Reader Q&A – How Do I Make More Money?

Bitches, I am SO EXCITED! I got my first reader question this week! This is the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing series where you basic bitches write in and I help you answer your mystifying money questions.

Reader Stephanie writes:

What’s your advice for asking for raise at work? Details: I enjoy the job, I hate change and confrontation. Been there for 5 years, started from hourly low position, into a managerial role over one department and then into a different department, which is where my last raise came from. Very small company, corporate is based in a state with a much lower cost of living, which is the excuse for paying what they do. Most importantly, this job doesn’t and has never done performance reviews, which is where a raise normally comes from.

Thanks for the letter, Stephanie!

Okay, first, if you haven’t done so yet, you really need to check out Alison over at Ask A Manager. She is my BB for lyfe. (And, Alison, if you’re reading this, I mean that in the most complimentary way ever. You love cats and Game of Thrones. You basic.).

Anyway, head on over there for the best job advice you will ever receive for free on the internet.

But, you asked for my opinion, Stephanie, not Alison’s. So here we go.

A few things about negotiating for pay at work. First, if you’re not already doing so, you should keep a running spreadsheet (I just use a notepad document) that contains a space for each month of the year. Under January, for example, think back to everything you did that month (use your Outlook calendar or your planner if you need help remembering) and jot down a few bullet points about things you accomplished that month.

When you have the basics filled out, try to add qualitative notes to each month to add import to your accomplishments. Things that are non-negotiable like numbers or percentages will carry much more weight. For example, “In March, I implemented a new QA/QC procedure which brought the number of returned products down from an average of 30 per month to 15 per month, decreasing our return rate by 50%.” Or whatever, Stephanie, I don’t know what you do.

Next, take a look at Glassdoor or LinkedIn and try to figure out the average salary range for your position. Look for companies that are comparable to yours in size and location (use expensive state instead of low-cost state for this) and make some notes on what people are getting paid.

Once you have that list put together and you’ve done your research, speak to your boss and schedule a meeting with her. You can let her know that you want to talk about your accomplishments over the course of the year if you’d like or you could say something slightly vague like you’d like to discuss your workload with her.

If you are someone who meets with your boss regularly, this is a pretty easy thing to do. But some bosses are hard to pin down so sometimes explaining why you want to talk to them will yield better results.

When you’re in your meeting though, you need to project confidence in your abilities and in the fact that you deserve this raise. Here is a sample script:

“Jane, I was hoping we could talk today about my position and workload. As you know, I have done X, Y, and Z this year. When I moved from department A to department B I was given a small raise, however, I’ve done some research and folks in my position usually make $X. I think that the work I’ve been doing for you, especially my work on (insert super awesome thing you did), also deserves $X. I’d like to formally schedule a performance review with you to talk about this in more depth.”

Then… see what she says.

It could be that she’s been planning to give you a raise and just hasn’t gotten around to it. It could be that the company is not doing well and she might explain to you that there is no more money to be had. EITHER WAY, don’t fret.

See, the thing about the list you just put together and the research you just did is that it gives you a leg up. Because if she does say, “Sorry not sorry, you’re stuck where you are” you can utilize all the work you’ve put towards presenting your case to aid in finding a new, cooler, better paying position somewhere else.
Now, it could be that you’ll get a response like, “Stephanie, I agree with you. You’re doing awesome. Let’s revisit this topic in 3 months and see what we can do about getting you that raise.”

You might be tempted to celebrate here. But I’m telling you not to. Sure, give yourself a pat on the back for doing your research and girding your loins to have the talk with your manager. But DON’T STOP HERE!

Set a calendar alert for 3 months from now. And then bring up the topic again. If your boss deflects a second time, Stephanie, it’s time to cut and run. She’s not going to give you a raise and she never was. Start shopping your resume hard. Network with friends and family and former coworkers. You deserve to be paid fairly for the work you do. Remember that you are worth it.

I hope this helps! Best of luck in your quest for a raise! Feel free to drop me a line and update us when you get that amazing promotion!

If any readers out there have a question – send it to

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2 Responses

  1. Jaysin Osterkamp says:

    This was AWESOME!! Such a good read. I love the attitude of cutting and running, I know that can be scary, but it also shows that you need to be good to yourself – and someone who won’t take you seriously as a good working employee isn’t worth working for. I wish Stephanie all the best in your raise situation, and BB, thank you for laying it straight!

    • Basic Bitch says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jaysin! A lot of times we have to remember that business is NOT personal. It’s just business. If we keep that in the back of our minds, switching jobs doesn’t have to be scary!

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