Job Talk: How do I get a meeting to ask for raise?
Hi, J.T. & Dale: How do I go about having a meeting with my boss to get a raise? Whenever I discuss serious matters, he avoids giving an answer by answering with a joke. My boss has already said that I am doing a good job saving money, and has now included me in the weekly sales meetings. I have not been given a raise in two years. — Lucia
J.T.: The fact that your boss isn't taking it seriously could mean one of two things:
A) The company can't afford a raise and he doesn't want to tell you.
B) The boss doesn't want to give you a raise and doesn't want to tell you.
DALE: Or, he may simply be working the old avoidance gambit: "Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?" Shortsighted managers find this logic useful, especially if they are delaying expenditures.
J.T.: Whatever the reason he's avoiding you, I would suggest that you find a way to request a meeting, and ask him specifically what you need to do to get a raise. Something like: "Can you please map out for me what you want me to do so I can earn a raise? It's important to me to continue to improve my earnings. I'd be grateful for some feedback on what I can do." Now, if he makes a joke out of that, then it's time to look for a new boss!
DALE: Hold on. Let's assume that he also will make a joke out of that serious request. You need to be prepared to call him on that ... softly. Something like, "I know you like to joke around, and it's one of the things everybody likes about you, but can I ask you, as a personal favor, to be serious for just a minute?" Even so, it may still require an additional "No, really, this is important." Then, once you get into the dance of negotiation, resist the temptation to explain why you need the money; you donwant to seem to be begging or demanding, and you certainly don't want to set off a whining competition where he tells you his financial woes. That's why I like J.T.'s approach of "What do I need to do?" That question swings the conversation to you and your performance, and thus focuses the discussion on something over which you have control.
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Dear J.T. & Dale: I recently resigned from my job due to the enormous amount of hours required of me. In addition, due to two separate family commitments/events, I would not be available to work for two weeks next month. My question is: Do you think a company would hire me knowing that I need two weeks off? Or do you think I should just wait to start my job search? — Julie
J.T.: Honestly, it all comes down to your specialty and if it is in high demand. If it is, you could get hired as a regular employee, or even as a contractor or consultant, and then when you worked would be a non-issue. However, if you are in a field where there's plenty of full-time talent available, then I'd say you'd find it harder. It really comes down to whether you are a hot commodity — or at least whether you can sell yourself as one!
DALE: Hot or not, this is a great time to look for work. A lot of job hunters take the holidays off, and thus you have fewer competitors. Plus, many managers get new budgets in January and, with them, new positions opening up. On top of all that, people are in the holiday spirit and might be psychologically open to being helpful. So get out and work it. What's the worst that can happen? You get an offer and they insist that you start immediately. Then you can decide if it's worth missing the family event. On the other hand, I think many managers will be happy to wait for you till they're well past the holidays, into the new year, and they have more time for training.
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