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CorporateLand: How to Ask For a Raise
Published 10/03/18 by VasiliyZaitzev [0 Comments]

CorporateLand: How to Ask For a Raise

So I’ve been asked to write about “How to Make More Money, Without Leaving Your Current Job”.
The Short Answer: You won’t. The best way to move up, is to move out.
The Long Answer: You can, but….
Corporations are not good at determining employee value. And they’re not really incented to. What they are incented to do is get you to work the most hours they can, for the cheapest price they can, and fuck paying your more.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, a lot of guys who run corporations are douchebags and it’s not enough that they “win” by being overpaid, it’s that someone else must “lose”. That someone, dear reader, is you. Second, it’s just too difficult to figure out how to value you in the market place. Remember, HR is mostly populated by losers. It is the Elephants’ Fucking Graveyard for people with No Talent.1 Where are we gonna stick the “affirmative action hires”? How about HR were they can’t really fuck things up? Yeah, good choice. Srsly, I can’t remember the last place I worked at that had a male head of HR. Or a competent one. /shrugs
The difficulty of valuing you is one reason why HR always wants you to tell them, in the interview, how much $ you are making. The assumption is that your last company got it right, and fuck paying you $10K more if they can get your for $500 over what your last job paid. You’re not a human being, you are a “cost center”.
The economic environment is such that companies have to squeeze the fuck out of costs and the number one cost is employees. This doesn't apply to the C-Suite of course, which is why the C-suite still pays themselves a gazillion dollars while cutting the rank and file.
Some firms, particularly larger ones, will permit employees to transfer, internally. Some of them make it easier, some make it more difficult (the dreaded "Backfill" problem), and some required 2 years in your current job, whereas someone from outside can simply walk in and apply. Thus, I'm not sure it's objectively better, even where internal candidates are "preferred" -- right up until the candidate's boss kills it because the person is too valuable in situ, or just because.
When To Ask For A Raise
If your job responsibilities have changed, whether substantially or enough to warranted it, particularly if you’re underpaid already. I just answered a question for /u/DominantDesign over in askTRP where he got hired at a low rate, successfully demonstrated his value, and had been asked to give presentations on moving the firm over to the new methodology. The time to Get Paid is before he does all the work they want him to do, when he really has them by the short and curlies if they fuck with him. And he should NOT be negotiating off of his current, crap rate, as his responsibilities have changed etc.
If you have closed a shit ton of sales, or if you have developed a new line of business, ask for a bigger cut. Really, though, you need to find a “justifiable reason” for them to “make an exception” to whatever lockstep progression that they have going on.
Because if Clorinda McSmellypussy or Jack Mehoff find out – and they will – that you’re getting a big bump, well, they’re going to want one, too, because they were “hired at the same time” and they get all their work done, and don’t steal office supplies any more. Never mind that you come in at 7:00 and have landed 4 new ‘national accounts’, and they roll in at 9:20 because there was a line at Starbucks. So better if the firm has some “plausible deniability”.
How To Ask For A Raise
Look, if you stay in one place, they’re going to try and give you a shitty 2-3% ~~ “merit increase”~~ COLA because even HR knows that “inertia” is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Most people will put up with known “medium shitty” over unknown anything.
Battles are won or lost before they are even fought.2 So before you go have a sit-down with your boss, you need to do a few thing:
A. Figure out your worth in the marketplace. Use Glassdoor (or whatever), talk to headhunters, and/or go on interviews – that last one gives you the best intel, but you run the risk of burning some bridges.
B. Timing is EVERYTHING. Don’t ask for a raise in the middle of layoffs, or right after you just had a raise.
C. You should be tracking your accomplishments in your current gig, and why you add more value than Wilma Fingerdoo or Hugh Jass-Wanker (without naming them by name, of course; that would be gauche). Be ready to make your case. Also, talk prospectively, not only about what you’ve already done. Point out if you will be taking on new responsibilities in the future.
D. Never Negotiate Out of Fear. This is why it’s better to have a firm offer from somewhere else that you actually wouldn’t mind going to before you commence negotiations. You don’t have to reveal that you have an escape plan, but Have An Escape Plan.
E. Handle money first. If you get a lot of resistance on more cash, or don’t get as much as you want, think about non-cash “compensation”. If you’re up against a hard cap on cash, ask for something else, like an extra week’s vacation. Fuck, you should be asking for this, anyway, because, really, time is the most valuable commodity you have. You can always make more money, but once you spend your time, it’s GONE.
Some “Don’ts”
Let’s imagine that I’m your boss. Let me tell you what I’m thinking:
I DON’T GIVE A SHIT why you “need” a raise. Organize your shit better. Get your fucking bitch wife to SPEND LESS. She’s your problem, not mine.
Don’t tell me WHAT you “deserve”, tell me WHY.
Don’t give me an ultimatum; I might fire you if I’m in a bad mood.
Don’t get emotional, or raise your voice. Be cool, calm and collected. Rehearse this convo 100 times if you need to, to get there.
When To Bail
If the company you’re at isn’t showing you the love you deserve, then pull the ripcord and move on. “But wait Uncle Vasya,” you say, “what if they make me a counter offer to stay?”
Fuck them.
Up the ass.
With a red hot iron poker.
Besides, the “fishing for a counter-offer” strategy really on works once, and thereafter you will always be a bit suspect. Beyond that, why weren't they showing you the love all the way along? Why did you have to threaten to leave? They had plenty of time to take care of you and they only waited until they were going to lose you. Too little, too late, fuck them.
Big Rock Candy Mountain
There is always the possibility that you might find a company that does not have its head COMPLETELY up its ass, but that’s not very likely. Forward thinking just isn’t rewarded all that often, b/c of the tyranny of quarterly reporting.3
The other way is to work for a cool place that promotes you, or at least finds a way to pay you more money. Even if you put in a lot of sweat equity, it's not going to translate in to $ in a scalable way. As an example, some years ago, I did my job all year and someone else's job for half the year. Do you think I got 1.5x my salary? NFW. I did get a nice bump in my bonus, which then became the baseline for my bonus the next year, but in theory I left thousands on the table, although it did ultimately pay off over time. It’s just way easier for the HMFIC to take care of me at bonus time.
Similarly, I did my boss' job for four months while he took some time off. Again, no increase in my base for it, but the CEO really took care of me at bonus time. It's easier for them to do that. Also, I get away with a lot of shit, like not showing up at work, ever. And I could have expensed and elephant that year. I did expense a $300 bottle of wine at lunch and nobody said a goddamned word because the CEO signed off on my expense reports.
The company I work for operates under the “Michaels Model”.4 They find talent, pay above market and then reap the rewards of having skilled, intelligent people who have a lot of “institutional memory” because we’ve all been here for ten years. They also promote from within—I actually got a promotion I didn’t ask for earlier in the year. I don’t actually give a fuck about my title. I prefer that my employer demonstrate its appreciation in 50s and 100s. It also helps that they pay me more than I could likely make on the open market doing what I do, and in better working conditions (i.e. more freedom).
Bottom Line
A. The best way to get a salary bump it to change firms.
B. You can get raises that are worth it where you are now, but it is generally hard as fuck.
C. Prepare, have options, don’t negotiate out of fear and be ready to walk.
D. Remember, the Most Valuable Currency in your Life is TIME.
1 HR is an important function, but seldom is it held in high esteem.
2 Sun Tzu, or some guy like him. Maybe that German guy or some dead Roman general.
3 I used to work at a place where a new CEO came and started cutting HQ staff to “demonstrate” to the field that HQ would make sacrifices too. What he “demonstrated” was that he was willing to fire people “just for show” and that if you were working in HQ and you had options, it might not be a bad time to exercise them. Thus, both the talent level and morale went down the tubes there. But I’m sure he thought it was “good business” or some other bullshit.
4 Or whatever I’ve been calling it up until now.
Tip VasiliyZaitzev for their post.
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