How NOT to Get a Raise at Work

Money makes the world go round. At least that’s what we seem to think. So when you go to work, the big reason is most likely to earn money. And you want to get as much money for your work as you can. Therefore it seems logical that you want to learn how to get a raise at work. But what if you are trying your best, and you just aren't getting anywhere?

How Not to Get a Raise at Work

You feel like you work hard and you deserve that raise. After all, they gave Dave a big raise and a promotion and everyone knows he's not half as smart as you. So why not you?  What did he do that you didn’t do?.  You did everything they asked you to do and you always do. You‘re a model of consistency, you show up every day on time and you never miss a day. What’s the heck is wrong with them? Can’t they see you need a raise?

Well, let’s face it. Either you’re not doing something right, or they (those guys with the fancy suits and big offices) are doing everything wrong. My bet is on the former.

Here’s a primer on how not to get that raise at work!

1. You aren’t being taken seriously

People always say that’s it great to have a personality in the office. You know…the life of the party and a friend to everyone. Well, sometimes you can go just too far. You never want to be such an extreme that you are being viewed as someone who can’t ever be serious. You can’t make a joke out of everything. You shouldn’t be the first one to make light of a tough problem. You don’t have to be the first person out the door to lunch or the last person to get to that 4 o’clock meeting. It’s fine to be friendly and personable when it’s appropriate, but there are times when your shoulder must be at the wheel and you need to make it known that you take your work seriously. Show the boss that your attitude is in the same direction as the business' wind and you’ll be noticed for that. Coming in early and staying a little late occasionally when the pressure is on speaks volumes where being on time every day says, thanks for doing just what we expect!

2. You do what’s expected and just what’s expected

Just like showing up on time every day, doing just what your job requires is viewed as “adequate” by most employers, In today’s world, you have to go the extra yard to be really noticed and appreciated. In almost every job environment, there are opportunities to contribute solutions, suggestions, and think outside the box. This isn’t because you are a rebel, but on the contrary, you are showing how valuable you can be. Even when your ideas aren’t used, they still make the impression you want to make and that is the goal as much as the solution might be.

3. You aren’t a team player

If you work for someone else, 1 or 100 others, you are a part of a team. That simply means you care, communicate, and work well with others. If you had comments on your report card in school that said other than that, you will need to change your tune to get ahead at the job. Think of people rowing a lifeboat. They all need to be coordinated or that boat is going nowhere fast. Is that you?

4. You haven’t become more valuable

If you notice, some people are constantly gaining new skills and experience either in the office or outside by taking courses, certifications, and just learning new skills in general that can help them become more valuable at work. That should be you. The more you become an asset, the better the chances you will earn more. There are chances and opportunities that will come up and when they do, you need to be ready for it. Even if doesn’t immediately pay off, it will down the road. You become a viable candidate for increased responsibilities and salaries.

5. You didn't brag

When you achieve some success in your job performance, make sure in the appropriate way, you get the credit. I’ll call it bragging but essentialy it means letting people know you had a role in some problem solving. How? You can simply write yourself a note and keep a record of it to use at an annual review session or even better, discuss it (ok, brag about it) with your co-workers and supervisors to reaffirm your role and contributions. They have an old saying, “it’s not bragging if it’s true”!

6. You made it personal

If you deserve, want, need, and must have a raise, never make it personal. The company isn’t interested in the fact that your kid just started college, you need to pay off your credit cards, or that you want to go to Tahiti to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary. They do care about the business, so that’s what you need to focus on and the reasons that you get that raise should be all and only business related.

7. You didn't give them a reason

Remember I said write it down when you make a contribution? Well, this is the time to pull out your list of accomplishments when you sit down to talk about your job performance and raises. Don't necessarily wait for your annual performance review, or raises may already be decided. Be straight forward and honest and document what you did and what it meant to the business and your boss. Simply being Mr. or Ms. Dependable and doing “your job” won’t move the needle in the direction you want it to go.

8. You just didn't ask

The number one reason that you won’t get that raise at work is as obvious as the nose on your face. You didn't ask! If you have done the items in this list well then now is the time to move to the head of the class and make your case. It’s my experience that tells me that your supervisor will go to bat for you if you are doing everything the right way. Don’t think that the percentages are against you and that “no one is getting a raise.” That’s not true in 99% of the cases and if it is, then some other form of compensation may be in the offing. Things like added vacation time, or company paid courses. Or a new job title with a new pay scale. Companies never want to lose star players and if you have become a star you want to be recognized for it. It’s not about ego, it’s about the money. You remember money don’t you? It’s that reason you're working.

As you can see, whether or not you get a raise at work is mostly up to you. Sure, your supervisor might say the group is only getting a 2% increase this year, but that might not be across the board. In other words, some might get nothing while others get 5%. Make sure you're in the group that's getting what they deserve. And if you're in business for yourself, most of these still apply. Make yourself valuable to your clients and then ask for that increased rate. Whatever you do, just don't settle for adequate.

Have you prepared yourself for a raise? What are you doing right not to make it happen?