How to Handle Not Getting a Raise

Career & WorkplaceSalary

OK first off…you know this is a terrible business climate right now, and a lot of people aren’t getting raises, so it’s not just you. The one thing you should absolutely NOT do is get in a snit and go storming out of your boss’s office. That will do nothing for your next evaluation, your next shot at a raise or your standing at the company.
You do, however, have the right to know why your raise was turned down, and there might be a number of different reasons:

  • Company finances. With things being what they are right now in the business world, there’s a real good chance that this is going to be the case. And if they tell you that, there’s a real good chance that they are being honest with you, especially if nobody else in your department is seeing a raise. If that’s the case, there’s not much that you can do but accept it, get over it and move on. Not much point in getting upset, especially since 1 in 10 Americans are out of a job right now, and 2 in 10 are “underemployed”, with all that entails.
  • Poor timing. Lots of companies only are allowed to hand out raises once during a fiscal year, or only after evaluations. If that’s the case, once again, there’s not much you can do about it. Of course, that doesn’t do you much good if your own expenses are going up, your spouse lost a job or your kids need braces. Depending on the nature of your job, maybe you can at least see if you can work overtime or get incentive pay of some sort. Unfortunately, if the company is feeling the pinch (as in the above scenario) they may also be cutting back on bonuses, overtime and incentive to scale back on payroll expenses. So…if you’re going to have to wait until the next quarter, next year or next evaluation (and overtime isn’t an option) your best move is going to be to keep the nose to the grindstone and do the absolute best job you can manage so that when the time comes, you’ll get that raise after all!
  • Poor performance. If your raise was declined due to performance issues, this is when you need to be proactive, stand on your own two feet and find out the specifics. Chances are you’re going to find this out when it’s evaluation time anyway, but regardless, ask your supervisor or department head what areas need to be improved. Find out where your weak points are, and do your dead level best to improve on them. Or, your alternative might be to start looking for another job elsewhere, with better pay and better opportunities. But a word to the wise here: if you’re moving in that direction, keep it to yourself. Nothing can sabotage your future at a company quicker than making it known that you’re thinking about moving on.