Fribble Get a Raise Without Begging

By (Britt Isaac)
August 10, 2000

I wish someone would tell me why I should empathize with a co-worker who leases a $450 a month, two-door Ford Explorer, parties in Ybor City at least three times a week and regularly treats herself to acrylic manicures. Does she sound like someone to be pitied?

This co-worker, who plays receptionist whenever she decides to show up at the office, is just begging to be fired. And yet, she complains that she deserves a raise to $10 per hour for answering the telephone.

Now, although I see a serious problem with this reasoning, I know she is not alone.

People walk into their boss's office with the attitude "if you pay me more, I'll work harder."

It just doesn't work.

If you want to get a raise, earn it. Learn a new software program, or make suggestions that will save the corporation money. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to show your boss what a bargain you are. Become indispensable, and then go in for the kill. Just when your boss thinks life is good and nothing can go wrong, it is time to make your move. Walk into his or her office and shut the door. Don't threaten to quit or hint that you've had other offers. Just make a list of what you do that makes you a bargain, and ask for the money.

If you don't get your raise, don't sabotage your job by moping or shredding reams of company letterhead. You have two possibilities. Maybe you need to work harder -- you overestimated your contribution to the company. Arriving 15 minutes late each morning but volunteering to wash the windows probably isn't going to get you a raise. It's not so much what you do to make yourself more valuable, it is how it affects your boss.

The second possibility you must consider is that your boss is cheap, and he or she would rather see your fingers raw and bleeding from typing than give you more money. Then quit. Don't pack up your desk and walk out. Instead, start to explore possibilities elsewhere. But don't burn your bridges. Even the cheapest bosses can be really good references.

People don't seem to understand that your boss doesn't really care about your six kids at home. Yes, he wants them to be happy so you are happy, but only because happy employees work harder. Your boss doesn't care that your rent was just raised or you were late Monday because your car broke down, costing you $687.

Face it, businesses are about money. Your boss cares about the bottom line. And he or she will rarely pass up a good deal that comes in a nice, tidy, reliable package.

We need to get over this ridiculous idea that we are entitled to show up to work whenever we want, pick up our paychecks, and hit the mall. Discretionary income is not a birthright. We are not entitled to money for movies, manicures, or brand-new cars. We are, however, entitled to equal pay for equal work, compensation for the hours we work, and minimum wage.

And nowhere in the Constitution does it say the right to pursuit of happiness is guaranteed at any cost. Nor does the Constitution say we are entitled to free or subsidized medical care.

My coworker has complained for months that she could not afford our company's medical insurance. It isn't cheap, at over $100 per month. But she can still afford those "go get it girl" nails.

When my co-worker gets sick, she plays the martyr and arrives at work, bleary-eyed and sniffly, to infect the rest of us. She spends the day with her head practically resting on her desk, and looks up, moaning when someone walks by. She says it's all because our mean boss won't give her a raise to cover her medical insurance, so she doesn't have any. Yet suddenly, by Friday at 5:00 p.m., she is able to muster the energy to head out for a few margaritas before hitting Ybor.

By Monday, she's had a relapse.

Now, those "go get it girl" nails cost her about $25 per week, according to her estimate. That money could easily pay for her medical insurance, and she would probably be well enough to actually enjoy partying on the weekends.

She's such a victim. A regular sob story.

If you're thinking about asking for more money or maybe better benefits, just earn it. People have been doing it for years, and I promise, it doesn't hurt.