Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?' There's an Art to Getting a Raise

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?' There's an Art to Getting a Raise

Article excerpt

Even an industrial accident that blew up a portion of the building he was erecting didn't keep Peter Pozniak from completing a $15 million clean room for IBM Corp. ahead of schedule. Because of the swift construction, Pozniak's employer won a new $4.5 million contract from the computer maker.

Pozniak thought he deserved a raise. "My philosophy is that you can either hope people will reward you for a job well done or you can diplomatically present your case," he said.

Pozniak didn't think he would get a raise unless he asked for it. So, once the project was finished, he made his pitch. And it worked - he received a 6 percent pay increase.

As companies continue to look for ways to cut costs, a harsh reality has come to light - whether you're a $15,000-a-year clerk or a veep who makes $180,000, if you want a raise, you must ask for it. Tenure is no longer a ticket to annual salary increases, experts say.

"It's rare that somebody gets something without asking - and all too often people don't ask," said Stanford T. Young, head of the Financial Clarity money-management firm in Palo Alto, Calif. "They can't just be asking for anything, though. They have to have a reason."

And these days, it takes a pretty good reason to convince a company to open its pocketbook. Average U.S. salary increases have fallen for the past four years, one survey shows; in 1994, pay raises hovered around 4 percent.

Career counselors suggest workers put themselves in the bosses' shoes when asking for a raise. An employer's main concern is the company's bottom line. "Anytime a person can demonstrate they are bringing in money for the business, they're due for a raise," said Terry Shaw, owner of Shaw's Lightweight Cycles in Santa Clara, Calif.

Employees should detail their contributions to the company, bosses say. Showing that you were able to meet goals will bolster your chances of getting more money.

"People are busy, and if you've had a great achievement it may be overlooked," said Tim Outman of CTR Corporate Outplacement Services in Santa Clara. "Point out what you've done."

Once you've shown that you deserve to be paid more, you must determine how much to ask for. …

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