For my new job, I’m currently the only employee in the States. That means I have no daily supervision during my workdays at all – my bosses are abroad, and although we Skype often, there’s no one around to check if my lunch break was 24 minutes or 46.
That liberty and independence is great – although, I must admit, not for everyone. Self-discipline is key here: at the end of the day, the job has to be done, and eventually, results will need to be shown.
That also means that I have quite some responsibility. 17 people rely on me growing the business over here. So along with all the effort I’m putting in, I know I’m blessed with immense growth potential, pride in building something from the ground up.
I can’t complain about my current salary – it’s a good start. However, effort needs to be rewarded, n’est-ce pas. And when it comes to money in New York City, less is definitely never enough, so we all strive for more.
Now, if there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s to ask for a raise. It’s like wanting to sell a house: you know you’ll never get what you want, and the buyer will always feel like they’ve paid too much. And although I have not yet excruciating numbers to bring to the table, I have been preparing to justify a raise, and this is how:
- Keep track.
I learned this one the hard way and during my previous job, where my ‘efforts’ were questioned. From day 1 at my new job, I’ve been keeping a log: one where I note my day to day activities, and one where I keep track of all my calls (I do a lot of prospection). The former is brief and gives an overview of my day: from 9 to 11 I answered incoming emails and made relevant calls, did paperwork and organized incoming mail. From 11am to 1pm I focused on Business Development and set new visits and presentations. It goes on like that, until the day is over.
For the latter, I keep track of all the offices I contact: when did I first call them? Who did I speak to, how did I follow up that call? By the time I finally get my foot in the door and set a presentation, I may have called on them four times over a span of two months, but at least it shows how much effort it took me.
Ah, the internet, that bottomless well of information! In order to know if you get paid well for the job you’re doing, dedicate a little time to investigation. When we set my initial salary for a job that no one really knew what it would imply, I was happy… but now that I know what I’m really doing, and how that translates in a title, it’s time to step it up. My current income is about 10,000 dollars lower than the average pay of someone in my position (in New York). And that’s a no-no, peeps. That means someone out there might be willing to pay me a lot more for my knowledge. Leverage!
- Make yourself Irreplaceable.
Ok, this is a tough one, everyone is replaceable, right? But there are ways to make it a little tougher. In my case, it’s my list of contacts. In the beginning, I really planned on putting that list on our companies server, but after careful consideration, I thought… nah, this info is too valuable. In the event that I walk away, someone else would have to start all over again, causing a huge delay. Try to do, have or mean something for the company that is of value – not so much to you, maybe… but definitely to them (or other companies).
- Give it Your all.
I can not tell you how good I feel at my job. I’m trusted, respected and appropriately praised for my efforts. However much I want a raise and for – what I believe to be – the right reasons, there’s one thing both you and I need to understand. If you’re working for a company, here’s the rule of thumb: a company’s main goal is to make money. That means it’s not there to pay your rent, your grocery bills, your Netflix subscription. You (and me), the employee, we get paid an amount of money that might allow us to pay for all that, but initially, you get paid an income because you put in a service, labor, an effort. A raise, then, is a reward for walking an extra mile, show results, benefit the company.
I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind these past months: my financial wealth will go up, if the company’s financial wealth goes up. And that should be the goal: make the company better.
That all being said: I’m visiting the Belgian headquarters in December (following spending Christmas with my family!), and that is when I anticipate having a talk. Fingers crossed!!
PS: on an unrelated note: I’m meeting my boyfriend’s family on Thanksgiving. I guess you could say I got a raise in this relationship as well…