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The Right Way to Ask Your Boss for a Raise

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Money is perhaps the most sensitive subject matter in our society. Indeed, with the possible exceptions of sex, religion, and politics, nothing makes people more uncomfortable than talking about finances. To wit, more marriages end as a result of money concerns than any other single factor. Given all that, it’s understandable why so many people are reticent to ask their boss for a raise –– even if they deserve one. The good news is, asking for a raise doesn’t have to be an excruciating process. Rather, just follow these four best practices and you’ll be sure to land the raise you’re looking for with minimal strain:

Pay Your Dues

Sometimes, professionals are so eager to get a job –– any job –– that they don’t concern themselves with base salary. However, you shouldn’t accept a job with an income well below what you need to survive. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the unenviable position of asking for a raise after a short period of time. This is a bad look for a number of reasons, and you’re unlikely to sway your boss to boost your pay after only a few months on the job.

Do Your Homework

One big mistake many professionals make when asking their manager for a raise is that they fail to do their homework. The last thing an employee can afford to do is submit an unrealistic request at the beginning of a negotiation. It’s important to determine how much professionals in similar positions in your field typically make and to understand the current state of your company or industry. Asking for a raise right after your business suffered a major setback isn’t likely to end well.

Go the Extra Mile

At the end of the day, a raise is something an employee has to earn through years of loyalty and hard graft. If you’re going to convince your boss to elevate your financial status, you should first look for a way to improve work performance on a consistent basis. By making yourself indispensable to the company, you’ll strengthen your bargaining position.

Be Willing to Negotiate

Contrary to popular belief, a negotiation is not an argument; just because you disagree with your boss, it doesn’t mean you can’t get along and still enjoy a solid professional relationship. It’s important for employees to keep an open mind when entering negotiations and be willing to compromise to a certain degree. (You may want to consider trading a hard salary increase for stock options or expanded benefits, for instance.) Few professionals get exactly what they want from an extended negotiation, so make sure to establish a “back-up plan” should management reject your initial proposal. Lastly, remember that showing your boss respect and courtesy will go a long way toward winning their favor. Even if you don’t see eye to eye at first, good manners and patience could help you reach a mutually acceptable arrangement.

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