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Ask for that Raise!

Jul 24, 2008
For nine years Jeff worked for company G as an engineer. Flying airplanes was his first love. His job came in a close second place. That changed when Jeff met Judy. Their relationship quickly turned serious and they married.

When Jeff and Judy sat down to do financial planning as a couple, Judy learned Jeff's salary was surprisingly low. With a human resource background, Judy knew the salary range for Jeff's type of work, and what his credentials were worth. Jeff was seriously underpaid.

Jeff was shocked and somewhat crestfallen. His attitude was, I'm lucky to do what I love AND GET PAID for having fun! As Jeff began to understand his market value he felt betrayed. Had he been duped? Had he been a fool for years? Was his company taking advantage of him? He wanted to keep his job. Asking for a raise was painful. The idea of asking for a 30% raise was excruciating!

With a wife and future family it was time for Jeff to pay attention to his compensation. Jeff sat down to write out his request. He was flooded with anger, frustration, fear of hearing no 'raise for you', and possibly the prospect of looking for another job. He felt disloyal yet asking to be paid a fair marketplace value was good business, not disloyalty. With a tug of war going on in his head, Jeff stayed focused on the conversation that would impact his future.

When he sat down with his boss Jeff got to the point. "I have worked here for nine years. My reviews have consistently been good to great. I've worked in several departments and handled every task assigned to me, competently. I love my job and have been very happy working here. I feel I'm underpaid and I am requesting a raise of $xx,xxx. I realize that's a 32% increase, however, I believe that's what my value is at this time. I know you need time to talk with upper management. When can I expect an answer?"

Jeff's boss was dumbfounded. Jeff was asking for seven times what their typical raise amount was, yet he sensed Jeff had a fresh understanding of his value and was dead serious. Jeff did not cloud his request with emotion, accusations, or justifications. Jeff did not threaten to leave if he did not get the raise. He stated his position and was specific about his needs.

Caught off guard, his boss simply said, "I hear you. Give me 48 hours to get you an answer." The next 48 hours were agonizing for Jeff and Judy. Finally, Jeff was called into his boss' office. "After careful consideration we are prepared to offer you $xx,xxx. That's a 30.5% increase. Will that work?"

Now Jeff was dumbfounded. He was thrilled he had made the request. "Yes. That works fine. When will it start?" was Jeff's response.

Jeff had newfound respect for himself and his credentials. He did what was right in his mind for his future. He had created an effective message. He spoke in words that were comfortable for him. Emotions could have derailed his request but Jeff was careful to check his statements against the one principle and edit out any ineffective comments. Negative messages can trigger resistance, or resentment. Jeff disliked conflict and was proud of his behavior.

We all live complicated lives. Using proven communication tools is easy when we simply get to know them. When we communicate effectively, we are able to omit ineffective tactics, knowing they are likely to foil our efforts.

Communicating well gives you an advantage. You can create outcomes that move your life forward and get your needs met consistently.

This is a true story. You too can address sensitive issues effectively. With one, easy to remember principle and ten communication skills, you can express your truth in your unique way, and know you said the right thing.
About the Author
Kimberly Schenk has over 25 years experience in business. She created a simple communication method out of necessity. She shares her successful method with everyone who wants to see more of their needs met in her eBook, Mighty Mouth. Mighty Mouth
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