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I need advice for work. My three year work anniversary is coming up and I would really like to ask for a raise but am uncertain if I should. I have never asked for one. On my one year anniversary, I was on maternity leave and figured that it was a bad time. Then last year, the real estate market was terrible and I knew my boss wasn't making much money. This year is even worse, he isn't even making enough some months to cover my current salary, although he pays me anyway with his savings. I kind of feel like 3 years with no raise is crazy and I know that he has always given one to past employees when they asked him for one - but of course, he was making A LOT more money. I also make commission for the deals we do close and we are hardly closing any now, which also affects my overall pay (and his). I work really hard and really deserve a raise but I work for an individual, not a corporation, and I know that he is struggling as it is. Should I ask for a higher commission on sales? Should I ask for any raise at all? Should I just consider myself lucky that he never cuts employees, I still have a job and leave it at that?”

4 replies so far...

  • Thanks for your replies! They have definitely helped. I think that the through line of everyone's response is that I need to have open dialougue with him about this. I am going to wait until the end of the month, though, because my son was sick last week and I was out a couple of days and I have strep throat this week and have had to take off yesterday and today. I figure its probably not a good time to discuss this when I've had to take so much time off for sickness! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 11th August 2009

  • It is critical, especially in this economy, to sell your value to your employer and to have honest dialogue. It sounds like your conscious of the factors that may impact his ability to give you a raise. Most employers/managers have an annual or quarterly review to discuss strengths and opportunities for development with each employee. If this forum exists, then the employer or manager discusses raises or cost of living increases there. If you haven't had an annual review each year to highlight progress, you may consider asking to meet after doing a little homework. I would put together a summary of accomplishments over the past 3 years; Highlighting any projects or successes that have contributed to the success of his business. Quantify the value you add to his bottom line/profitability with big wins, money you saved him by going above and beyond etc. I would evaluate what the market is doing in your field for salary/commissions to see if you're on the bottom, middle or top of the curve. If your salary is already above the norm, it will be difficult to justify a raise. If you haven't even received cost of living increases each year and you're on the low to mid curve, that is a conversation worth having. I would present these to him, let him know that you understand we're in a challenging economy. Perhaps he's not aware that he hasn't given raises for performance or perhaps he really doesn't have the cash flow. If he can't afford to give you a raise, perhaps he can offer different incentives...more flexible work schedule, shortened work week for the same pay (you would need to demonstrate how you will sustain success with this), more perks (free coffee or sodas if those aren't available, a free gym membership for a year), or perhaps if you sell above and beyond your goal, you get an extra bonus...perhaps a higher percentage of the sale. I'm sure there are others ideas but if you are proactive in providing a solution, it will be a win-win for everyone. Good luck!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by CoffeeChick1 on 10th August 2009

  • I agree with with him see how things are before you decide what to do. He can't give you what he doesn't have. Maybe tell him when "things get better" I'd really like a raise. And you are one of the lucky ones with a job, that is a blessing right now.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by eileen b on 10th August 2009

  • Can you just ask how the finances are and then judge whether or not to ask for a raise?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ramseyquipp on 10th August 2009