How (and Why) to Ask for a Raise

A family member asked me for my thoughts on asking for a raise, and after a handful of massive text messages, I decided I should probably just write a blog post.

Before I get into it, one disclaimer: My working experience is entirely confined to small businesses. If you work for a megacorp, for instance, salary discussions probably look entirely different (and are probably tied to an annual review or something). My experience is limited to places without any type of formal process in place.

Why ask for a raise

Fundamentally, your relationship with your employer is a business deal. You have no obligation (aside from whatever the legal minimums are) to them beyond what you agree to, and you can rest assured that they feel no obligation to you.

You work for them because you like the money, or the hours, or the environment, whatever.

In turn, they pay you to do a job because they like the deal they’re getting—they like the price-to-performance ratio they get from paying you.

So, when your performance improves, it’s reasonable that the price for your work should go up too—especially if you can make the argument that they’re still getting a good deal. Continue reading