Raising The Question of a Raise? The Approach fails, What To Do Instead

I watched the movie Late Night recently and a couple of things stood out to me, including this salary bump scene that’s fairly common for those in my profession. 

This scene is for sure a teachable moment. Watch the clipping of this scene:

 The gist is this – one of the writers, walks in and casually asks his boss for a raise, stating that he’s just had a second baby and he could really use the money and gets fired. Although it’s meant to be funny in the movie, unfortunately, it happens all the time in real life, which a lot of you may have experienced.

While in real life it’s not likely to be as dramatic as losing your job, it will most certainly gain you the reputation of being a whiner. Why is this a bad approach? And what should you be doing? Read on…

As reasonable as it may seem for an individual to state domestic reasons (baby or marriage or any other) for an increment, it is far from reasonable. Simply because, it has absolutely nothing to do with the individual’s contribution or value add or performance to the role and organization. 

Then, by this logic, our pay structures will have to be determined based on how big one’s family is.
This is what I would recommend as an alternative approach: 

1. Objectively review your performance against your goals/OKRs
2. List out your contributions during this period that are beyond the set deliverables
3. Evaluate the value you bring to your team, this role, and the organization at large
4. Build a credible case on your potential, how future-ready are you, to contribute toward the growth of the organization

The overall attitude of entitlement that was portrayed by the character be it with the casualness or broaching the conversation out of context is another fail.

My recommended approach is to be prepared and preempt this conversation a few months before the increment cycle at your organization for two reasons. One, most organizations work on a budget and a schedule to deploy the budget so it’s easier to get what you ask for (or closer to your ask) than when it is out of turn. And two, when you showcase your worth before the decisions are made, you have given your manager more time to continue this thread, rather than during the rush hour of the appraisal season. And in turn they have more time to think on it along with data points that you have already provided them with.

Finally, should you do it?

Definitely, with an appropriate rationale, you should totally raise the issue of your raise! 

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