New Year, New Salary, New You!

New Year, New Salary, New You!

With 2010 right around the corner, many people are taking the time to evaluate last year and focus on goals for the future.  Commonly this evaluation leads to the conclusion that it’s time for a raise.  Unfortunately, even though lots of people set this as a primary goal, all too often the year goes by with few, if any changes.  If you’re serious about getting a raise, here are the 7 steps to raise-success!  

First a little known fact: Would it surprise you to know that the number one reason why women do not get paid as much as men is simply because they don’t ask for as much?   While this may seem socking to some, it’s actually great news because it puts the power to change the situation in your hands.

So what stops women?  One word, confidence. One of the most difficult things for many women to do is to stand up in front of a group of people and state the 5 reasons why they are the best or most qualified at their job.  Yet this is exactly what you need to do. In order to confidently ask for more money, you need to know in your bones that you deserve it.

Here’s how to become the most valuable employee in the room:

Step 1- Write it out. Focus on the position you want and write out statements that explain why you are the best value to your employer.  Given that this is an exercise, this is no time to be modest.  Boast, brag and toot your own horn without shying away from the truth of how great you are.  Include in your list your general work ethic, relationship skills and unrelated employment opportunities that have helped to shape who you are.  For example, if you have talents as a strategic thinker remember that skill can be applied to any area. The same goes for understanding the needs of others.  Write as many of statements as you can so your list covers your broad range of talents and multitude of skill-sets.

Step 2- She who has the most information wins. Know what you want to make and realistically what the job is paying others. Use Google or any other means to find the pay range for your position so you know what’s reasonable to ask for.  What you’re looking for is the black and white numbers so when it comes to the negotiation that you’re not relying on your “feelings” for what you deserve but rather the industry standard for what you ought to be paid.  

Step 3- Make sure you can sell it to yourself first. Now that you know the pay range, what part of the range do you think you are worth?  Stand in front of the mirror look yourself in your eyes and say, “I am worth $X”.  Or say, “The salary I am looking for is between $X and $X.” Be clear in your numbers and repeat until you are comfortable or can at least say it like you mean it, even if your stomach is churning.  

Step 4- Remember that while comfort is desirable it is not necessary. 
There are lots of reasons why you might not be comfortable.  But one thing is for sure, if you are having negative feelings it is because your body is producing chemicals (called neuropeptides) that actually create these feelings.  Your body produces these chemicals response to your thoughts, much like a habit.   Even if you start to change your thinking there is a significant lag time between when you change your thoughts and when your body stops producing these chemicals.  The bottom line is that you need to ignore these feelings and keep doing the new behavior until your body catches up with the changes you are trying to make.   

Step 5- Remember some people like to haggle.  There are cultures where it is simply part of the process to suggest dollar amounts knowing full well, that this is not where it is going to end up.  In fact, in some cultures that is considered part of the fun of it.  Some people are like that as well.  The bottom line is to not get insulted.  Stand your ground and negotiate.

Step 6- Everything is negotiable. When it comes time to compensation, remember salary is not the only thing on the table.  You can negotiate vacation time, hours, fringe benefits and more.  It is perfectly reasonable to be completely transparent about your reasoning, namely.  “Mr. or Ms. Smith, I think we have established that I have a lot to offer this company.  I need to manage my career just like you need to manage your company. The salary and benefits package you are suggesting is on the low end of the scale, if you can’t give me a raise, I would like: a) One more week of vacation or b) to be able to work from home one day a week.

Step 7- It is a performance, rehearse.  Doing everything I am suggesting is not easy.  It can raise anxiety. Remember the four Ps:  Practice – Perception - Power - Performance.  You need to practice and rehearse.  Get a friend or hire a coach.  Practice. Get feedback. Adjust. Practice more.  Own your power.  Make them perceive you as valuable. You can do it!!