.

Thanks, everyone! I'll be sure to update with what happened.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:30 PM on August 16, 2011


"... I may ask for the title this go-around but leave any talk of compensation out of it. ..."

If your case is strong, and you have evidence that they like you, like your work, and want to not only retain you, but motivate you for maximum results, gradualism is the wrong move on your part. Gradualism is their move. You've got to make the case for you, and if you fail to do so, they're just as likely to think that their initial glowing assessments of you are overblown, than to think you're being a loyal, long term thinking, company person. If you think you can continue to "blow them out of the water" with the new title and new responsibilities you seek, get paid for your firepower, which in part is your frankness and your hubris, and your refusal to fail or take a backseat to inferiority. It just may be that they are thinking that if you don't have the stones to act like a VP, and ask for VP compensation, authority, and control, you aren't, really, VP material, despite your initial favorable work and impressions.

At some deep level in every company or economic heirarchy, money = respect, and respect is the power to effect (not just affect) change and growth. If they can't meet your reasonable demands for title, authority, and money, commensurate with the responsibility they and you know you'll need to produce the results they'd like you to produce, then you might consider a stepped down offer from them, as defining some reduced set of expectations/responsibilities/money/commitment. But if it comes to that, you'll be under no illusions as to your immediate future with them, and that, too, is worth something to an ambitious person.

But assuming that you're not prone to maniac flights of fancy, never be afraid to do your home work, present your view of the truth, and be judged and rewarded accordingly.
posted by paulsc at 6:15 PM on August 16, 2011


Had my review today. I didn't ask for a raise because they came in with one. They're pretty desperate to keep me happy, to an extent I definitely didn't realize. When they offer me full time (according to them, in the works this year), I'll negotiate again. Thanks for your encouragement and thoughts, everyone! Coming in with my homework done and a clear presentation of efforts really helped. I'm quite sure that emailing over my pregame document with accomplishments, etc. made the difference today.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:24 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


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