I Asked For More Money and My Boss Said No -- Now What??

By Joyce Huber

Negotiating for a raise is one of the toughest and trickiest skills to learn on any job. It's almost as difficult as learning the job itself. But anyone can breach this task successfully if they approach it correctly and prepare. Planning ahead is the best way to be successful in asking for a raise. But be prepared if the boss says no, and learn how to react appropriately when it occurs.


As the saying goes, 'timing is everything,' and that applies to when it is appropriate to ask for a raise. Generally speaking, raises are awarded once a year and it can follow an annual performance evaluation. So, it would be a bit pushy to ask for an increase after just a few months on the job when you are still in the learning curve. It's important to understand what your company's policy is in order to plan the timing of your salary increase request.


When you were first hired, hopefully you received a clear understanding of your job performance expectations. An important question to ask is "How do you evaluate job performances?" With this information, you now have a road map to performance that will not only get you noticed but also get you a raise. The time to start planning for a raise is immediately. This means performing well every day and periodically asking for feedback and recommendations. Your value to the company begins on the first day of the job.

According to Forbes, there are some industries that are more prone to giving raises. These include high tech jobs and jobs in the finance field. But even in these areas, each company is different. Although Forbes reports that compensation in the U.S. is on the rise, there may be a wage freeze at your company.


Departments all have budgets to work with during the year, and that includes money for salaries. The aggregate amount is set well in advance, but how the salary budget is distributed among department employees is up to the boss. If you want a bigger chunk, you need to understand that, first, there are limitations based on budget; the average increase amount is 5 percent. Second, you need to really impress your boss if you expect more.


Let's say you have done everything right so far. Now the time has come to ask for the raise. Two key areas of importance to most companies that also determines your value is making money and saving money for the company. Your accomplishments and increased skill levels should be documented and kept in a file throughout the year. This is important information to have in order to present your value proposition to your boss. If you have gone well beyond job expectations in some areas, make sure you save all the details. Don't just assume your boss already knows.


And now we come to the part when your have done your homework, documented and presented your value to the boss, and the boss says no. Now what? Here are some tips on how to proceed from this point.
  • Ask for an explanation: Whether or not you can get around the no is determined by the reason for the rejection. If there is a wage freeze and no one is getting raises, that's good to know. If you got a really good deal when you were hired and are already at the top of your pay range, that's good to know, too. This leaves the matter open to find out how you get to the next pay range.
  • Remain positive and professional: Most importantly, always remain calm, positive and professional when the answer remains no. There is an expression, "Sales begins when the customer says no," and this applies to negotiations for salary increases. Maintaining a positive rapport with your boss will set you up for consideration the next time and certainly impress the boss.
  • Ask what you can do to earn a raise: Being told no doesn't necessarily mean you have to wait another year for a raise. Find out when budgets are determined and ask what you can do to earn a raise. For example, if you have a plan that will save money in other areas, this can pave the way for more money to be allocated toward your salary.
  • Have a firm agreement for next time: Be sure to reach an agreement with your boss on what is going to occur next. This includes when you agree to meet again to discuss salary. It can also include the salary increase you both agreed upon. The point is to have a plan in place when you leave the boss's office.
  • Don't give up: Rejection is difficult, but it's also a learning experience. Learn how to react to rejection in a positive way that will not only prevent you from being discouraged but actually motivate you to win that raise on your next attempt.

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