my time is worth more than this!
January 29, 2009 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Lots of work for little reward: How do I ask for a raise? Working for a non-profit that is not doing so hot....more inside, possibly whiny (?)

I am posting this anon because i know that several of my coworkers (and higher ups) read this!

i have been working for the same non-profit for almost 2 years. recently (<6 months) got a promotion. get a raise, get a sweet title, feel happy inside. (mind you, this raise still keeps me at the barely-getting-by non-profit salary category.)

Economy starts to fail. small non-profit arts org. takes a nose dive. I get assigned LOTS of extra work-- now i do work for the sales, marketing, and PR dept. I do not get a raise. My coworkers do not either, but they are not given 3x more work.

I feel like i am whining, but is it completely unfair that i should be expected to do 3x the work while they sit and do nothing all day? I know some of them get paid more than me to do 3x LESS work than me.

I feel bad asking for a raise because, as a non profit,we are already struggling to stay afloat. But at the same time, i feel like i deserve it.

How do i (gently) go about asking for a raise? I am comfortable enough to ask MY boss, my bosses boss, etc. I am a valued member of this small team and i know they would not want to lose me. A

ll i really want is $2000 more per year. Should i write a letter first? talk to my boss about how i think the work distribution is unfair? I feel like re-distributing duties would be hard, as i am the only person who knows how to (and is trusted to!) complete a lot of tasks. Please, please, help.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
There is this axiom which I find holds true: unless controlled, work flows to the competent person until he submerges.

Congratulations on being that person!

Next, I'm not sure how you can ask for money from an organization that is barely afloat. Its like throwing an anchor to a drowning man. These are times when you do what you can to keep things going, which you are actually doing.

What will happen is you get to be around when the slackers are gone. Be glad for the added roles because that's what will keep you employed when others are in the bread line.
posted by trinity8-director at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

Well, the standard rejoinder is that you could go work for a giant soulless possibly somewhat evil corporation and make more money. Those of us who work at nonprofits usually stick around because there's some sort of quality-of-life issues involved in accepting less pay for more work.

Yes, you can ask for a raise. Only you can gauge how impolitic this will be and whether or not it will damage your reputation. You may wish to discuss this offline with your boss first.

I feel like i am whining, but is it completely unfair that i should be expected to do 3x the work while they sit and do nothing all day? I know some of them get paid more than me to do 3x LESS work than me.

This way lies madness. If you wish to stew in bitterness and regret and make yourself completely crazy and possibly get an ulcer, but all means, keep contemplating the responsibility and output of the laziest, most overpaid staff member to yourself. (But hey, if you start an anonymous blog where we can tell our craziest stories about insane/lazy/overpaid non-profit staffers, I can contribute some quality commiseration.)

Now, here's the two-thousand-dollar question: Do you want less work or more money? Your question is ostensibly about the money, but your post is largely about the work. The tiny, yet principle-of-the-thing bump in your take-home pay afforded by a 2k raise is going to satisfy you for how long?

And how does what you're doing now fit in with your longer-term goals? How much of a boost is your resume getting? Two years is not a long time. Not long enough to be invaluable. Sorry. If I were in your shoes (and I have been, believe me!) I'd do a bang-up job with those extra responsibilities for now and keep your job as long as you can. And then parlay the experience into a sweet step up the ladder.
posted by desuetude at 2:57 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Given how stinky the economy is right now perhaps you can think more creatively about your compensation situation.

Could you work from home one day a week?
More time off?
Better comp time policies?
More flexible hours?

Sometimes I think having more time for myself and my family is worth more than a few extra bucks.

I think you should have a separate conversation about your workload. Do you have an idea of how to more equitably distribute the work? Are you willing to do more work now, while the company is struggling, if there is a firm understanding that this will pay off in a raise or other professional acknowledgment when the company can afford it?
posted by brookeb at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

Could you offer to teach another staffer one of your duties? You could present it in a way that it would help the company to have more educated employees.
posted by Vaike at 4:27 PM on January 29, 2009

Tell your boss how you feel, and see if you can get some of the work reassigned to the slackers. Personally, I'd check and Professionals for Nonprofits for a new is too short.
posted by aquafortis at 7:25 PM on January 29, 2009

Honey. 226,000 people got laid off in the U.S. in December. 75,000 people got laid off in the U.S. on Tuesday. People who don't have a job can't make donations to arts organizations. And it's going to get worse - maybe a lot worse, maybe for a long time - before it gets better. If you have a problem with your workload, share your concern. But asking for more money when you know your organization is suffering makes you look clueless and selfish.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2009

Set limits for yourself at work if you are overwhelmed. You have to tell your boss "I'm doing 3x the work I used to do, and this is not working out for me. I either need a raise (which you know is unlikely, right?), an assistant, or I need you to give tasks X, Y, and Z to someone else."
posted by zippy at 9:16 PM on January 29, 2009

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