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THE QUESTION

I have been working for the same company for six years in a job that requires incredible attention to detail. If I make a mistake, it could not only cost my company money, it could put lives at risk. My work has been rated “outstanding” in my annual reviews, yet I have never received a raise or bonus. Last month, one of my younger colleagues, whose sloppy work I regularly correct, boasted to me that she is getting more money and an additional week of vacation.

THE ANSWER

Billy Anderson – Founder, Made You Think Coaching, Toronto

In a perfect world, we would all be recognized and compensated for the exact value we provide. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, in which case we need to stand up for ourselves and ask for more. The squeaky hinge gets the grease.

Asking for more money feels a bit vulgar to many people, but that’s just fear talking; fear that we’ll come across as being full of ourselves, fear that we’ll imply managers aren’t doing their job properly, fear that we’ll be rejected and told we don’t deserve more.

A raise is difficult to obtain if your responsibilities haven’t increased or if you’re not stepping up to some form of leadership. Is Ms. Sloppy doing something that you’re not? You say you’re not ambitious for a promotion, but some employers aren’t interested in rewarding people who don’t show enthusiasm for going above the call of duty or working their way up.

Have a conversation with your boss. It could go something like this: “I’ve always received outstanding reviews but I haven’t had a raise in six years. I’d like to understand why that is. Is there anything I could be doing differently?” This shows you’re willing to co-operate, you’re not pointing the finger, and it makes your boss define what you need to do to be recognized. Then you can decide if you’re willing to do it.