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Tips to ask for a raise in a bad economy

November 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Officially, we're out of the recession, but if you ask most Americans, they'll tell you they still feel the pressure of a down economy. There are people still looking for work, so going to your boss to ask for a raise may not seem like a good idea, but experts say it is not necessarily a bad idea. Teasha Kinder said she believed she had paid her dues on the job, pulling late hours and filling in whenever someone asked for help.

"I would always put the extra effort to make sure that I was doing everything I could possible to prove myself," Kinder said.

So when she asked her boss for a raise recently, she got it.

"It's difficult for some people to ask for a raise during these times 'cause they think a lot of people are unemployed, so why should they be asking for more money," she said. "I felt like all the work that I put in, and all the extra work that I took on, and everything that I learned, it was deserved."

Odds are, if you still have your job, you are in a similar situation. With so many jobs cut, more and more workers are doing the job of two or three employees, and in many cases, without extra pay.

"It's precisely when companies aren't spending, aren't under a lot of pressure to dole out a lot of raises, that there's likely to be money available to reward a few employees," said Dr. Shirit Kronzon, a social psychologist.

You could be one of the few rewarded if you can show your boss how you stand out.

"If you can put together a memo, or email even, that outlines all of your accomplishments, it makes it easier for the other side to say yes." Kronzon said.

Something else you need to do is advance research of what others make in similar positions, and that's easier than ever on the Internet.

"It's important to remember that it's not about emotions, it's not about deserving or needing or wanting a raise, it's about presenting a rational case for why you're valuable to your company," said Avi Kamani of GetRaised.com.

That includes information such as how long it's been since you received a raise, what your current salary should be based on your research, how long you've been at the company and what it is you've done.

"Have you completed any major projects? Have you taken on any responsibilities? Have you received new training? Have you completed an MBA or gotten any new licenses?" Kamani said.

And if you don't get the answer you want, put plan B in place.

"Set a timeline for when they can revisit the conversation. Basically, ask your boss if you can revisit it in six months, and ask how you can go about earning your raise," Kamani said.

If your boss says there aren't funds in the budget for a raise, you can also suggest other options, like extra days off or time to work from home, if that's something you consider valuable to you.


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