“Dear Bruce,” writes an Account Executive from a large tech company, “I gotta get a bigger apartment and a car that impresses instead of embarrasses. How do I get a raise, FAST?”
Well, Racing to Riches, I can’t promise you a fast raise or a quick promotion, but I am able to reveal 20 rules that, when followed closely, will vastly increase your long-term compensation:
Rule 1: You actually have to do stuff. Companies pay employees based on what they accomplish, not on how many cars they would like to pack into their garage. Don’t spend your time plotting for a raise when you should be actually accomplishing something.
Rule 2: Avoid threats and taunts. Yelling at, threatening, or begging your boss seldom results in more than a Pity Raise, and Pity Raises are nearly always followed in the coming months by Pity Terminations, as in, “We think it is our duty to help you get on the right path in your career,” which loosely translates to: work anywhere but here.
Rule 3: Never bluff your boss. Do your research. If you don’t know the answer to a question, try saying, “I don’t know, but I will find out immediately.”
Rule 4: Only talk numbers to numbers people. (Your boss may be ego-driven, not numbers- driven.) One of the biggest mistakes people make with their boss is that they fail to understand their mindset. If someone is ego-driven, appeal to their ego. Numbers-driven? Give ‘em numbers. But if you flood an ego-driven boss with numbers, your numbers will never add up the way you want.
Rule 5: Talking louder is seldom an effective persuasion strategy. No raise? Perhaps your boss didn’t hear you when you asked those last nine times. Nah. Try smarter, not louder.
Rule 6: Never inflate results. Trust is more important than short-term wins. So you had a bad month? Admit it, and at the very least you will build trust. If you BS your boss instead, your boss will mentally place a scarlet letter “L” on your forehead, for liar.
Rule 7: Don’t obsess over whether you are treated fairly. Obsess over results. Your job is to deliver superb results, even if all you do is greet people at the door. Instead of focusing on “what’s in it for me,” focus on “how can I help others?”
Rule 8: No surprises. Ever. Every time you surprise your boss in an unpleasant way, it’s like saying, “Here, take the keys to my new car.”
Rule 9: Look like the salary you want to earn. Don’t dress for the job you have. Dress for the job you want. People have no imagination, and they don’t believe you will get a makeover the day they pay you more money.
Rule 10: Don’t overcommit. Take on more than you can handle at work, and you’ll start to get a reputation that resembles Homer Simpson’s. Overcommitting is like buying a billboard that says: I suck worse than I know.
Rule 11: If you screw up, admit it. Then fix it. Apologies are nice, but not enough. If you break a window, replace it. If you lose a customer, find a better customer. Never leave a mess that your boss has to clean up.
Rule 12: Be yourself. Life is too long to fake a role. Famous last words… “I can do it, I’ll change.” No you won’t. You can be a better version of yourself, but if you try to be someone else, at best you will be a pale, sickly version of them.
Rule 13: Relax, there is no Rule 13.
Rule 14: Pay more attention to the details of your business than your boss does. Unless your boss has only one employee (danger sign for your career), he or she can’t afford to know every detail of your business. You be the expert.
Rule 15: Only promise results you KNOW you can deliver. See rule #8.
Rule 16: Don’t waffle. If you promised “Ultra,” deliver Ultra. I once spent an entire weekend in a Macao factory across the table from four Chinese engineers whose job seemed to be to convince me that their $4 toy car was actually the $100 precision die-cast model my firm had commissioned. This taught me: crappy is not ultra.
Rule 17: Keep your cool. Anger causes tunnel vision.The moment you lose your temper, your IQ plunges 40 points. Unless you are a bona fide genius, this is more money than you have in the Brain Bank.
Rule 18: Do not get full of yourself. Always show respect. Are you on a roll? Maybe you were interviewed on TV, or invited to the CEO’s home for dinner. This is when life gets dangerous. Don’t morph into a faux Master of the Universe. More than ever, you need to show respect to your boss and colleagues.
Rule 19: When you get feedback, actually listen to it. In contrast to Rule #17, listening increases your IQ by 40 points.
Rule 20: Ask for a raise after you have mastered Rules 1 to 19.
This article was originally a Slideshare.
Image: ToGa Wanderings/Flickr