Do you want to make more money?
Trick question. I mean, who says no to that?
But let’s be honest here, people. There are easy ways to make money, and there are hard ways to make money.
The hard ways include spending a decade of your life in school before becoming a cardiologist, or working your way up the investment banking ladder.
But even if your career pays less than a hedge fund manager, you can still make more money.
The problem is, you’re going to have to ask for it.
The Simplest Way to Make More Money: Ask for a Raise at Work
The mere thought of asking for a raise brings a lump to my throat and a racing sensation in my belly. But it’s true. If you ask for (and get!) a raise, you can increase your salary by 10-15%, simply by having a conversation.
Of course, anything this simple can’t be easy. The devil, of course, is in the details. You can’t just walk into your boss’s office and demand more money. Well, I suppose you could, but you wouldn’t want to do that. You want to have a plan in motion — a series of actionable steps you can take that’ll empower you to ask.
Follow these steps, and let me know how the conversation went!
1. Look back in time.
How long has it been since you and your boss have discussed pay? If it’s less than three months, file this article away for later.
2. Make a list.
What have you accomplished since the last time you talked about money with your boss? Write every major win down.
3. Be realistic.
Not every job can give you a pay increase. You have to know whether yours is one of them. Have things been going well at work? Is the bottom line of your company improving? Look for cues like those, because if your company has a hiring freeze or has given other indications of financial trouble, you should not be asking for a raise.
4. Understand what you want.
Is it more money? What about a flexible schedule, where you work from home on Fridays? Remember, it’s not just the money that’s negotiable — it’s all the intangibles, too.
5. Set an agenda, and give your boss a heads up. Get on his or her calendar.
“I’d like to talk with you about my performance. Is next Tuesday a good time?”
6. Speak slowly and use as few words as possible.
Extra words are for the less confident. Speak strongly, be confident, and don’t over-explain. The person who speaks the least has the most control in this situation.
7. Keep your expression neutral.
Don’t be combative. Make the request similar to asking for a new printer or something else you need.
8. Ask for what you want, maybe a little more.
If you want to give them room to negotiate, extend your ask by a little. The phrase, “ask for as much as you can while maintaining a straight face,” helps some, because if you ask for too much, you end up looking like the cat that ate the canary.
9. Be friendly, but don’t back down.
Make this the kind of conversation that doesn’t turn into a battle of wills. You’re asking for something that you want, and your boss will entertain your thoughts and ideas. Don’t be rude, but also don’t waffle.
10. Smile and say thank you.
No matter the outcome.
If your boss says no, remember that every answer teaches you something. Is it time for you to move on? Or should you ask again in three months?
Have you negotiated your salary lately?
Image courtesy of Yoe