How to Get a Raise When You're Underpaid and Overworked

by Staff - Original publish date: January 16, 2012

We've all been there.

You're doing your job and covering for someone else. But instead of getting recognized for the extra effort, it seems all you ever get is guff. We've all had to do more than our fair share to pick up the slack for incompetent coworkers, but can you really ask for a raise because of it?

Jack Chapman,'s resident salary expert, has your answer!

I am currently employed as a Registered Nurse at an outpatient Ophthalmology Surgery Center. For the past six years, I have also filled the position of Charge Nurse. However, I was told that I would only be in charge in the absence of the Director of Nursing. When she is out of the office on many of her "illness" episodes, I am left to do all of her work, my work and manage the facility and remainder of the staff.

I truly feel I am being used and underpaid. It appears that I can do all of this, but they do not want to pay me the salary I deserve. At any rate, how can I possibly negotiate a deserving salary increase?

Getting a raise can involve several components such as researching comparables, managing politics, timing, "taking a stand," lining up alternatives, documentation, actual negotiation conversation itself and much more.

Raises are treated in Chapter 8 of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute. I'll address the most salient point in your situation: knowing your alternative.

You must determine your bottom line---your "no go" number. Negotiating lingo includes the term "BATNA," which stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. You need to know what you'll do if your negotiations go nowhere, especially if you're dealing with people who are abusive or difficult to negotiate with. Best to be armed with a plan to go elsewhere, or at least be clear on what your minimal acceptable conditions and compensation are, and what you'll do if the employer falls short of that.

Refer to Chapter 8 in the book for even more tips.

All the best,
Jack Chapman

Career coach and author Jack Chapman, who wrote "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is teaming up with to offer a weekly Q & A on all things related to salary negotiation.

Using real questions sent in by actual readers, Jack will help you navigate the choppy waters of interviewing for a job, negotiating a salary and asking for a raise or promotion. Remember all those times you desperately wished you had someone to help you answer all the tough questions that invariably surface around negotiations? Now Jack has your back and he's providing easy to implement, real-life solutions to your salary negotiation dilemmas.

Check back every Tuesday for the FREE advice that could prevent you from losing thousands of dollars in unnegotiated pay, get you the job you want and steer you clear of potential pitfalls during the interview process.

If you have a question or need some advice from Jack, we'd love to hear from you. Send an email to stating your problem or question, and we'll send it to Jack for his expert advice. Although Jack will do his best to reply to your question, the large number of responses we receive make it difficult to address each one.

Jack Chapman is a Career and Salary Coach, and author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." For more negotiating advice go to or e-mail