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Asking Your Boss for More Money – 5 Scenarios

Getting That RaiseAccording to a recent survey, about 39% of professionals in the US get very nervous before asking for a pay raise. Some nervousness when approaching your boss to ask for a raise is normal. But it’s important to remember that talking about money and benefits with your boss is just part of being a professional.

Besides looking at the situation impersonally and professionally, if possible, you can quell some of that anxiety by playing out these five possible scenarios in your head before the big event. These five scenarios are pretty much the only options for what your boss will say when you ask for a pay raise. Thinking through your possible reactions to these scenarios can help you remain cool, calm, and collected during a pay raise meeting with your boss.

1. “No.”

Of course, this is the answer you least want to hear when it comes to asking for a pay raise. But, for whatever reason, you may actually get this answer. So consider what your options are if your boss turns you down flat when you ask for a raise.

Will you seek out a new position? Tackle an important project and ask again in a few months? Perhaps you’ll start your own business? The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as unemployment for blacks is disproportionately up right now, many are starting their own business, and this may be an option you want to consider.

2. “Not right now.”

Sometimes, your employer just doesn’t have the cash or you don’t quite have the experience necessary for a pay raise. If your boss tells you that you can’t have a raise “right now,” try to push for some specifics on the reasons why.

Politely and professionally ask what it will take for you to get a raise. Do you need to take on more responsibility? Tackle a new project, or come up with your own angle on an existing one? If it’s just an issue with the business’s available funds, try to get some information on when you could expect to hear about a raise in the future.

The key here is to get details without being too pushy, and certainly without being impolite.

3. “Can we talk about this in two weeks?”

It’s important to make an appointment with your boss any time you want to ask for a raise. But sometimes even when you make an appointment for a meeting, the time isn’t right for your employer to figure out whether or not she can get you a raise. Whether she’s in the midst of a big project or a crisis has recently come up, she may just not be able to discuss money at the moment.

So if your boss puts you off, ask for a set time to meet again within the next two to three weeks. In the meantime, you can work on polishing up your portfolio and creating a great argument as to why you deserve a raise!

4. “Let’s negotiate.”

In today’s economy, more businesses are offering alternative perks to raises, when they can’t afford to actually pay their people more. Before you go into your negotiations, think about other job perks that might be worth your while – even if these perks don’t necessarily result in more money in your bank account.

If your boss can’t give you a raise but is willing to work with you to make sure you’re happy with your job, consider negotiating for some of these other potential perks:

  • A more flexible schedule
  • Childcare or education credits
  • A company credit card to pay for eligible business expenses such as a Chase Ink card
  • A company car to minimize wear and tear on your personal car
  • Recognition
  • More independent assignments
  • Job assignments that will polish up your résumé
  • Representing the company at conferences or high-profile events

Sometimes these perks will benefit you more than they’ll cost your employer, so you can get many of the same benefits as a raise (higher quality of life and better job satisfaction) without actually getting money. But be sure if you more responsibility is one of your perks, you and your boss will revisit your compensation down the road.

5. “Yes.”

Obviously if your boss agrees to a raise, you’ll want to figure out details. And then, you’ll definitely want to take time to celebrate your boost in income!

Yes, asking for a raise can be terrifying, especially for black employees, who have much higher unemployment rates than the average (13.6% compared with 8.2% overall in May 2012) and don’t to annoy their current employer. But remember, asking for a raise when you’re doing a great job and bringing excellent value to the table is just part of being a professional. And preparing for these five possible scenarios before you even ask can make the process easier and less nerve-racking.

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