How to Request a Raise

Dear Jean,

Do you have any tips for requesting a raise?  We found out through a survey that what we are paid is way below the average for our occupation.  As an individual, is there anything we can do?

Reply:

Am I right in assuming that your use of the word “we” really means “I”?  A raise is an individual issue.  Please leave the “we” out of any negotiation you may have with your boss.  If your work was done by you, then you are the person to earn the raise.  With the exception of cost-of-living raises, a raise is something you receive because of merit.  It is something you earn.  What have you done to earn a raise?  Write down your accomplishments and share them with your boss.  You and your boss may have totally different opinions of the word accomplishment.  This will be a great time to find out.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start your list.

One more thing:  Survey results can be very misleading.  Perhaps you should do some more research before you decide that you are underpaid based on one source.  Many of these surveys only apply in certain regions or to specific job types that may not be the same as yours even if the title is the same.

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