Asking for a raise is hard enough on its own. Now factor in that you are a woman and a woman of faith and you are faced with the double whammy.
Impossible to accomplish?
“For with God, nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37 NLT)
There’s your answer.
I recently had to negotiate a compensation package. It was daunting, and nerve-wracking, and down right terrifying. But when it was all over, I realized how necessary it was for my faith-walk. I could breathe a sigh of relief and look back and see all the ways that God prepared me for that event, and all the ways He led and guided me through it.
When I get around to writing that book, I plan to devote a whole chapter to this topic, but for now a synopsis will have to suffice.
When it comes to asking for a raise, women in general tend to back away far more often than men. We feel “lucky” (or fortunate) to even have a job. We don’t want to spoil or endanger that good fortune by asking for a raise. We don’t want to come across as pushy, and demanding. And indeed there is a double-standard when it comes to women being assertive and ambitious. But what it all boils down to, is that we don’t feel we’re worth it. We really don’t know our value-both to the company, to the kingdom of God, or to ourselves. We have a case of “fuzzy math” when it comes to our own value.
Now add in the fact that you are a woman of faith. Now you feel guilty for even thinking about asking for more money! After all, aren’t we supposed to be content with what we have? We don’t want to appear materialistic, or greedy, or ungrateful for God’s provision.
It’s wrong to want more money, isn’t it?
Four words: No money, no mission.
Furthering God’s kingdom takes money. And that money has to come from somewhere. The Church’s light bill has to be paid, there are Sunday School supplies to be purchased and missionaries to send to other countries, and orphans who need food and clothing, and believers in China desperate for Bibles. God could do all of that without money, but he has chosen to use the resources he gives us to meet the needs of the church and others, as well as ourselves.
Money is NOT evil, the love of it is. Money is a good thing.
So the first step is to stop struggling.
-Stop struggling with your value. (You were valuable enough for God to send his son to die in your place.) God values you. By devaluing yourself, you are calling God a liar. Plain and simple.
-Stop struggling with money’s value. It serves wonderful purposes, including paying the mortgage and the orthodontist.
“Well”, you say, “I’ll just pray and ask God to move in their hearts to give me a raise.”
Yes, God can move in your boss’s heart to give you a raise. and that is definitely part of it. But you still need to ask.
In addition to prayer -and there will be lots of it along the way-you will need to do your part. Here’s a few additional steps to help you along the way:
1. Know your value in the marketplace. Do a little research online to find out what the comparable salaries/wages are in your area for positions similar to yours. Payscale.com, salary.com, and glassdoor.com are just a few. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, try calling around to other similar companies and ask what they would offer for a position similar to yours.
2. Know your value to the company. Calculate how you have contributed to the growth and profitability of the company. This can be monetary, percentages, or improved processes. It could be increased responsibilities and tasks and your performance of them. Compile facts and figures. Because they can argue with your opinion of why you should get a raise, but they can’t argue with the facts. And the numbers don’t lie.
3. Formulate your pitch. Spend some time writing and re-writing what you are going to say. DO NOT start the conversation with an apology! Don’t say, “I’m sorry to bother you with this…” or ” I know there probably isn’t money in the budget, but…” You get the point. Be succinct. Be factual. Pray about what to say and how to say it. God will give you the words.
4. Practice. practice. practice. Rehearse your pitch over and over until you can say it without looking at your notes. Run through various scenarios in your head of what you will say if they ask this or that, or if they respond in a negative way. Plan out those contingencies. You won’t use most of them, but you will be prepared.
5. Pick a good time. Timing is everything. Pray about this. God will line everything up. That being said, you still have to act. Peter asked Jesus to bid him to come to him on the water, but Peter still had to step out of the boat. It’s never going to “feel” right. It’s easy to find a reason to not go through with it. But nothing worthwhile has ever been easy.
6. Keep yourself out of it. Once you have the opportunity to have the conversation, make it all about the facts. This is not the time to talk about the financial hardship of taking care of an ailing parent, or how you weren’t expecting to have to replace your car so soon. It’s not about you, it’s about the company: your value to it in the past, and your desire to increase that value into the future. This is a business transaction. No matter what your vocation, you are asking for more money. That’s business, not personal.
7. Expect to be nervous. When I went in to negotiate, my through was dry, and I felt like I was going to lose my lunch all over the desk in front of me. But I didn’t show it. I had prepared to the point that no matter what my insides were doing, my outside was cool, calm , and professional. THAT, was a God thing!
8. Analyze afterwards. No matter what the outcome, analyze what took place. You can always learn something from looking back. What did you do right? What could you have done differently/better. All of that information will help you the next time you go in and ask for a raise.
And yes, there will be a next time.
Go for it girl! You’re worth it!