In recent days, we’ve all witnessed a shocking turn of events in the Jussie Smollett story out of Chicago. While it will take time for the legal process to play out for this case, police now say what initially looked like an alleged hate crime was instead a bizarre attempt by the “Empire” actor to secure a raise.
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Though it is obvious this story provides a cautionary example of what not to do when seeking a raise, here is advice on the right ways to do so.
Be a positive force and contributor in your job, with your coworkers and in your workplace. Employers don’t want to hire or promote negative or difficult people.
On the other hand, a positive attitude is welcomed and embraced by employers. Bosses love to hire, manage, promote and reward people with a “can do” positive attitude.
Even if you don’t manage a team of people or have the manager title — you can still be a leader. Be the kind of person who regularly takes initiative, seeks out opportunities to make a positive difference and lends a helping hand to coworkers.
Ask for more. I’m not talking about asking for more money, but I am talking about asking for more work and responsibility. Offer to lead a special initiative or solve a lingering challenge. Demonstrate your expertise and create new value for your employer.
Take steps to make yourself indispensable, and your employer will recognize your overall value to the business. In time, management may ask you to take on more responsibility as part of your current role or your next role with the company.
Make sure that you’re always meeting—if not exceeding—the demands of your job. Employers want to know they can count on you to deliver on all your current responsibilities before giving you more to shoulder.
Consistent performers who exceed requirements are the ones rewarded with raises and promotions because employers know they can count on them to deliver. Be sure to point out your contributions not only during performance reviews but also throughout the year.
Stay true to your values
I’m fortunate to work for a company with the core values of Honesty, Integrity, Maturity, Passion for Results and Family First. For us, these are not empty words on a poster but active guideposts we try to live out every day.
Be honest with your employer and even more importantly with yourself. Be transparent in who you are and what you stand for. Have the maturity to make good choices and decisions. Be passionate about what you do while always putting your family and loved ones first. Ultimately, don’t do anything that you would be ashamed of.
Of course, I can’t guarantee that doing the five things outlined above will earn you a raise in the near term. But I am certain that these—and similar steps—will position you for better opportunities and a higher likelihood of advancement over the long haul.
Joanie Courtney is chief employment analyst at EmployBridge.