Friday, May 20, 2011

Is 3% really worth it?

One time I went into a meeting about my annual raise and saw 1.85% on the paper. The sad part is that 1.85% was one of the highest raises anyone got in the group; my manager had to fight to get that much. That came out to $23.13 a week more before taxes or roughly $14 more a week in my pocket. At that point I decided my dignity was worth more than $14 a week.

The counter-reasoning to that is I got $14 more a week than I had before so I should be happy and it is true $14 is more than $0. But at some level self-respect has to be worth more or we find that we have sold ourselves... cheaply.

So do your job, do it well but only because you want to not for a raise. You negotiate for a raise based on good results but in today's corporate world if the bean counters tell the company they have to average a 3% raise across the board there is little you can do at the annual review to change it. What you can do is off cycle make a case for yourself, maybe find another offer to lend strength to it and then go in with the leverage necessary to get something more substantial than 3%.

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