“I don’t want to change jobs right now.” It was a statement delivered with conviction by my client.
“But I need to make more money. Can you help me?”.
Yes, of course.
This client had been in his current job for a few years, and while he had received salary increases over time, he felt his skills and abilities merited more pay. He just had no idea how to ask for it without painting himself into a corner; annoying (or angering) his manager AND not getting what he asked for (needing to find a new job elsewhere).
He liked the work he was doing, and didn’t really want to leave, but he also found it harder and harder to ignore that his skills had grown, providing more value to his organization then his paycheck reflected.
It’s a stressful place to be. And it happens more often than you think, especially for mid-career professionals who’ve found that “sweet spot” where you’re in a job you really like and it works well for your life, so you stay awhile. Over time the salary increases you’re given may be fair internal to your peers, but are falling short of what the outside labour market offers.
Or worse, someone is hired from outside to do what you do, at a salary greater than yours because your organization can’t secure outside talent without offering more money. Yet your organization hasn’t adjusted salaries (or can’t, or won’t) for those who already work there. Watch for it, sadly this does happen, and the labour market in urban North America is heating up, making this more likely.
Don’t get caught in this spiral. Here’s what you can do to make more money where you work today.
As with any negotiation, asking for more compensation in your role needs to be handled with consideration and care. You need a game plan. Working with a career coach can help keep you from making career limiting moves and improve your odds of getting paid what you are worth. My client and I worked together for a few months, gathering data, positioning his skills and visibility at work and practicing for the series of conversations that ultimately got him what he was looking for.
All of this begins with knowing what you are worth, and balancing your expectations with conviction.
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I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.