My annual review is coming up at my job, and I typically get a cost-of-living increase to go along with it. It's not a huge some of money, but I do appreciate the fact that my salary has increased each year I have been with the company, while other people have no job at all.

Getting the cost-of-living increase is no big deal. It's pretty much automatic after the review and it has been determined I have done a good job during the previous year, which I always have. I have also received other pay increases after speaking with the boss and stating the case that my work is actually worth more to the company, and (luckily for me), he agreed.

But now, times are tough, in general. As we hear on the news each day, the U.S. is in the midst of TheWorstEconomicCrisisSinceTheGreatDepression (I was trying to come up with a catchy name for our current recession, but this is what it's usually called). Are employees fooling themselves by asking for a raise NOW? The answer is: it depends. There are a few ways of approaching your employer on the subject of pay raises, even with the current cloud of uncertainty in our economy.

Do your best work. This means more that what is usually expected of you. If you have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, you're a keeper as far as The Boss is concerned.

Let The Boss know YOU have done the heavy lifting. It's all well and good that you landed the big account at work, or came up with an idea to save the company big money, but it means little if The Boss doesn't know who should get the credit. I can't tell you how many times in the past co-workers and my immediate supervisors have passed off my ideas as their own. I don't mean you should run into your boss's office to brag about yourself, but do keep a paper trail and be prepared to use it when you negotiate a pay increase.

Think about compensation other than cash. OK, so maybe there have been some layoffs at work, but you feel you are still due some compensation for working 10 hour days and getting results. If the company can't fork over more money, ask about an increase in vacation time, sick days, flexible work schedule, tele-commuting from your house one day a week, if it's feasible. Maybe you just want a better office or a longer lunch break. Employers want to keep their best workers, and they may be willing to consider it.

Consider a promotion with a raise to come later. If the company has put a freeze on salaries, try for a promotion. Perhaps you could be bumped up the company ladder, given a better title and the ability to move into a bigger office with your own reserved parking space, with the understanding your salary will increase at a later date to be agreed upon (in writing) by you and your employer.

Consider waiting. Maybe you work for a company that has just laid off 1,000 employees. OK, now may not be the best time to ask for a raise, but you can keep a file and build your case that you are worth more money when things do improve at your place of work. If worse comes to worse and YOU are the one being laid off or your company goes under, you'll have compiled a good list of achievements to place on your resume.


  1. Frugaller // January 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

    Good luck with getting a raise

    I know a lot of companies in the UK are using the recession as an easy way not to give annual pay increases - no matter how robust their finances are.


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