Girl, Get Yourself a Raise!
I was scrolling Instagram, as I normally do at 3am after waking up from the recurring nightmare I’ve been having since November 8th, and I noticed an account I follow called “Betches” was promoting “National Ask for a Raise Month”. My first response thought was “Mother of God please let me fall back asleep,” followed by, “Ask for a Raise Month? Hell yeah, I can get on board with that!”
I know I’ve got some dudes reading this, and by all means I hope you take these tips and apply them to your own careers, but I really want to take this opportunity to address my fellow Queens, Kweens, Lady Bosses, Bad Bitches, Nasty Women, and Beyonces. We need to do our part to close the wage gap. This means we’re going to have to put our big girl pantsuits on and ask for what we deserve. This means no more apologizing for being bold. Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted. You determine your value, and girl, that value should be limitless.
To improve your financial situation you can go one of two ways. You either decrease expenses or increase income. Most people would prefer the latter. So if you’re going to stay at your current company, how do you make more money? You ask for a raise of course! If you’re a woman you’re probably already making 20% less than your male peers, so why not at least try to pull even!? Wait, no scratch that, get the money you freaking deserve. If you deserve more than your peers (male or female), then you damn well better ask for it.
How do you ask and ultimately receive the raise you deserve? Well, it takes some prep on your part. No one is going to willingly approach you and hand you money, unless you’re Oprah or an exotic dancer.
Step 1: Prepare Your Case
You better have some terrific reasons to back up your case for a raise. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you deserve a raise? What have you done that’s added value to the company? What projects did you complete or lead? How have you displayed leadership and initiative? What are your goals within the company? How have you challenged yourself within your current role?
Write these answers down, know them by heart, and present them to your boss when he/she inevitably ask a form of the question: “So why do you think you deserve a raise?”
Step 2: Know Your Worth
What are people with your title, responsibilities, and experience earning at your company as well as other companies? Come prepared with some evidence as to why you deserve as much (or more) than folks with comparable duties. Glassdoor.com and salary.com are not bad places to start. It’s crucial to go into your meeting knowing exactly what you want for a salary and benefits. The more specific you are, the better. If you find yourself in a negotiating position, know what your goal is and what your limits are, don’t be afraid to communicate these items either.
Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice
There’s no shame in rehearsing what you want to say to your boss. I would also recommend practicing your response if they say no, or if they decide to negotiate with you. How will you handle it? Write down your best responses and practice saying them out loud and with confidence. Fake it till you make it, baby!
Step 4: Ask on a Good Day
You probably don’t want to ask for a raise on a day when projects are due or the boss is finalizing their divorce. Try to pick a time that works well for all parties involved. Ask for a closed-door meeting, don’t be an Awkward Andy and ask for a raise in front of other co-workers.
Step 5: Have the Confidence of Ru Paul on a Runway
Writer Sarah Hagi once tweeted, “Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man” and LAWD HAVE MERCY did that resonate with women across America. Ladies, don’t you dare allow yourself to suffer from imposter syndrome any longer. You are in the position to ask for a raise because you work hard, are capable, and add tremendous value to your company. You are just as good, if not better, at what you do than your peers. Even if you don’t quite believe it, you should present yourself in a way that makes others feel your power.
When you sit down for your meeting with the boss, be cognizant of your posture. Display professionalism in every aspect of your being, this includes speaking in a clear and confident tone.
Step 6: The Power of Positivity
Not only should you be repeating positive mantras in your head in the days leading up to your meeting, but you should also be speaking well of your company. After all, you are about to ask them for a raise. While actually asking for the raise, be sure to remain positive, you nor your employer want to be left with a bad taste in the mouth.
I’m a huge nerd for self-improvement books. I’ve read them all. From Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin, Deepak Chopra, and a million others; if they wrote a self-help book there’s a solid chance I read it in a year I got dumped. The common factor in most of these books is the power in positive thinking. I’ve really come to deeply believe the energy I put out in the world will be reciprocated. I also believe how I react to negative events and energy will shape my reality. For example, if I get turned down for a raise, it would be so easy to dwell on the bad (i.e. my boss is a dick, I suck at life, I don’t deserve a raise, I’m an idiot). Instead, I allow myself one day to throw a pity party, and then I reshape my perception of the negative (i.e. What can I learn from this? How can I improve my approach or skills? What other companies might find value in me where my current one doesn’t?)
Sometimes my friends think I get too philosophical, which is very true if I’ve had any alcohol. So I’ll just put it this way: negative people have shitty lives and things rarely go well for them. Positive people have awesome lives because they shift bad into better, and are grateful for the good. Apply this principal to your work and professional life and you’ll thrive.
Step 7: Assume the Position…No, Not That Position
I want you to watch this Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy.
Before you go to work on the day you ask for the raise, stand in your mirror in a power position. Make yourself as big as fucking possible. I’m talking arms in the air, head held high, feet at least shoulder width apart. Stand like this for at least two minutes. If you watched the Amy Cuddy video, you’ll know there’s science behind power posing, and it will make you feel more confident. Power pose until you can’t power pose anymore! This is your day! Get that raise and celebrate!
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