QUESTION: I’ve been with my employer for almost 10 years. Over the last four years I’ve received two promotions, but no increase in pay. It’s getting to the point where I feel like the owner is taking me for granted. How can I approach him about a raise without jeopardizing my career?
ANSWER: Trust me, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt we deserved better — or more. And sometimes we’re right. If you’ve shown your boss you’re worth more, and he doesn’t see it, that could be life showing you an exit. If you like your job and the industry you’re in, however, asking for a raise is often more about posture than technique.
The best way to ask for a raise is to first research your industry, and more specifically, your job title. Go in with an attitude of humility and gratitude — combined with the research you’ve done, and your accomplishments with the company — and ask what you need to do in order to make more money. Don’t issue an ultimatum, or ask for an answer immediately. Have a friendly, professional conversation, and politely ask your boss to give your request consideration.
Remember, you can’t control how he will react. All you can do is approach the situation with the proper posture and attitude. In many cases, that makes all the difference.
‘Realizing Your Dream’
QUESTION: I’m in an unhappy place in my career. I don’t enjoy my current job, but I don’t know what I really want to do, either. How can I learn what I was made to do?
ANSWER: I believe it all starts with discovery. Once you realize who you really are on the inside, you can more easily begin to unpack and examine the things you’re passionate about and where your true talents lie.
I’m not talking about some kind of pat-yourself-on-the-back exercise. I want you to sit down, and make a list of some serious stuff. Write out your talents, your weaknesses, what excites you, and the things that exhaust you. The answers to these four questions will help provide an early picture of what you should — and should not — be doing with your life. You might also consider running your answers by a close friend, someone who cares enough to want the very best for you, but is willing to be completely honest about your attributes.
There are four essential components of a human being: personality, passion, talent, and values. Once you discover what speaks to all of these, I think you’ll begin to realize your purpose in life.