How she got that raise

career coaching |“Diana,” I was told, had volunteered to walk me down to the front desk to sign out of the building. At one of Austin’s leading tech companies, I had just finished a followup Q-and-A to a formal presentation I gave several weeks earlier, sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Team. It was a return engagement, and I always found myself admiring the women I met there.

Diana was no exception. Chatting as we walked down the long corridor, I soon discovered why she wanted a minute alone with me.

“I asked for a raise,” she said, “after hearing you speak.”

What happened next? It’s a little blurry, but I think my response may have included a rather conspicuous happy-dance. (!!!)

We kept in touch as the request made its way through channels. Then I received the good news – a 15 % salary increase!

I asked Diana to share her “secrets to success,” and she generously agreed. Here are her takeaways, which may be of use to you, too:

  1. I trusted my gut. The first feeling of inequality or imbalance in my compensation usually turns out to be completely true. I haven’t always acted on that feeling, but I have learned to let the idea simmer until I’m sure it’s a core feeling — and not a fleeting stab of anger or frustration.
  1. I remembered: My manager is on my side. By the time I am confident about the imbalance, my manager feels the same way. In the past I have waited (a long time) to voice this feeling to my manager, but when I finally did, the response was agreement: “You totally deserve a raise!” But s/he typically won’t take action unless prompted. Like Ann says: they won’t know what you want unless you tell them!
  1. I did my research. Even though most of my experience has shown me that management is already aware of my progress and expertise with daily tasks, I go into “the raise meeting” armed with extra useful info to sell my case. I ran a very simple search on the average salary for my position in my area. I found that I was at the lowest possible end of the average range. Considering I had been working with (and keeping up with) some of the big dogs on the team, I knew I had a good case. Whatever difference it may or may not have on my manager’s decision, doing the research helped solidify my confidence going in to the conversation.
  1. I was persistent. To remind management that I was waiting for an answer, I keep asking about the status. I was reluctant to “prod,” but I did. I realized: the initial conversation isn’t enough. I was able to keep my request on the front burner, and it made a difference to management.
  1. I listened. Ann’s inspiring words made all the difference!

(Am I the right career coach for you? Email me to find out.)



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