So you’ve done it. You’ve built up the courage to have a meeting with your boss to have the dreaded but necessary conversation: You asked for a raise.
And your boss’s response is a no. A flat, quick and simple no.
Maybe he’s not blunt or mean about the no. He may even be kind and listen to you intently before saying something along the lines of:
“I agree, you are extremely hard-working and one of the best on my team. I don’t know what I would do without you, and I agree, you’re overdue for a raise but as you know, [insert here any excuses for not doling out raises.]”
At this point, your confidence has dipped so low you practically have to look away before speaking another word. You feel defeated.
The conversation started out so well, with all the great praise and promise of recognition for your hard work. But then he closed the door—no wait, he slammed it in your face—and he blamed someone else, HR, his own boss, budget cuts, the raise freeze, etc. All outside of his own power so you simply could not argue or even carry on the conversation.
What do you do next when your boss has specifically said that you are ready and overdue for a raise, but he cannot deliver on it?
Stay confident. Don’t show your disappointment (just yet).
Don’t let the refusal crush your self-esteem. Call me crazy but some women—including a younger me—suffer from this!
Ask your boss this question: “That’s great to know. I was not aware of this [insert excuse used] was in effect (or applied in my situation). Can we discuss next steps on how we can work together to make my raise happen?”
Wait. Don’t be tempted to fill the silence with chatter.
Your boss may resort to another excuse but most likely he will give you an answer. Maybe he has to go talk to his boss—or wait until the raise freeze has been lifted or check with HR. Now your job is to come to agreement on when you can check on the situation again.
Don’t give up. Don’t leave his office until you have agreed on a time and date to meet. Then follow up with your boss at the agreed-upon date, unless he has an update for you sooner.
This simple plan sends a strong message to your boss that you are a professional, that you understand this is all about business and that all business is negotiation.
You may have several more conversations with your boss before your raise comes through. You may even realize that this company is not the place for your future, but you will have clarity from your boss sooner or later.
Have faith! Words have power and the right words will get you closer to your career dreams.
-Farnoosh Brock, Business and Career Coach, Prolific Living Inc.