Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s the age old question that was actually answered before it was even asked. If you really want to know whether the chicken or the egg came first you can find the definitive answer in the first few pages of the Bible.
Now that we have solved that one lets move on to another age old question. What comes first, a raise or the work that earns you one. In other words, when should you ask for a raise?
I should probably admit up front that I have no personal experience in asking for a raise. I have never asked for a raise in my entire career. I have always assumed that whatever employer I was working for paid me some combination of what they thought I was worth and what they could afford to pay me. I’ve always understood that the equation was probably more weighted on the “afford” side then the “worth” side. That’s called business.
I accepted that combination when I accepted the job and so long as the workload or responsibility didn’t change substantially and the company kept paying me, I kept working.
It has never made sense to me to alter the agreement just because I wanted to spend more. I get that a person’s situation can change and they truly need more money to meet their needs. I don’t get the people who think that just because it’s been “a while” since their last raise that they are somehow owed one.
I also know that my personal stance on asking for a raise is just one more way I’m a little different than many people. There are in fact legitimate reasons for some people to ask for a raise. Here’s just a few….
If all your peers at work are receiving raises it may be time to ask for one yourself. If conversations with colleagues and friends have made you aware of the fact the your skills and qualifications are increasing in demand then it’s possible that your compensation should too.
You can do something better than almost anyone else. There are surely lots of people who can do what you can but if you can do it better than most of them then you might consider asking to be compensated better too.
You’re receiving offers from competitive companies that are higher than your current pay. While money isn’t the only consideration it is an important one. There are many valid reasons for staying at your current organization for less money but repeated higher offers may indicate the “market” for your skills has changed. You should strike while the iron is hot and ask for a raise.
You are no longer enjoying your work. NO! This is not a reason to ask for a raise, in fact, it’s a reason to turn one down. If you do not enjoy your work then you are most assuredly not fully engaged. You are still being paid what the company committed to pay you but you’re no longer keeping your end of the bargain.
If you’re a person of integrity then you must either recommit to your work or you must find another job. Receiving full pay for partial work is basically stealing. I know it’s not often thought of that way but that is what it is. If you’re certain that you’ve earned a raise then ask for one but don’t assume a raise will turn a poor work situation into a good one.
You’re not doing anyone any favors, yourself or your company, by staying in a job that you are not committed to performing at your full capabilities. Find another place to work where you can be committed and ask that company for a raise.