I got 3 raises on my job last year – How did I do it?

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Daquella manera
Two words: Don’t settle.It’s your life and your compensation. Put yourself in the situation where you ARE #1 to your boss. Get things done on time, proactively take on projects, support and praise your peers on projects well done, start a new method of doing a certain task, SET the bar at work – don’t just reach it.If your job is something that you don’t desire to do anymore, search for a new job to better yourself. In the meantime, do that job well for that few weeks/months while searching, if nothing comes up, then ask your boss for a raise. You’ve put in the time and effort over the past few months, and they should notice this.Would a raise keep you there? How much of one do you deserve? Shoot high on this number, it is like buying a car, ask for higher than you’re expecting and then fall back to that number you were expecting. It gives your boss the sense that he/she didn’t give in to your demands by giving you exactly what you asked for, and gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you DID get what you wanted by highballing it.

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What I’ve found at work is that people don’t realize that they’re likely worth more than they give themselves credit for.  Seriously, I hear people complain about their salary and the first thing I ask is,
“have you been looking for a new job, where is your resume posted?”
They always come back with the ol’ standbys of:
“I really like the commute” or
“I really like my co-workers” or
“I enjoy the challenges work provides” and those are important things for sure, but before saying those and hiding behind the shield of laziness, ask yourself what amount would make you change your stance.  Would a $2,000 dollar salary increase change your mind about the co-workers?  There’ll be new co-workers at new jobs, new acquaintances, new benefits, new SALARIES.  How about $5,000?  $10,000?  $20,000?  I can almost guarantee that unless you’re making well into the 7 figures you’re willing and able to be bought.  I am; and why shouldn’t I be?  I’m not rich, but I’m more than willing to try a new skill out to further my networking and salary base to improve my lifestyle.

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So how did I, specifically, increase my salary?  I didn’t settle.  Ever since I had my first child, I’ve known that the salary I was making wasn’t going to grow itself, and my expenses were certainly going to be going up in the coming years.  How could I make it by on the measley 3.1% bump in salary per year for cost of living increase?  That 3.1% wasn’t even a guarantee.  I made a conscious effort to follow the rules I said in the first paragraph (with some additions):

1.  I made an effort to ALWAYS have things done on time.
2.  I proactively took on new projects that hit our team.
3.  I support and praised my peers almost to the point of seemingly overkill; but knowledge transfer is a big piece of ANY organization that has multiple people in similar roles.
4. I created a TON of better ways to do tasks at work. Automating several processes that took manpower; yes, I’m aware that I could be automating myself out of a job, but it is quite the opposite. I got RAISES for doing this, and did I lose my job? No, I got a promotion.
5. The bar wasn’t set extremely high when I started, so passing it was easy. But continuing to raise it was the key.
6. This is a big one, and if this was an ordered list of preference, I’d put it at #1, but since it is not… ASK FOR IT. If you never ask or make aware that you want more money, you’re not likely to get what you’re asking for. I set up weekly meetings with my boss to discuss issues, but also made a point of asking what my next step was on the financial ladder. He’d ask if I was happy with my pay, and I’d say that I was “at work” but I could be better. Adding the things that I had and WAS already doing, it wasn’t a hard sell, I figured I was worth it.
7. Keep a list of all the things you do of worth at your job. You’ll forget them 11 months from now when you discuss what you’ve done and why you deserve a raise. Make a big deal of it. I actually elaborated 3 or 4 sentences worth showing the benefits to the team and more importantly the benefits to the business. Keep that list always cooking.

More may come up later but those are big things I used to leverage my raises.  Effectively my salary has gone up 49.88% from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2008 using these methods, and I’m certain I’ll get more than at least the 3% cost of living increase this year as well.

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