Dealing with the Raise You Didn’t Get
Sometimes employees enter a performance review or similar meeting with a boss with dollar signs dancing in their head. Perhaps the worker has recently completed an important project or taken on extra duties that would seem to merit an increase in pay. Maybe she’s heard colleagues talk about getting a fatter paycheck, is reaching a milestone work anniversary, or simply feels she’s due.
When expectations aren’t met, it is natural to be upset. Oftentimes, the disgruntled person reacts in one of two ways – lashing out or stewing quietly. Needless to say, neither method benefits a career.
“In this situation, perhaps a ‘time-out’ is the best strategy,” says Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. “Rather than reacting in the moment and possibly saying something awkward or making a decision that you or they will regret, take a day or two for thoughtful reflection and strategy.”
If you have the presence of mind to ask in the moment, request the opportunity to discuss the matter further at a later time. If not, don’t be afraid to approach the subject again when you feel capable of handling the conversation – but do so sooner rather than later.
“Taking more than a few days to follow up will diminish the potential to influence the decision makers. It is no longer an important item for them, and your lack of urgency suggests that it is not so critical to you either,” says Cohen.
When you do meet, be ready to ask important questions. How was the raise (or lack of one) determined? Were there any performance issues? Ask for clarification as necessary, and outline steps to address matters that impacted the monetary decision. Be ready to back up your case with concrete evidence of productivity and value.
While the end result may or may not be satisfying, additional knowledge can help going forward. You may walk away with a better understanding of the company’s compensation system, a clearer picture of job expectations, or food for thought about whether this position or company is right for you.