How to Ask For A Raise, Don’t Work For Free

Have you ever heard this in the break room at work, “I am doing the job of 3 people?”

I am sure you have heard it. Heck,  it might even be you saying it. While sometimes our workload may make us feel like this is truly the case, in all actuality it is becoming more and more common to see people absorbing the work of others. This is why it might be time to ask for a raise.

Never work for free. Now there is something to be said in going above and beyond, but working for free – or doing the work of 3 people – is not only hurting you but those around you.

This isn’t new. We have all heard the stories about one account manager doing the job of 3 account managers.

Here is a quick example of how this looks from both an employee and a business perspective:

Employee “A” does the work of 1 for $100 per day.

The company adds additional workload to employee, who is now doing work of 2. Company overheard is still $100, production 200%.

The company adds additional work AGAIN, overheard still remains the same, production is now 300%. Employee hates job but needs it, so speaking up is like being stuck in a hard place and a rock.

What gives?

Why we don’t ask for a raise.

how to get a raise

Recently, I had a friend in the accounting field who had a coworker leave to go to another company. Upper management asked my friend for a favor.

Hey, can you pick up the slack that so and so used to do while we look for his replacement.”

A few weeks go by and upper management is looking for a “suitable candidate.”  Several months later, still no replacement, but the workload is the same. Management catches on… no need to fill the position, one person is doing the job of two.

Ultimately my friend’s hand was forced after months of this. Either he could keep on doing it, find a new job, or ask for a raise? He decided to get a new job. But why didn’t he just ask for a raise?

Maybe it was fear? Doubt? Fear of hearing the word no? Here is why most people won’t typically ask for a raise at work:

1. Fear.

ask for raise fear

Just the feeling of talking to someone who we perceive higher or maybe of a position of authority can be imitating. Then to go ask that person for a raise, well that can be even more intimidating.

2. Debt.

Why would debt make someone not ask for a raise? Sometimes when you need something (money) you are a little less reluctant to do something that might jeopardize you, in this case asking for a raise. Companies and employees are aware that people are replaceable, so having debt can make some less reluctant to “Rock the boat.”


3. Working for Promotions

Maybe there is a promotion (May or may not include a raise) in your future. If you are someone who is on the cusp of a promotion, you might have second thoughts when it comes to asking for a raise. People who have been told they are in line for promotion are reluctant to ask for a raise.

4. Unsure of themselves

At times, employees may feel unsure of themselves or even think they are not worthy of raise. They might feel like they don’t do enough to deserve a raise, so asking for a raise seems out of this world.

Why you should ask for a raise.

Unless you are on a printed payscale that is out of your control (Usually public service professionals) it really doesn’t hurt just to ask for a raise.

Believe it or not, the fact you asked for a raise immediately gives you an advantage. It is a psychological signal to your boss you are bold and courageous. However, aside from the fact that just asking is beneficial, your company would rather give you a raise in most cases then rehire.

Think about it in logical terms, having to hire, retrain, and help someone develop is more work for a company then keeping rock-solid employees on board and happy. Companies know people will job hop for raises so asking for a raise in 2019 is not out of this world.

Not to mention… companies are raking it in.

Have you ever sat and wondered how much money you generate for your company? If you are managing a 6 million dollar account and you make $60,000 a year… well no need to say it, but you can ask for a raise.

Even though you know you should ask for a raise, there are a few tips for asking for a raise that you should consider below.

How to Ask For A Raise 101.

Have you ever heard of the concept of making someone think something is their idea? Well leveraging that same concept, here are some tips for asking for a raise.

how to ask for a raise 101

1. Plant seeds to get a raise.

Don’t read this and ask for a raise tomorrow, instead of plant seeds of a raise, making it seem like it is your bosses idea. Talk about industry benchmarks, mention your spouses raise at lunch, and figure out other ways to fit the idea of a raise in general conversation – just don’t overdo it.

2. Go above and beyond.

Prior to asking for a raise, make sure you are going above and beyond. While you should always be going the “Extra Mile,” just make sure before you ask for a raise you are really showing yourself worthy of a raise.

3. Find ways to add value daily.

In addition to going above and beyond, find a way to add value daily, which is, in general, a good rule of thumb in life. If you are adding value to everyone around you it will be really easy to separate yourself from your co-workers. When the time comes to ask for a raise, the answer should go your way when you add value to the workplace.

Related: How to Ditch The Busy Excuse

4. Book a meeting, just word it appropriately.

Set up a time to talk about your “Performance at work”. Don’t set up a time to ask for a raise. Be an open book, come prepared and dress sharp. On your end, it should be formal, for your boss, let them know it is just something informal you would like to discuss.

5. Communicate effectively to get your raise.

Once you have your meeting effectively communicate why you think you are deserving of a raise. Mention things like, “I look forward to adding value and helping work towards the companies vision.”

Word it so that you are not self-promoting, but make sure to use positional words like when instead of if. For example, “I was wondering when I would be eligible for a raise,” instead of saying, “If I was eligible for a raise.”

The psychology matters.  

6. Be a team player.

Prior to asking for a raise, make sure you are a team player. Just like going above and beyond, when you are a team player it doesn’t go unrecognized. It is easy to give someone a raise who works well with and helps others.

7. Don’t argue if you don't get a raise.

Lastly, if you hear the word no right off the bat, don’t argue. Instead, ask when you could be reconsidered or how could you add more value to be in a position for a raise in the future? Arguing and saying something along the lines of looking for a new job won’t help your case.

Takeaway when asking for a raise.

how to get a raise

If you don't ask they will never know.

I am not sure if that is the exact saying, or if it is even remotely close but if you never ask for a raise you will never know what could have been.

In the “Top 5 Regrets of The Dying,” author Bonnie Ware talks about how one of the biggest regrets people have on their death bed is not living a life true to themselves and working too hard.

So if you find yourself working really hard, it might be time to ask for a raise. Not living a life true to yourself (Going into your boss and asking them for a raise using the seven steps above) can potentially haunt you.

Plan it out, sit down with your employer and ask for a raise. At the end of the day the worst thing that can happen is they tell you NO!

If asking for a raise isn't for you, be sure to checkout, “My $1,000 Side Hustle.”

Q: What tips do you have to ask for a raise?