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Ask Brian – When Should I Ask For Another Raise?

February 25th, 2008 · 4 Comments

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Last week I had post about asking for a raise. Reader Rachael had this comment:

Is there a general rule about how often raises should be requested? I’ve been thinking about asking but I don’t know if it would be in my better interest to wait another month or s0. My last raise was in September but I’m still making a bit below what I should be making in my position.

Brian answers after the break…

Brian Sayz:

The issue here is one of perception. Obviously, you could come off as a bit too eager if you’re going around asking for a new raise every couple of months. This is something you really have to think over and consider your reputation. Are you going to come off like a jerk? Have you done this more than once? If so, waiting might be the best thing for your career and your reputation.

Here are my basic rules about asking for a raise:

  • If all things are equal, you shouldn’t ask for a raise more often than once a year. This means, if you’re still doing the same work, and the business you work for is still doing the same level of business, then you shouldn’t expect more than a cost of living upgrade.
  • However, you could consider asking for a raise sooner than once a year if one of the two things happen:
    • 1) The business you work for suddenly has a surge in business and is doing materially better than it was before. If the business is doing significantly better, then it is reasonable to request that you share in a bit of the largess.
    • 2) Your workload/responsibilities increase substantially. This is even more logical. If you’re doing more work, it’s reasonable to request more compensation for that work.

I personally would wait 18-24 months between asking for new raises, and I would time them based on my knowledge of the company’s fiscal year and budgeting schedules. After all, you’re more likely to get a raise when there’s extra money sitting in the budget.

But then again, I’m a bit more cautious than others.

Related posts:

  1. The Economy Sucks- Why You Should Ask For A Raise

Tags: Ask Brian

  • Rachael

    Thanks for your thoughts! I never asked for the previous raises, they gave them based on me taking on more responsibility. Lately things have been slow and I was getting frustrated and needed some motivation but it sounds like it isn’t an appropriate time to ask for a raise but rather to try to get them to let me take on some more work first.

  • Richard Rinyai

    I agree with this. I would personally ask for a raise every 12 months, unless my workload increased dramatically or I receive some sort of promotion in the type of work I do.

    I’m actually lucky, since I automatically get a raise very 12 months, depending on my performance. This is one of the benefits of working for a large corporation.


    Richard Rinyai

  • Jesper

    Is there a NLRB rule that says how often raises should be provided? I work as a teacher online and have not had a raise in six years–you might recognize the name of the large institution, but I am not naming any names. I am not a math whiz (should have studied law or accounting), but it seems odd, that even as a part-time/adjunct faculty member, the payment per course has remained static for six years.

    I know that there ought to be a law against what we earn relative to what students pay, yet I wonder, given all of the 12- to 24-month raises that are being mentioned in your column whether there are some serious laws being violated.


  • Bryan Younger2345

    I have been employed at the same company for almost 10 years now and as of Feb. 16th I had to take a pay cut to keep my job. I was told that we would all have to make sacrifices. The problem is I am the only one that took a pay cut and ironically my position couldn’t be filled by anyone else in the company. I am the only person capable of doing my job. The problem is everything runs smoothly because I maintain it well and correct any problems as soon as they happen. I also fill in for almost every other position company wide thanks to my experience. I am afraid that if I ask for a raise I will be told no and I don’t want to risk causing animosity amongst the office in these uncertain times. Should I ask for the raise and risk losing my job or sounding like sour grapes or just suck it up?