What to Do When Your Raise Isn't Big Enough

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 23, 2013

Dear Jack,

I asked for a raise six months ago and was given a 10% bump, but wasn’t happy with it. My boss asked me what I would be happy with, but said it wouldn’t meet my goal of $50,000 a year. So I took a couple of minutes and said $45,000. I was hoping he would see that I am worth more than that and give me more money in the future, but it hasn’t happened. I am very unhappy in my job because of this and would like to ask for more, but not sure if I should because of our previous conversation six months ago.

Thank you,

Hello K, 

If you are a good and valued worker, your boss has not forgotten what you asked for six months ago. For the most part, supervisors and bosses want you to be well paid and feel good about your work. They know replacing you would be expensive -- probably more than the raise for which you're asking. So if the raise doesn't come through the way you wanted, it might just be your boss hasn't figured out how to make it work yet.

They have their budgets, constraints, guidelines, etc. Your objective should be to get you and your boss both on the same side of the desk so that instead of negotiating in a type of win/lose conversation, you can both be harnessed in the same direction. The next conversation with your boss should go something like this:

"I think we have an unfinished conversation about my salary. I'm sure if it were within your control you would've given it to me a while ago, so I presume we both would like to effect that change. But it hasn't happened. So, I have a request about Teamwork brainstorming. Would you be willing to have a possibility discussion with me regarding the topic of how can we -- together -- get me to the point where my contribution and value I produce for the company is worth $50,000 or more?"

Concentrate your description of the conversation on how much value you're going to bring him, as opposed to how much money you want.

Best of luck,

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 www.salarynegotiations.com or e-mail jack@salarynegotiations.com

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