Cash Strapped? Ask for a Raise

askingforaraiseOne way to increase your cash flow is to increase your income. And, depending on your work situation, barring adding an additional part-time job (which can be a good alternative in some cases), your best alternative may be to approach your employer and request a raise.

Don’t be fooled though. This is a delicate conversation- which handled well, will yield results and contribute to strengthening your relationship with your employer. Approached casually, or without enough planning and forethought- could contribute to sending the wrong impression about your attitude in the workplace.

Do you Deserve a Raise?

Before you even approach your boss, try and examine this question as objectively as you can. Ask yourself: Do you make less than your peers? (Either in your own organization, or against what is the industry norm?)? Have you been a productive, exemplary, employee?  Have you been there for a while without a raise? If the answer is yes to most of these, than you probably have a case.

Strategize the ask

Speaking of having a case, getting a raise is very much in how you ask for it. Ask- don’t beg, with a series of salient, well-thought out points that support your ask.

Outline your accomplishments specifically, with what positive impact they have lent to other employees, or to the company as a whole.

Time your meeting well, when your boss can give you their undivided attention to consider your argument and to have a productive outcome. Be respectful of their time as well.

Show Don’t Tell

One way to really strengthen your argument is to let your actions do the talking in your daily life as an employee. Do you go the extra mile? Take on extra work. Respond to challenges in a positive, energetic, solutions-based manner. Be a team player. Take responsibility and turn it into results.

Part of putting actions behind your words is demonstrating your value- both to the team and to your organization- which can be translated into worth in terms of compensation.


Asking for a raise is nerve-racking, for sure. Calm some of your anxieties by role-playing and rehearsing beforehand. Write a script of what you’d like to say. Develop what responses your boss might have, and how you might most productively counter his objections.

Decide on your Desired Outcome

Determine before you even go in what you would deem an acceptable outcome. Would you be willing to accept a lesser raise? Would you be willing to accept other perks in lieu of financial compensation (i.e. more holidays, increase in benefits etc.)?

Plan to Handle Rejection

It is possible, despite your strong case, that you will be denied your raise request. Maybe budgets simply don’t allow pay raises at the moment, or perhaps there are other reasons behind the scenes that would make the timing for a raise difficult.

If no is the answer, don’t turn the situation into a confrontational one or visibly show your disappointment. The goal is to have a meeting from which you leave with dignity and preserve the respect that your boss likely has for you.

Use the opportunity to set up some plans for future advancement with your boss, with plans to reconvene in a few months’ time.  Maybe the answer to getting a raise is working towards a promotion. Many employers appreciate employee initiative in this department.