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Many factors determine who actually gets a raise.
So You Want a Raise? Ah, But Do You Deserve It?

If you think you’re deserving of a raise, prepare a history of your work in the past year. List the contributions you’ve made to the company. Ask yourself how these contributions have improved the company or the bottom line. If you have trouble listing contributions, this is the time to rethink why you should get a raise.

Employers do not look favorably on those who consider themselves entitled to more money just because they’ve been working for the company for a certain number of years. Nor can you justify asking for a raise because you’ve moved to a bigger house and you need more money.

Second, research the going rate for someone who is in a similar position in your company or industry. Having this knowledge will allow you to assess more accurately where your salary should fall. A career counselor or the U.S. Department of Labor can provide you with information about what jobs pay in your area. Don’t forget to add in the benefits you are receiving in addition to your salary. A human resource person can help in this area.

Third, role play the various scenarios that could take place when you ask for a raise. Look in the mirror and practice. Play yourself and then play your boss. If you can’t convince yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll convince a boss.

Ask a friend to role play with you. Tell the friend to throw you some curve balls and see if you have the ability to handle them.

Another good exercise — go over all the reasons your boss may use to discourage a raise. Then come up with a counterproposal. For example, if your boss says, “Well, you know profits have been down this year,” you might counter with, “That’s true. But my performance has been very good. For example….” Here’s where you roll out those contributions.

If your boss says, “We just can’t afford it now,” ask when the company will be able to afford it. Try to tack down a date for review.

Also ask, “What can I do differently to convince you that I should have a raise?” Make sure you take notes as he or she answers.

Sometimes a person truly does not deserve a raise. Sometimes a raise is not in the company’s budget. And sometimes people don’t do their homework before asking for a raise. As a result they present themselves poorly and muff their chances. Don’t let this be you.

 

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Sometimes when we asked others for help or their opinion we must be open to suggestions.
I wrote a letter the other day outlining a business plan. I gave it to my husband for proofing, something I do when I want his input or I think I’ve written an exceptional letter and I want his “Atagirl.”

After reading the letter, my husband said, “I don’t think this is up to your usual standards.”

I asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

He said he wasn’t sure, but it didn’t work for him.

I said, “I need more information. What doesn’t work?”

He said he wasn’t sure.

I then took the letter and reread it. Since I couldn’t see what he could, I asked if he would go over it line by line. He countered with, “How about if I look at it again and make margin notes.” I said, “Fine.”

A half hour later I looked at his notes and told him he didn’t understand the situation. He shrugged and said okay. I took the letter and went back to my computer and again revised. As I was writing, I could see my letter improving based on his suggestions. When I finished, I proudly handed the letter back to my husband. He read it for the third time and said, “It’s still not right.”

When I asked what was not right, he said he couldn’t exactly say.

Unfortunately, I then told him I was the writer in the family and I had seen some goofy letters he sent out. With that I picked up my letter and went back to the computer.

After an hour of revisions, I contritely went back to my husband with letter in hand. I told him I was sorry for what I’d said and asked if he would please read the letter again because I did value his input. And further, no matter what he said, I would be good.

Being a very patient and kind-hearted fellow, he once again read my letter and proclaimed that it was fine.

Yesterday a woman telephoned all in a stew. She had received a bad performance review after working at her company for 25 years. She was afraid this review was the beginning of the end. She had written a letter in response to her review and wanted to know if I would look at the letter. I said, “Sure, what’s your time frame?”

She said she thought she should respond by tomorrow. I said, “Fine, email it to me.” She said her email was down. She asked if she could just read the letter over the telephone.

As she got into the letter, it was obvious that it needed a good deal of work. I gave her a number of suggestions. I could hear that she was becoming annoyed with my suggestions, since each suggestion meant more work for her. I said I had to leave but I would call her later and we could work on it again. She said she would get someone else to email me the letter.

I asked that she make the changes we had discussed. She agreed. Four hours later when I looked at the email, I found the changes had not been made. She had not worked on the letter. I could see that the letter was becoming my responsibility.

This all leads me to the following:

When you ask for feedback on a project, be appreciative. Understand that the feedback you get may be negative. Understand that it may mean more work for you. And keep in mind that the ultimate responsibility for the project is still yours. Don’t try to get the other person to do your work simply because he or she has noted some problems.

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The other day, an editor called me and said, “Doris, I feel crazy. I have so much to do, and I’m never going to get it all done.”

Clearly, this man wasn’t going crazy; but after listening to his schedule with all the deadlines that he had to meet, I could understand why he felt so anxious. It sounded as though he had about 200 hours of work and only about 130 hours left in which to complete the work.

After listening to him list in detail everything he had to do, I asked if he wanted any suggestions, or if I could do anything for him.

He said that just talking helped; and in the end he knew he would get it all done, or at least get done what was absolutely necessary.

So often I hear the same lament in therapy. The person feels that he has too much to do and that he doesn’t have enough time to do it all. His life is disorganized; and if something doesn’t give, he’s going to die of a heart attack.

Usually when someone starts feeling overwhelmed, and most everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally, all the person needs is a good listening ear. In the telling of his tasks, he gets to dissipate some of his anxious feelings. And sometimes in the telling he is able to figure out what absolutely needs to be done versus what he would like to get done.

So when your friend or mate or child tells you how overwhelmed he or she is feeling, give the person an ear. By re­viewing aloud what they have to do, people start to feel more organized because they are sorting through and listing their chores. They feel more in control as they see what they must finish versus what they can put on hold for another week or two.

Rarely do over-extended people need suggestions, but almost always they need someone who will listen.

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It’s sheer agony working for my boss,” a woman recently told me. “He’s unbelievable.”

She continued: “In conversation he always puts you on the defensive. He asks rude questions such as “How old are you anyway?” “Are you a natural blond?” “How much money does your boyfriend make?”

“When he wants to make a point, he puts his hands on your shoulders to let you know he’s serious.”

“He assigns you a project, but then checks up on you 25,000 times. He butts in, changes it. He won’t let you be responsible for it.”

“He comes up and picks lint off my suit. He straightens my collar or my scarf. I want to say ‘Buzz off, slime ball.'”

“He acts like I didn’t have a life before I started working for his company. He thinks he made me what I am.”

“He can’t sit down very long. In the middle of a brain-storming session someone will be talking and he keeps butting in and interrupting. After he says what he wants to say, he gets up and leaves. Or he leaves while someone else is talking. We think he’s gone to the John. He doesn’t come back. We say, ‘Where is Fred?'”

“When decisions are made after one of these brainstorming sessions, he’s mad if we don’t use all his ideas.”

“When he’s with a client, he promises them the world. And then he reneges.”

“He is unbelievably tight when he negotiates salary. He uses every tactic in the book to intimidate you and make you feel insecure. He tells you that earnings are down. Times are hard. He’s doing you a favor by keeping you on the payroll. No one else would want you anyway. He, on the other hand, lives in a million-dollar house and drives a Jag.”

“He talks of being friends and thinks nothing of asking you to stay late or to come in early or give up a weekend. He says, ‘friends do that for each other.’ But he never says thank-you or rewards you with a bonus.”

“He takes your ideas and somehow in a week or two they become his ideas.”

“He starts a conversation in the middle of what he’s thinking about and you are always trying to play catch-up and figure out what he’s talking about.”

“He makes lewd remarks about other women.”

“He makes lewd remarks to your boyfriend about you.”

“He never asks any follow-up questions about your life. You could say, ‘I broke my knee last night’ and he wouldn’t ask you how you did it.”

“Almost everyone thinks he’s a jerk. Doesn’t he get it?”

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WHAT HAPPENS when you have to give a briefing to the big boss or to a client, or a speech to a roomful of people? What goes through your mind in the weeks and days preceding the presentation?

To find the answers, I asked a number of successful people in various fields.

“The thing that goes through my mind,” says one successful entrepreneur, is “Can I pull it off? Will the contractor see the advantages of doing it the way I think it should be done? How can I make enough of an impact for this person to run with our ideas? I may have only 20 minutes to make my point.”

As soon as possible, he makes a written outline. “I’m always concerned about the organization of my presentation because it’s so technical. I go through days of preparation in my head,” he says. “I keep thinking, ‘Am I giving them enough background information, enough detail, too much detail?1

“I try to find out who else is scheduled to be at the meeting and their present and past jobs in the organization. I make a lot of phone calls. What objections will they raise? How will I handle them?”

Once this man is speaking to the group, he continues to tailor his presentation based on the interaction in the room. If someone raises a concern, he immediately adds material that will address the issue. He then shortens other information in order to stay within the time frame. His preparation is not over until the talk is over.

A successful account executive had this to say. “For me, it’s sort of easy to present to clients. I see it as simply a matter of doing my homework. I first find out what they need, what the goal of the meeting is. Am I doing a capabilities presentation or do they want me to bid on something specific?”

If the client wants a what-can-you-do-for-our-company presentation, this woman finds out about the company before making her pitch. If they want a bid on something specific, she finds out as much as possible about the whole project and how her part of the work will fit in.

Before the meeting, she outlines her presentation. “When I walk in, I know the steps I’m going through,” she says.

When a top compensations expert is asked to make a presentation about his products, he immediately starts asking questions such as, Who will be at the meeting? What do you want to hear? He talks to as many people as possible within the company before outlining his plan.

“If the CEO is going to be there, ) figure I have about 20 minutes, and I focus on the financial implications and impact to the company,” he says.

If he’s making the presentation to the people from the human resource department, the focus changes to benefits that the individual and company will derive.

He outlines with a co-worker what he will try to get across and decides what printed materials to take with him.

“Once I organize, I spend a lot of time playing it out in my head. I put myself in the client’s shoes. By the time I make the presentation, it’s sort of anticlimactic,” he says. “How well it goes is usually determined by my preparation.”

A woman who gives successful talks throughout the country says, “As soon as I make the commitment to give the talk, I’m nervous. I immediately start thinking about what I’m going to present. I start arranging topics to cover in my head.”

Before preparing her talk she gets information about who her audience will be -how many people are expected to attend, their occupations, ages, the ratio of men to women.

She says the worst day for her is the day she actually sits down to write out the presentation. She does an extensive outline of what she wants to cover. She inserts examples that she thinks will be meaningful to her audience. “No matter how many times I talk on a particular subject, I always start from scratch. I think this keeps my talks fresh and focused,” she asserts.

After outlining the material, she starts practicing in her head. How many times does she run through her speech? About 15 or 20 times in her head and about five times aloud.

She decides far in advance what she’ll wear. Then she uses a visualization technique. In her mind’s eye she sees herself giving the talk in the outfit she plans to wear. She also sees the audience smiling and laughing.

The day of her talk she gets to the auditorium 15 to 20 minutes before she’s scheduled to go on. This allows her to check out the room. Is the mike working? Are the overheads set up? Will she stand in front of her audience or behind the lectern?

“Once I start the talk, it’s a piece of cake,” she says.

Success is no accident. People who are successful prepare and prepare and prepare.

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Someone in therapy recently asked me this:
My boss overheard me making critical comments about her behind her back. What should I do to repair the relationship, or should I just quit my job?

If you know for sure that she overheard you, go to her and say, “The other day I realize I was out of line. You can expect that I’ll never do that again. I’m sorry.” Chances are if you’re a good worker, and you don’t repeat your behavior, she’ll eventually get over it.

Another piece of advice: Don’t talk about your boss or co-workers to anyone at work. You never know when your comments will be overheard or carried back to that person. Save those comments instead for your mate and closest of friends.

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Stop revving your engines and follow through on finding solutions to your problems.

An individual in one of my therapy groups was talking about a suggestion he had read in the book “Feeling Good,The New Mood Therapy.”

It went something like this: “If a person always has to be pushed and nudged to get the job done, he should buy himself a wrist counter (worn like a watch). Every time he acts responsibly and initiates something, he gets to press the counter. Being able to count the actual times he took charge would encourage him to initiate taking more responsibility. A bit like the old saying, Success builds success.”

After the man’s explanation, a woman in the group turned to him and said,”Well, did you get yourself the counter?”

The man laughed a little sheepishly and said,”No.” After some kidding, this guy agreed to buy himself one. The next thing, of course, will be whether the fellow uses it or lets it lie on his dresser.

As I left the group, I got to thinking about the fact that this kind of thing often happens. A person, or even a company, will get excellent information on how to go about solving a problem. When the solution is presented initially, there is a burst of enthusiasm. Two or three weeks later the solution is forgotten and the problem is brought up again.

The reason for this get-nowhere phenomenon is that itís generally easier to talk about a problem than to take the necessary steps to solve it.

Solutions are often available, but it takes thought and effort to follow through. Itís often easier to rev the engine, staying in your car with your wheels spinning, than to get out and start pushing.

What problem do you need to solve today? Take courage. Be proactive. Do what needs to be done to solve it!

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