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Asking for a raise
July 19, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me ask for a raise!

I have tried to do some research on my position, but my position is a weird one. Lemme describe it.

Basically what I do is internet research on professionals for a kind of "consumer reports" magazine for professionals, which eventually gets produced by my company in a magazine which provides rankings of these professionals. Some of it is heavy data entry kind of stuff, but it involves alot of qualitative judgements about a particular person's skills. I also recommend stories to the editorial board. Additionally, I do customer service - talking with marketing directors of major law firms and answering their questions.

The company is doing well, expanding into other markets so quick that new responsibilities will definitely appear. Though my manager was planning to hire more people, since the job seems to be getting done quickly enough - partially due to me - she hasn't.

Two questions:
1. How would one determine the salary for this position? Closest thing I got is "data entry specialist" from salary.com.

2. What's the best way to make my case?

Thanks alot!
posted by mammary16 to Work & Money (5 answers total)
 
We're missing some key details here. How long have you been at this company? What were your initial duties, and how do your current duties compare? Do you make more decisions and/or do significantly more complex work? What kind of feedback have you received from your manager about your performance? What kind of business results have you achieved (ie, did your customer service keep angry marketing director X from leaving the company, thus preserving a $Y contract? or did you upsell marketing director Z on some other service?)

Personally, I would skip the salary.com route and make this all about you. How you personally have exceeded expectations, saved the company money/made the company money, and have so much more responsibility that you deserve a salary that is commensurate with your responsibilities and demonstrated expertise. You need tangible facts to back up these assertions.

Then be realistic. Where I work a "level bump" (ie, taking on the next level of responsibility) corresponds to a 10-15% raise. I assume that since you are working for a magazine, you are getting paid crap. Sorry, that's the nature of the industry. Don't expect miracles.

That said, always ask for more money than you'd be willing to accept. So if you think 10% would be a reasonable raise, ask for 15% and negotiate. However, always try to get your boss to name her price first. So if your boss agrees that your performance has been exemplary and that you do in fact deserve a raise, ask her for a figure. She may offer something totally outlandish that you'd never ask for. That said, if she offers peanuts, then trot out all the reasons you make their lives better and counteroffer with your high figure.

You may discover that you work at a place that pays poorly and offers crap raises. If that is the case, look for another job.

From your boss's perspective, a raise is a reward for a job you have already done. Future additional responsibilities really aren't relevant, unless they are hiring underlings for you to manage and you are being promoted into a managerial role. You should go back later and ask for more money if you believe that your new responsibilities warrant the cash.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:24 AM on July 19, 2006


And about the logistics of this - schedule a 1:1 meeting with your boss with the stated purpose of discussing your performance. Schedule 30 minutes to an hour. Get her feedback, remind her of your accomplishments, and then if the stars have aligned start talking cash. I assume you are a woman. There are plenty of books out there on the shelves teaching women how to ask for money from their bosses. Go to a book store, pick one up and read one. I wouldn't pay for one myself but I'd read one for 30 minutes to get some ideas.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:30 AM on July 19, 2006


1. There is no way to determine a proper salary from comparing to other jobs. Yours is unique in that it involves more than just one function. The best way to determine the proper compensation is to figure out what the company can afford, figure out what is your desired comp and at what low number you walk, and what it would take for them to replace you.

As it sounds like they would have to hire two to replace you, your leaving would be a big blow. Not knowing your salary, I would ask for a 33% raise. For example if you are getting $30,000 now, ask for $40,000. This way they are still saving significant dollars by not hiring the new person. If you ask for a 50% raise, it may make sense to pay a little more and diversify the job function with two in case you quit or become less productive. As an employer, I never wanted to have an employee that was so valuable I could not "afford" to lose her. Just like having one customer be too much of your business. The risk of losing that customer or employee is too substantial vis a vis the rest of your operation.

2. You make your case logically and rationally without threats, whining or emotion. You have already stated your case. I would tell your boss that they obviously underestimated your skills, tenacity and creativity when they hired you because she has not had to hire additional help that she anticipated needing. You are doing a great job and she is saving $. Explain how much it would cost to replace you with two employees. Then, sit back and listen. She will either agree and give you a raise (probably less than you want/deserve/expected) or will list ways why you don't deserve it. If she lists reasons why not, ask her if you correct or change what you are not doing to deserve the raise will she give it to you then. Try to establish objective criteria for the raise. I would ask for the raise before talking performance. If you talk performance first, she will anticipate why you are asking and shade it to the negative side. You should state the positive first and put her on the defensive.

Don't threaten to quit unless you mean it. She may call your bluff.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:35 AM on July 19, 2006


As others have said, getting your bosses to agree with you on salary is a matter of examining what you could reasonably get elsewhere, what they would likely have to pay to get someone else to do your job and what unique knowledge and skills you as a Unique And Delicate Snowflake bring to the company.

You certainly shouldn't have to threaten to leave in order to get your company to pay you suitably for the position. Personally I think that if that's the culture where you work then you don't want to work there, but maybe that's just me. That said, some places are like that. I've seen companies that rarely adjust salaries until the moment someone produces a resignation letter, at which point they throw money.

These are not typically happy places for anyone.

Whatever you do or how you approach it, the best thing you can do for all involved is be calm and matter-of-fact about it. You want to do what's best for you. They want to do what's best for the company. It's in everyone's interest to be at a place where both interests coincide and you should never feel remotely ashamed of working towards that goal.
posted by phearlez at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2006


Thanks for all the tips - you've helped me find the right angle to think about/approach these things.

Thanks!
posted by mammary16 at 1:35 PM on July 21, 2006


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