Retiring Early

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Getting what you deserve

Over the past 7 years that I've known my wife, she has worked at a number of different companies. She has a self-described "2 year itch", meaning after about 2 years, she wants a change of environment -- new employer, new colleagues, new surroundings, etc. Well, I'm not sure if it's just that it's spring time, but that time has arrived.

She likes her current situation, but isn't in love with it. She does have a LOT of perks, however. First, she works in the city in a nice, modern loft space, and it's only 8 blocks from home. As if getting to work was a problem, she also has the luxury of working from home at least one day a week! Extra vacation time isn't a problem. ...and the work? She has mastered the job and can do it in her sleep, and she's viewed as one heck of a value to her company. She's a go-to person -- the kind no one in their right mind would want to leave. So what's not to like?

Well, to be honest, she took a pay cut from her last job to take this one. Yep, the 2 year itch strikes again. Now, she's not making minimum wage by any stretch of the imagination, but there's just something about taking a pay cut. She has had 2 raises and a few bonuses over the past 1.5 yrs, but she's still not back to making what she was prior to taking this job.

So, to make a long story short, she had her annual review discussion with the owner of the business and the owner gave her a respectable 4% raise, but surprisingly, left the door open for discussion if she wasn't happy. 4% is not a bad raise these days, but for someone who took a pay cut to take a job, it looks downright minuscule!

Any time someone leaves the door open like that, it's a huge tell-tale sign that you're not getting what you are due. With that in mind, I strongly encouraged her to fire back and get a larger raise. Much to my surprise, she wasn't going to ask for another 2-3%, but she went for a full-on 10% raise! Holy cow, that's incredible!

So I helped her craft an email message and justification, and low and behold -- without hesitation -- it was approved within minutes (strange that you can negotiate these things completely over email!). I was so incredibly proud of her!

The lesson?
Of course, it's easy to let the 2 year itch take over and jump ship to find a new role, but getting what you deserve can be as easy as just asking for it. And it goes without saying that significant raises get you to retirement much more quickly, so it's a boon on all fronts!

(Image courtesy of irinaslutsky)



  • At 5/23/2007 10:01 AM, Blogger pfstock said…

    Congratulations to your wife on asking for and getting a big raise! It is sometimes amazing to me that companies can have such flexibility in determining salaries for the same job. It makes me consider asking for the same thing, since I took a small pay cut to start my current job as well. On the other hand, I know that the firm and my industry are not doing so well recently. Things would be a lot easier to negotiate if the company were making new highs every week.

    I'm sorry if you took my comments at PFStock about your blog template the wrong way. I did consider this template for PFStock, and even tried to change the arrows so that they would point upward instead of down. I couldn't figure out how to do that, so I settled on the current template.

    I was hoping to see a net worth update from you since you seem to be rapidly approaching the coveted $1,000,000 mark. If you don't mind my asking, do people generally base their NetworthIQ numbers on individual net worth or household net worth? I know that there are no right or wrong answers here, I’m just curious what other people do.

  • At 5/24/2007 7:07 AM, Blogger fin_indie said…

    Thanks PF -- no worries on the template issue -- I'm just choosing to ignore it for now :)

    re: the $1M mark -- yeah, I really need to write a post on this...

  • At 5/27/2007 10:15 AM, Anonymous finance girl said…

    haha fantastic!!! Wow, I'd much rather negotiate a pay raise over email!!

    I once (13 years ago!) negotiated a pay raise that was me toe to toe with my manager....for 4 HOURS!!!

    But I got it!!!


  • At 6/01/2007 6:50 AM, Anonymous tehnyit said…

    Good going on getting that raise.

    I have seen many such situations and I have always wondered why some bosses would want to negotiate a raise in these situations. Obviously, your wife's company sees her as an extremely valuable asset. It would have made sense for the company to offer her the maximum raise from the beginning and show her how much they value her.

    Was the company testing her negotiation skills, or to see how she values herself?

  • At 6/04/2007 9:02 AM, Blogger fin_indie said…

    Good question -- they may have been testing her. My guess is that they were basically looking for great talent at rock bottom pries. Once they have the great talent, they certianly don't want to lose it for a few more nickles, right?

  • At 10/12/2007 8:33 AM, Blogger change is a good thing said…

    Thanks for this post! I have been kicking myself for not asking for more on my last raise. But, I have been taking note of the things I do that I can use for bargaining next time, and I think it should pan out well for me.


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