Give yourself a raise
You deserve a big fat raise!
Care to argue the point?
Didn’t think so.
But did you ever consider that the reason you are so dramatically underpaid may not be the fault of a stingy boss not giving you more? The problem could be your wimpy self not having the gumption to ask for more.
Or so suggests Robin Ryan in her recent post “What Salary Should I Ask For? More Than You Think,” on the Forbes website.
According to Ryan, the best time to ask for more money is when you change jobs. If you don’t ask, you will “earn $500,000 to $1,000,000 less” over your lifetime.
(This depressing factoid comes from the Society of Human Resources Management — SHRM to its friends. They should know. HR people are experts when it comes to thinking up reasons why you shouldn’t get a raise.)
If you’d like to get your mitts on the mil you’re leaving on the table next to the graham cracker crumbs, Ryan offers “negotiation strategies (that) will enable you to earn more.”
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Strategy No. 1 is “Know What Your Skills Are Worth.”
Unless your company desperately needs overstuffed bodies to keep office chairs from suddenly flying off into space, your actual work product — what there is of it — is pretty worthless. You know this, and so does your manager. But have you ever considered that what is extremely valuable is your ability to keep gossip spreading quickly and efficiently throughout the company? Forget Slack and Google Groups. Your big mouth is the ultimate communication app, keeping everyone up to date on the latest gossip, some of it even true.
“Restate Your Interest” is a strategy for job seekers well into the interview process. The idea here is to interrupt the negotiations to reaffirm your desire for the position, but admit you are “a little disappointed that the offer was lower than I expected.”
At this point, you are instructed to “smile, then be quiet and remain quiet while the employer makes the next move.”
This is a brilliant tactic, and when your never-to-be co-workers see you in the reception area many years later, still smiling and waiting, they’ll know why.
“Don’t Forget to Negotiate the Perks” reminds you that it isn’t only money you won’t be getting if you don’t negotiate aggressively: You’ll also not be getting perks. You could ask for company cars and lavish expense accounts, but the best request is for time off. Ryan points out that “vacation time is easier for many employers to give out than money is.”
I recommend you insist on two full days of vacation a year. Since your policy of not working on the job is like a vacation anyway, after two days at home doing chores, coming back to the office will be a welcome relief.
“Never bluff” is one strategy I recommend you ignore. The entire idea that you will be a committed and useful employee is a bluff, so why not also pretend you have a better-paying job in the wings?
If some twisted HR nerd calls your bluff, you have two choices: storm out in a rage or start crying. You’ll turn on the waterworks, of course. In between the sobs and sniffles, bemoan your anguish at not being able to make the payments on your Porsche, the punishing cost of premium cable, and the sure demise of your hamster, Hammy, if you cannot afford to send him to the Mayo Clinic for the whisker transplant he so desperately needs.
Even the most coldhearted manager will eventually melt when faced with this litany of tragedies and let you stay, though they will probably make you take a substantial pay cut.
It may not be a raise, but it’s something.
“Practice” is the key word once you are ready to start the negotiations. Ryan suggests you role-play the interview with a friend. Choose a friend you don’t mind losing, since they will not only turn you down for the job but also decide never to hang out with you again.
Lastly, once you nail down the terms of your agreement, insist on getting all the details in “an employment letter.”
If your future employer insists that you trust them, explain that you believe the company is evil and unscrupulous, which is why you are taking the job in the first place.
And just to keep everything friendly, get a signature in blood.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California.