Help! My Paycheck is Broken
At its core, the pay raise conversation is the same as telling your boss about any other broken tool. You don’t sweat for one month about saying the Internet is down, the printer is broken, or your chair is uncomfortable. Instead you expect action to fix it and go about the rest of your day waiting for your manager to solve the problem. Borrow that mentality and the pay raise conversation just got less nerve-racking.
It’s 3:00 PM and you have a big meeting the following morning at 8:30 AM. The company printer breaks as you are printing the many materials needed for the meeting. You try all the tricks you know (turn off and on, check and replace the toner or ink, check for a paper jam) but nothing works. Off you go to your manager informing her that, “the printer is broken and we have the Cuddy meeting in the morning!” You don’t even need to finish the rest of your thought. Your manager has the solutions at the ready and replies, “let me take a look and if I can’t fix it, you’ll need to go to a print center.”
You knew the options as well but your boss needed to approve the cost of using a print center. It is not your job to decide to spend that money. It is hers and you know it. The same can be said when you know your pay is not enough aka broken. You know the solution (more money please) but it is not your responsibility or authority to create. It is your manager’s.
Know the problem, state the problem, and then sit back and wait for a solution to be suggested. Granted you may not like the initial solution and will need to state that your paycheck is still broken. It is not until this moment, that I recommend employees throw out their pay and benefits ask. You want to give your boss the chance to offer you more than you expected. It can happen and often does. Sure you still need to know what your ask is and what your goal is. You just don’t need to put all the solutions on the table when you point out the problem.
I hope you don’t think I am referring to you as a tool. No one wants that. The tool is your paycheck. The right pay keeps you with the employer and employers hate turnover. The right pay keeps you motivated to do the job well. The right pay keeps you focused on work and not on your bills. Truly, it is just as important to your employer to find the right salary for you as it is to you.