Underpaid part-timer.
August 16, 2005 7:54 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about asking for a pay raise?

Having a discussion with my coworkers at my part-time retail job, I've found that I get paid the least. I've been there longer than a few others, and have a higher seniority than most of the cashiers. I, as well as my colleagues, feel I do an excellent job at what I do, and that I deserve a higher wage than what I am getting. (This is in the range of maybe - at most - a dollar more an hour.)

Am I in the wrong for wanting this? How can I go about bringing this up to management without risking my job, or bringing in my coworker's wages?
posted by itchie to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Information begets information. Garbage in, garbage out. There is no indirect way to ask for a raise. Just ask.

And consider - if they say no - do you want to keep the job? If you MUST keep the job no matter what, don't ask; if you don't want to keep the job sans raise, this may alter your attitude upon walking into the conversation.

Make sure the conversation is private and not in a place where your supervisor feels observed and/or put on the spot.

Good luck!
posted by By The Grace of God at 8:07 PM on August 16, 2005

Have a backup plan, or as they say, "Leverage".
posted by blue_beetle at 8:44 PM on August 16, 2005

Just because you don't get the raise doesn't mean you have to quit. It is not a do or die situation. If you don't get the raise you are no worse off than you are now. It's a gamble: best case, you end up with a couple extra hundreds bucks a month, worst case, you get shot down and feel, perhaps, a bit cheated (but probably no worse than you feel now). In this light, it makes sense to just ask. This post already demonstrates you've got the basics down. Now you just need to execute. Tell your boss you want to talk about your job. When the time comes relate all of your strengths and, perhaps, throw the dog a bone and point out a few weaknesses followed by how you're addressing them. In light of this, you strongly feel that you have earned a pay raise. It's important to be very clear here since (good) employers will exploit any hesitation or lack of self-confidence. Get the point across: you work hard and your salary should reflect that. If your boss resists, then insist again, at this point, perhaps, giving specific examples where you've gone above and beyond the call of duty and done over time or worked late. Point out that this is not so much about money but rather fairness, your continued confidence in yourself and the company, and your future. If your boss still resists, you can perhaps defuse the situation by insisting she take a few days to think about it. But make it clear there's only one right answer.

At this point, you've done all you can and you should be ready to accept her decision, whichever way the cookie crumbles. If you get rejected, you may want to play the trump card: you know how your performance compares to others and you know what others get paid. Be careful though--this is a last resort and can backfire. Still, no guts no glory. In the end, you'll either get the raise (which seems likely) or you'll have to try again in six months.
posted by nixerman at 9:01 PM on August 16, 2005

I'll second what nixerman said. The cost of hiring and training new employees far exceeds keeping good ones. You not only deserve a raise, in a well-run organization you would already have recieved one or more, as a matter of course.

Quarterly, and annual performance-reviews for support staff are the norm in retail, as are the small raises that accompany positive results. Measurable goals, along with the accompanying rewards for achieving objectives is the grease that lubes the wheel of commerce. If these minimal standards are not being met where you work, this more reflects poor mangement practices on the part of your employer than it does any failing of yours.

Motivated and trained staff are expensive. Ask for the raise, simply based on your stated performance. It doesn't need to be an ulimatum. If what you say is true, you will likely be pleasantly surprised when you receive it, with thanks.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:22 PM on August 16, 2005

Some good advice already in this thread. I'll add that it's easier to talk about percentages when asking for a raise rather than dollar amount. It's far easier (and perhaps a little more mature?)to look someone in the eye and say "I want a 7% pay increase" than it to say "I want one more dollar an hour". Plus you get the added benefit of watching your manager struggle to process exactly what 7% translates into because they are not going to ask you during the conversation. Another negotiating technique is to ask for slightly more than you actually want. If they match your request then bonus! If they say less, then you'll simply be getting what you wanted to begin with. Also, more money is only part of a larger equation called "benefits" so don't hesitate to ask for more vacation time or other perks. In a capitalist system the goal is to earn as much coin as you can. It's the name of the game. Your manager is doing the same thing. So are your co-workers. Asking for a raise is proof that you're invested in the job and doing so will probably bring you more respect.
posted by quadog at 1:32 AM on August 17, 2005

Some previous threads on asking for a raise.
posted by fuzz at 6:33 AM on August 17, 2005

Agree with the above. Also, I know that it's not the "professionally correct" answer (nor what you asked for,) but when I was faced with this I point-blank noted that there were other employees making more than me doing the same job. (This was for a small owner-operated store, which is a whole different animal than a corporate store in terms.)

The owner had been a bit blind to the fact that I really did have as much responsibility and produce as consistant results as my co-worker -- listing the job task-by-task, I pointed out yep, I do that too, wherever he thought that my co-worker had greater duties. It turned out that it was essentially unintentional sexism that was keeping my wage down.
posted by desuetude at 11:06 AM on August 17, 2005

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