Monday, August 20, 2007

Didn't Get a Raise, Now What?

In the past couple of weeks I wrote two posts about asking for a raise. The first dealt with ways to ask for another raise, when your raise does not meet your expectations. The second dealt with all the wrong ways to ask for a raise. Today I would like to feature the third post in this series: what to do when your request for a raise is rejected out-right.

There are few things more disappointing or discouraging from a professional perspective than asking for a raise and getting a "No" for your troubles. How do you take that "No" and move forward?

1. Don't Lash Out - the worst thing you can possibly do is react to a "no" by lashing out at your boss or acting out. You are always being evaluated, and your reaction to the bad news is one of those times. Express your disappointment in no uncertain terms, but do it in a dignified and professional manner.

2. Seek Feedback - your best chance of reversing the decision is to understand why it was made in the first place. Is your company having budgetary issues? Are your superiors unhappy with your performance? Did you not achieve certain goals you were expected to attain? The first step to getting what you need, is to understand why you did not get it to begin with. Negative feedback can be a bitch to take, but it is probably the most important type of feedback you can get. Once you know the reason you did not receive the raise, you can plan your next moves.

3. Build a Plan - After you understand the reason you were turned down, you can move to the next step. Act on the information you gained and build a plan to reverse the decision. Speak with your boss candidly and offer a specific set of actions you will take to improve your performance and attain the goals you need to meet. Make sure you include a deadline by which you will meet each of the goals. When you speak with your boss, try to get him or her to commit to supporting your request for a raise if you achieve the targets you laid-out. After you speak with your boss, put your plan in writing and send it to him or her via e-mail. It is amazing how much written documents get taken more seriously than mere conversations.

4. Find a New Place in the Company - it is possible that your current position in the company will not allow you to advance your career or receive the raise you want. If you truly feel that this is the case, and if your organization is large enough to allow such a move, look for a new position within the company. Sometimes all it takes is a new boss or a new set of responsibilities to allow you to take that next step.

5. Find a New Job - moving to a new job is always a risky proposition. For one thing, nothing guarantees that your new company will work out any better than your last one. However, sometimes the only way you will get your dues is by making a move.


plonkee said...

One of the problems with asking for a raise and not getting it, is that the best possible reason is that you are not good enough. I think I'm too chicken to hear that. Anything where it isn't your fault (i.e. you are good enough for a raise) implies that you should certainly look for a new job.

Shadox said...

Plonkee - no feedback is more useful than negative feedback. In fact, whenever I have one of my review meetings with my boss (which I try to have quarterly), I actively solicit constructive criticism. I simply ask: "What can I do to improve my performance?"

I gain two things from this: first, my boss appreciates my effort to improve myself. Second, and in my opinion much more important, I actually learn about things that I should be doing better.

Come time for my annual review, nothing works better than to put on the table a list of items that I was asked to improve, and show how I have been able to achieve most or (hopefully) all of them.

Shake off your fear.

The Happy Rock said...

So when you ask for a raise, and they give you nothing, the problem is finding a new job. I know that I am 10k under market value, and the company won't do anything about it even though I get top 30% of rankings. That is there perogative.

New jobs usually ask for a current pay stub/salary and offer some percentage higher than that. They don't care what market value is usually.

Gordon, the Pay Raise Maniac said...

Well... this isn’t a pleasant experience.
The most important question you have to ask yourself is: Why?
The first thing to do is to find all the possible reasons why you have been rejected.
If someone is rejected, he or she will be angry and disappointed.
Write down (in details) as soon as possible what has happened during the negotiation, because you may forget small but important details.
What I want to emphasize here is that you have to analyze the reasons why you have been rejected.
If you do this seriously and you draw the conclusions, you will have 99% more chances to succeed next time.