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asking for a raise

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I've never asked for a raise before, but I'm thinking I might be in a good position to do that now.  The department I work in is supposed to have 4 people, but since Oct 2004, we've only been 3 people doing the work of 4.  We loaned one of our people over to a different department and we don't get him back until July.  We hired one person, bringing us back up to 3, and then we brought in a temp, giving us our 4, but that only lasted a few weeks and then one person transferred to a different department permanently and then the temp quit, so now we're two people doing the work of 4.

Comparable jobs at other companies in this area pay $10,000-$15,000 more than what I make, which is why we're having such trouble even getting candidates to interview.  We can't hire someone and pay him more than what the current employees at the same level make, which is good for me, because it would suck if they hired someone and paid him, say, $12,000 more, but at the same time, we're not going to be able to get anyone to take this job for what they're paying me.  We've had temps turn down the permanent position because they actually make more temping. 

The department is being held together by threads, and by my coworker and me working crazy amounts of overtime.  We're salary, so we don't get overtime pay, but it used to be we could get under the table comp time.  Now we're being told we don't even get that.  The little 3% raise I got as part of my annual performance evaluation barely covers the increased gas expense if I have to drive in a 6th day a week to work on a Saturday, which I've been doing. 

So has anyone asked for a raise before?  I'm in the process of collecting numbers, like salary comparisons for comparable jobs in this area, the amount of overtime that I'm actually working, plus I do a report every month that documents specific tasks and general productivity.  How do I go about taking that info to my boss and using it to suggest that I should be better compensated for what I do?  What's a reasonable request?  Obviously, I'm not going to get $12,000, but 5%?  10%?  I'd also like to ask that if I have to work on Saturdays on a regular basis, that I be allowed to expense my mileage. 

I love my job and I love the company.  I don't plan on going anywhere, but my boss doesn't know that.  Is it wrong for me to try to use this situation to my advantage? 

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You are in a tough one.. You will never get a raise unless you ask.

All I can say is Tell boss exactly sortoff what you said here. 

You wanted to discuss your employment and you wanted to let him/her know you are quite happy working there with no intentions to leave  BUT YOU feel your last annual review augmentation did not fully compensate you for the amount of time and effort you put into company..

Then just explain briefly what you do extra, see his/her reaction, then they sometimes tell you how much of an increase thet will give you or not. 

I do not know if comparing other companies is a good idea ,  I hope other's can shed some light..

I was a manager and did not like being compared to other businesses.. We are similar but not the same. And one thing I had heard many times, if your manager is a creep, there may be the old time management issue coming into play.. Prepare for that.. Frosty

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It kinda depends what field you're in and how strong the job market is right now.

Especially since you're doing them a favor doing the work of another person.

Judging by what you said about comparable positions and how few interviews they can get, it sounds like you've got their ass over a barrel.

Remember, you're NOT screwing them by asking for a raise...not even a decent sized one. Even if you got paid 10k a year more, you'd still be a bargain, cause you're doing the work of that extra person.

Most people will not do that. =P

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You should definitely ask for the raise, and coming in with documentation about what similar positions pay and being able to show your productivity on paper is all good. It might be best to decide ahead of time exactly what to ask for and what you think would be reasonable. Yes, you like working there and money isn't everything, but you still have to look out for yourself. Afterall, your boss isn't going to take care of you when you grow old. You have to plan for that on your own.

Part of the discussion should also be about formulating a plan to get your salary up to the range that's standard in your industry. It may not all happen at once. You may need to work out a multi-year plan with your boss to make it happen.

Be aware, though, that sometimes you have to move on in order to get paid what you're worth. It's stupid, and usually costs the company significantly more than the raise would have cost them to fine, hire and train a replacement (who, by the way, will be hired at a higher rate than you were being paid when you left). But that's the way business works sometimes. Are you prepared to seek other employment if your boss doesn't come through?

I wish you luck. I abhor asking for raises.


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Thanks for the replies.  I have a supervisor and a manager.  My manager is really cool, very understanding and easy going.  I used to report to her directly, but now I have a new supervisor.  New supervisor is more difficult, more confrontational, more defensive.  I mentioned under the table comp time and getting mileage for working on Saturdays to her and she pretty much shot down both ideas.  I plan to talk to my manager about the raise since I've known her longer and I have the better relationship with her.  Plus, she's the person more in a position to make the final decision. 

I'm not prepared to look for a new job, so if my boss says that she can't give me anything extra, I'll tuck my tail between my legs and go back to doing what I've been doing.  I like the work and the people and I'm not up to the stress of looking for a new job.  It just seems like the higher ups have no idea how much I'm actually doing and how much time all of it actually takes, and I know that's pretty much par for the course for any job, but here's an example.  My department is  50% of what it should be and yet my boss wants us to take on some of the job functions of another department.  So some of my tasks are going to get passed on to my equally overworked co-worker, which will allegedly free up a couple of hours a week for me so that I can take on some of the tasks of a completely different department, even though I'm already working 6 days a week just to break even with my current responsibilities. 

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