A raise? Trying to get a raise in these tough times feels impossible to most people. Which reminds me of a former home improvement store clerk in Nitro, W. Va. She was accused of improperly discounting $20,000 in merchandise to win a customer's affection. For example, she was caught on a security video selling him a pressure washer worth hundreds of dollars for $3.66, the price of a bag of concrete. This went on for months.
The same thing that got that clerk in trouble -- a discount -- can provide a massive benefit to you. There are things that don't cost your employer much, but that provide a great benefit to you. I'll give you one Don't and three Do's for getting more bang for your bucks from your employer in these cash-starved times. For more, check out Nicole Williams' book "Girl On Top" (Center Street, 2009).
-- DON'T push too hard for cash. Of course, any conversation about a raise should begin by exploring ways to increase your paycheck. You should ask. But the key is to not push the cash button too hard. If your business is struggling, you should back off this quickly and not burn any bridges with your boss. Rather, you should switch gears to see if there are other ways for you to get additional benefits that don't involve cash.
-- DO ask to telecommute or take time off. For most of us, there can be a real value in having more flexibility around working from home or taking time off. Having the room to take a long weekend, see your kids' soccer games or working in your underwear has real advantages. Again, this is not better than cash, but it can be a perk that makes your life a lot better.
-- DO ask for technology. Can you get your company to provide you a phone, computer or some other gizmo that you've been lusting after? Again, this is something that can provide a real benefit to you, and many companies can justify it because it will result in increased productivity for them. That said, you need to be careful to use your company's technology as if the company was always looking over your shoulder, because these days most companies are.
-- DO ask for more education. Company-supported educational benefits have been cut back, but not totally eliminated. Getting tuition support and time off to take classes can be a big win for everyone. Again, the company gets increased skills from a key employee and you get more options to move forward in your career. Explore all training and learning possibilities both through formal channels, such as HR or the training department, and informal channels, such as networking with people you know who are being paid to learn.
Follow these tips and you'll get more benefits from your job without having it blow up in your face like it did for that clerk in Nitro.
DON'T SHOW ME THE MONEY: GETTING A "CASHLESS" RAISE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
-- DON'T push too card for cash.
-- DO ask to telecommute or take time off.
-- DO ask for technology.
-- DO ask for more education.
STATS OF THE WEEK
From the University of Florida and the University of Virginia
Men Do Better When Partners Fail
-- Men who were told their romantic partner had scored in the bottom 12 percent on a test felt better about themselves than those who had partners who scored in the top 12 percent.
-- Female participants showed no such decline in their self-esteem based on their partner's performance.
"It is better to lose the saddle than to lose the horse." -- Italian proverb.