How To Ask for a Raise?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about asking for a raise: I’m young (24) but feel very confident in my abilities and would like to approach the topic of a raise with my employers. (I also want to note that they are VERY difficult employers who are very tight with their money

I have been working for a company in sales administration and customer service for the past year. I’m young (24) but feel very confident in my abilities and would like to approach the topic of a raise with my employers. (I also want to note that they are VERY difficult employers who are very tight with their money even though they have a very successful business. A raise will be difficult to ask for as they are not easily approached.) My superior is leaving in 3 weeks and I will be automatically assuming many of her responsibilities. Although my employers have not discussed a title change or increase in responsibilities, I am currently working with my superior to learn additional tasks which will be my sole responsibility when she leaves.My employers have not approached me since my coworker gave her notice. I’m in an assistant position and now that she is leaving

I get the impression that my employers believe I will simply be sharing her responsibilities with a new person who is being brought in at the same pay grade as myself.

This is not realistic as I am now the only person who fully understands everything involved with our department.How do I make it clear that my responsibilities have changed and that I would like a raise in order to continue working here? How do I approach the question and how do I answer if they say NO?

My superior who is leaving says I should just work my butt off for the next six months to “prove” that I can take over her position BEFORE asking for a raise. That is what she did when she was in my position. But I don’t feel it’s reasonable that I should have to completely assume her responsibilities from this point forward without a raise.Any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

Signed, Deserving

Dear Deserving:

This situation has a lot of dimensions to consider! I agree with you that it doesn’t seem reasonable for you to do much of the same work as the person who was there formerly and who was paid more. Nor does it seem reasonable for you to get paid the same as when we were an assistant, when you are now completely responsible for the work, while also helping to train a new person in a complex organizational-specific task.On the other hand, I can certainly see the viewpoint of your current manager. Assistants nearly always feel confident they could do the work of their managers if given the chance. Then, they find out there was more to the big picture of the job than they realized and they don’t do well as a result. I’ve seen that happen enough times to know why employers don’t automatically put asssitants in the primary role when someone leaves. I would also think that your current manager has talked about this with your employer. I would find it very hard to believe that they have not discussed what she thinks should be done after she leaves, unless she is being fired or leaving with bad feelings.

So, your manager’s advice may be a way to say, “I’ve discussed this with them and they think you should prove what you can do before they make you the manager and the new person becomes your assistant.”It may also be that both you and the new person will be evaluated over time to figure out who becomes the primary person and who stays as an assistant.Another thing to consider is your employers may just not think you are a good fit for the job:

Your behavior or performance in general or your youth or some other issue.Consider asking to discuss the future of the section or unit with them (rather than your own future). Find out what role you will be taking. Consider asking if there is a timeline for having a manager and assistant again, rather than coworkers.They know what you’re interested in! Be open with them about it. How bluntly open will depend upon your relationship. But, you might be able to say something like, “I was hoping when Jan left that I’d move into her role and title, since I know it very, very well and can do it if I have an assistant. Is there something specific that caused you to decide to do it this way?” They may give you the same advice as your manager gave you or they may say they’ve just decided to completely change things. Then you can move forward with your plan for what you will do if they say no.

Some options: Quit. That seems extreme if you like your job. Ask for a different job title, to indicate your higher level knowledge and skills. And/or ask for a smaller salary than the last manager, for now. The job title can help on your resume when you are looking for the next job. You’re probably not going to stay there forever so that might be a good thing to have. Some pay raise might be better than no pay raise for now.

There may also be some other issues you could negotiate. Perhaps the way the work is divided would be something you think is important. Desk location might be another. If you are sitting where the former manager sat (unless she had an office and only that title gets one) you might be viewed as a replacement almost automatically. Then, it might be easier to push for the title and salary one day. Opening the discussion briefly and getting into the heart of the issue is better than having a memorized speech. Consider a one or two sentence opening and ask them for their thoughts. Get them talking and you will have time for your nerves to calm down. You also avoid having them figuring out a rebuttal to you while you’re talking!I know it’s not easy, but if you make a valiant effort your employers will at least respect your courage about it! They may also give you useful insights. Best wishes with this.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.