Ask the Etiquette Expert
Q: A coworker just shared her salary in confidence and it’s significantly more than mine, even though we have similar jobs and she hasn’t been here as long. How do I bring this up to my boss?
A: Dear R.S.,
Before talking to anyone, take a step back and assess the situation.
There could be several reasons your coworker is earning a higher salary. She may have proven herself to be a superstar with exceptional skills and job performance. Or, she might have negotiated a better income when she was hired or successfully secured a raise during her performance review.
Whatever the explanation, it would go against business etiquette for you to breach a confidence your coworker shouldn’t have shared with you in the first place. If you do, it will most likely turn into a lose-lose for both parties involved.
Every professional needs to know something about effectively asking for a raise. These tips will help improve your chances for success:
- Do your research to learn what others are making in your field. Take into consideration your experience, tenure of service and contributions to the company, as well as the job market in your city.
- Get ready for a meeting with your boss. Make an appointment to meet with your supervisor. Earning a raise means that you have increased your value over a particular period of time. Be prepared with specific facts about your performance that will support your request. Go in equipped to show how you have increased sales, cut the budget by 30%, or added new clients to the company.
- Plan your response if you don’t get the answer you are expecting. If your boss doesn’t agree to give you a raise this time around, there may be other perks she would consider. You might negotiate working a half day on Fridays or leaving early a couple days a week to make cold calls on potential clients. Come up with your own list of options.
- Be prepared to talk improvement. If you were turned down based on your job performance, ask for specifics in order to help you to grow. Before the meeting is over, ask when you can get together again to discuss your progress.
Whether a raise is a simple conversation away or you need to lay a foundation for your next pay increase, take responsibility for meeting your own salary goals, regardless of the size of anyone else’s paycheck.