Updated: Mar 30
You have been working at your job for a year or two and still do the same things for the same money as when you started. When is your upward mobility going to kick in with a promotion and new responsibilities? When will you start making some real money so that you can live the lifestyle you want?
Here are a few things to consider:
Don’t complain to your coworkers. Venting only works you up and stirs up those around you. You don’t want to get a reputation as an instigator and malcontent. If layoffs are ever necessary, you will be at the top of the list no matter how talented or productive you are.
Don’t whine. As a Millennial, you are working to overcome a sweeping entitlement label. No matter how unfair you think that is, you want to avoid anything that smacks of deserving better treatment just because you show up.
Don’t mention your long-term service at the company. You are talking to someone who has been working 20+ years so your relatively short stint is not going to impress.
Don’t threaten to leave. This plants a seed that you are not a team player and not someone the company should invest in for the long term. If you are truly unhappy because you are being looked over then quietly seek out better opportunities. But don’t just quit. It is easier to find another job if you have a job.
Do be grateful. Thank your boss for the opportunity to work there and for the positive parts of the company. If it is true then mention the benefits, perks, camaraderie, environment or anything else that is not a stretch. Generally, managers want to reward those with an attitude of gratitude.
Do mention how much you have grown in your current role. Your boss likely wears many hats and usually won’t notice areas of improvement until they are pointed out. When phrased as “growth” it sounds more like gratitude than tooting your own horn.
Do ask for feedback. Proactively asking might prompt your boss to provide you with some helpful insight into how you come across and how your work is being judged. If anything is negative avoid being defensive. Just nod and thank them. Even if it hurts and you disagree, it is good to discover so you can work to change or change the perception.
Do ask for advice. Since your boss is in a more senior role and has likely been at the company longer than you, ask if he or she has any advice for you as you strive to be your best and progress in your career. Most people enjoy talking about themselves and their experience so you might be surprised what you hear.
Do ask for your expectations to be managed related to income. If the input has been negative, then it is presumptuous to assume more compensation is due. Go back to work. If it has been positive, then proceed but do not demand more money. Simply ask if the value of your work to the company has increased beyond your current income. If the answer is no, ask what you can do to increase your value. If the answer is yes, ask how likely is it you could see a raise by (set a date here). By setting a date you have established a specific time to revisit the issue. You will walk away with a better understanding of what to expect, and you have planted a seed with your boss that could prove fruitful for you.
Bonus Tip 1: Take a notepad and pen with you when you have any meeting with a superior and use it. People feel honored when you care enough to write down what they say. It also conveys you take the meeting and your job seriously.
Bonus Tip 2: If you do leave, try to leave well by being gracious and appreciative. I have seen many wrongs ways to leave and only a few right ways. You can’t control the reaction of the company you are leaving but you can control what you do. Try to keep from burning a bridge. A parting shot might feel good at the time but can come back to bite you later.