426: Negotiating Career Happiness: Getting The Raise You Want Without Changing Companies

How Justin negotiated the raise he wanted, to stay with a company he loved.



Justin , Engineer

Justin is an Engineer who loved the company he worked for, but wanted to be better compensated for the work he was doing in his role.

on this episode

You know the value you bring to your organization, and you really want to be paid more than what you’re currently making.

But the real question is, how do you go about asking for it? How do you even begin? And how do you do that in a way that is going to actually get you what you want?

Justin is a technical engineer who found himself in this position. He was able to stay with the company he loved and negotiated the raise… more than the amount that he thought he would actually get.

What you’ll learn

  • The sleazy tactic you should avoid when negotiating (plus it’s more work)
  • How to evaluate the value you bring and compare it to the needs your organization has
  • The importance of understanding what you really want and how that ties into your role and compensation
  • How to push past your comfort zone to ask for the right compensation

Success Stories

I greatly appreciate your help in bringing this along because I wouldn't have had the confidence to negotiate and to be where I am today without the help of a lot of other people. You played a really significant role in it. I'm not going to be that everyday person that hates my job, I'm going to stretch and I'm going to aspire to be better and I'm not going to make that everyday salary. Thank you Scott for putting this out there for all the people that are trying to do a little bit better and trying to go a little bit farther. This is awesome. I love this. This thing that you do, the whole HTYC thing, from the paperwork all the way down to the podcast and just helping people understand that there is success out there and it is attainable but you've got to work for it.

Jerrad Shivers, Market Manager, United States/Canada

I have worked my entire career in behemoth companies (Hershey, Kraft, Pepsi), but I never felt like my creativity could really be stretched. I was often told I have great ideas but there was no way they would happen. So I found myself really discouraged and wanting a more challenging, creative career. And to top it off, I’m making almost $40,000 more a year. I certainly don’t expect that kind of increase every time I make a career move, but I knew my skill value and what I bring to the table. I held my own and negotiated. Now my salary is on par with my male colleagues.

Julie Laughter , Senior Manager, Sustainability

I was able to negotiate a higher salary, accepted the offer and I can not be happier! You truly helped make this process as painless as possible! I would (and will) recommend your services to anyone and everyone looking for a new job (or current job pay raise).

Kevin Larsen, Manager of Maintenance, United States/Canada

Justin 00:01
About four years in, I essentially like went to my boss and kind of like, with no coaching or anything like with my tail kind of between my legs, like just kind of like, I think I've done a good job. And you know, and I think I got like 2 or 3% raise on top of what I normally get, which was great, you know, but it still wasn't really this big event where it was like you're changing jobs and a 20% raise or 30%, or whatever.

Introduction 00:38
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:03
Here's something you may have experienced before. You know, you bring value to your organization. You also know, you'd really like to be paid much more than what you're currently making. But the real question is, how do you go about asking for it? How do you begin? How do you do it in a way that is actually going to allow you to get what you want?

Justin 01:25
Overall, I think it'll ultimately turn into about a 20% raise over the next few years. So salary wise, it was about a 12% raise. And then, you know, my other forms of compensation will roll in over the next few years. And that'll be another, you know, 8 or 9%. So it's really well worth the effort.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:47
That's Justin. He's a technical engineer, who came to us for help, when he really wanted to negotiate a raise with his company, he'd been approached by recruiters with other companies, but really just wanted to stay with the same organization he was at. He didn't want to make a transition. It's just that, he knew that if he went someplace else, he could make so much more. So this was, as you might imagine, quite a predicament. So you're going to hear Justin, he's going to tell us a little bit about his career trajectory. But I want you to listen for what he did to be able to stay with the company that he really wanted to be at, and make the amount of money that he wanted to have, which, and he did by negotiating his salary, renegotiatinghis salary, right, he got a raise. Actually, it also happened to be more than the amount that he thought he even wanted.

Justin 02:38
So I have been with the company I've worked at for almost 10 years. And I've changed jobs twice before that, you know, so I work somewhere for two years. And then I worked somewhere for about four years, and now I've been here for 10 years. And normally, those events where you have the large pay increase are, when you have two companies that are sort of fighting over you, you know, that's when you see these big 10, 20% pay increases. And after 10 years, I kind of felt like, hey, like, this is really time for me to look into this, but I don't really want to change jobs, I'm pretty happy where I'm at. But I know, you know, if I went and found another job, I might get a pay increase. And I had already done that once at my current job about four years in, I essentially like went to my boss and kind of like, with no coaching or anything like with my tail kind of between my legs, like just kind of like, I think I've done a good job. And you know, and I think I got like 2 or 3% raise on top of what I normally get, which was great, you know, but it still wasn't really this big event where it was like you're changing jobs and a 20% raise or 30%, or whatever. And I was contacted by a recruiter about another local job a few months before, I contacted you guys. And we kind of went down the path of talking about the job, and talking about, you know, the pay and the benefits. And I guess for a little bit more backstory, like I have a pretty good pay and compensation package for where I live. Like it's normally recruiters will come talk to me and then I'll tell them, "What it would take to get me to leave?" And they're like, "Oh, we can't touch that." So it's not like, you know, I was underpaid going into this broad process. Just that there are a whole lot of people in the area that do what I do and I knew that I could probably make more if I had another job offer. So while talking to the recruiter, I was like, well, I'll go interview, I'll go down this route. But in the back of my head, I was like, I don't really want this job, like, I really just want a job offer so I can go in and renegotiate with my current job, and that kind of led me down the path of all the things you think about, like, is this the right way to do this? Like, are they going to look at me different? What if they just say, "Okay, thank you. Like, you know, we're not going to renegotiate." Then I have to say, "Oh, well, I was just kidding anyway."

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:42
Sorry, April Fool's.

Justin 05:44
So that kind of prompted me to contact you guys, you know, and I think I kicked it off with just an email, you know, because I listened to the podcast before. And it's like, hey, like, here's my situation. Like, I have a recruiter that's talking to me, you know, the job is interesting, I wouldn't be upset if I ended up doing it, you know, after 10 years would be nice for a change. But at the same time, I'm pretty comfortable where I'm at, really, I just want a good reason to renegotiate. Then we kind of went through all the ways we can handle that and ended up not pursuing the recruiter more. And...

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:25
Let me ask you about that part. I think, as I remember, some of the email exchanges you had with myself and our team. And one of the things that you were, I'll say, hesitant about is most of the time, you know, with the exception of this one recruiter, most of the time, you had gotten the response of, "wow, we can't even touch that" what you said earlier, right. And it seemed like that colored a little bit of whether or not this type of renegotiation was even possible. So tell me a little bit about how that went in your head? And what were some of your thoughts about that?

Justin 07:02
Yeah, well, it's interesting, because, you know, I work at a company that is pretty healthy financially, like they could afford to pay me whatever they wanted to pay me essentially. And so that's where I kind of came up with the thought of, okay, well, I would be hard to replace in this area, it wouldn't be impossible, but it takes them a while to find somebody and also bring them up to speed with you know, nearly a decade's experience and knowledge and everything. That's pretty valuable in any industry, especially in an industry, like, where the turnaround seems to be a lot, you know, most tech jobs, you see people, you know, I've looked at resumes, and people move around a lot, like, two to three years is like max, people ever stay somewhere.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:59
You feel like a dinosaur if you stay three and a half years.

Justin 08:02
Right, that's what it seems like. And which is crazy to me, because, you know, it seems like just the first year is just trying to figure out how the heck everything works. And then the second year is just trying to implement that. And then after that, you can finally start to really contribute. But you know, my background is both hardware and software, and like, really, really low level like firmware, which not a whole lot of people do all of those. So normally, you have to have a hardware guy who designs things, and then you have to have the software or the firmware guy who sort of makes the pins, do what they're supposed to do. And those two people have to work really closely to make things happen. And to have one person that sort of understands both worlds really well and can kind of leverage little tricks on one side that the other side might not see, you know, that's, that's really valuable if you need it. It's not something that every company needs, but if you're developing, you know, there's really like high tech products, then that's definitely like something that's worth, you know, keeping that person around.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:23
Absolutely. And it seems like there were a couple elements here that created a lot of value for the organization. And I almost look at this every time we are helping someone negotiate in any situation, we're looking at what are the value creators or what are the assets here? What are the things that the organization would not want to give up? And whether someone's just starting a new role or whether they've been in a role. And in your case, I think, you know, what stood out to me as we initially talked to you was that you already had a great relationship with your boss and your boss's boss and even your boss's boss's boss. And those were already in existence and solid, you already had a track record of performance. In your case, it was longer than most, because you'd been with the company for a while. But you know, that's something else that has to be there for this to work. It's almost like a prerequisite for everything else to happen afterwards. And you did such a great job with those two pieces, that I knew that for you, it would be very possible to have these types of conversations that would lead to some of your goals with changing your salary without having to go and as you said, you know, go get the other job.

Justin 10:37
Yeah, so my long term goal is to retire early. So hopefully, in you know, six or eight years, old saved enough money to just sort of draw, you know, what they call a 4% role and live a life where I'm not sort of chained to my desk, and I can work if I want to work and not work if I don't want to work. But just being the, I'm sort of a third of the way down this path, I've got a little bit of money saved up, one of the terms that people use is F you money. So it's sort of the, it's different for everybody. But you know, for me right now, you know, I have enough money to where if they just fired me today, I could probably be okay for two or three years. And, you know, that's not really what I want to do. But having that sort of in my back pocket really helped I feel like because I'm not fearful of losing my job. Like, if I lost my job, I know, I would be okay, I would you know, I would find another job. At some point, even if it took me a year, like I would be financially okay. And that was really powerful, because I feel like a lot of people sort of put a lot of weight on their job. And if they don't have good savings, then they take the wrong attitude, I guess, with their employer, they're very thankful to have their employer there. And they're not really looking at it from the opposite end of like, my employer should be really thankful for having me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:14
I think it's so hard to think about it that way for many people, but two things that you, maybe three things actually that you called out, I think are really almost critical in this type of situation. One thing that I can't agree with more that people don't really think about or spend a lot of time talking about is that if you have done a great job, saving any kind of emergency money, whether you call it F you money or anything else, and you have any kind of cash, that causes you to make different decisions, it causes you to take, well, I wouldn't even call what you I mean, there is some risk to what you did, no doubt. However, it causes you to be able to make different decisions and assess risk differently, which I think is something that because you had done such a great job, putting, you know, putting money away and taking care of yourself financially caused you to be able to make different types of decisions and look at things differently. But the other piece, too, is you did a really great job with being able to take an otherwise great situation, qnd recognize that there is opportunity to do something different and begin to even question that and having that mindset that you mentioned, where it's like, "Hey, they're lucky to have me in this case." I think that's really very, very helpful to begin to question what might happen differently. So nice job on one hand, and then two, I know we're gonna get in talk about like, what actually happened, but I think those are two pieces that allowed everything else to happen, that are undervalued when people look at this.

Justin 14:07
Yeah. And like I said, like, probably about four or five years ago, I went in and asked for a raise, I mean, that my heart was pounding. I was nervous. And, you know, this was much different because I was prepared. And I was prepared for anything. Like if they were, you know, if I didn't get the response I wanted, or if they just said, "You know what, you know, we don't think you were doing as well as you thought you were doing. Like you're fired." I was prepared for any of that. And I guess not removing the fear of failing was the really key and all this. Just because, you know, it wasn't really the case where if I did fail, then well, you know, I'd lose my house and my car, you know, my kids wouldn't be able to go to college. And you know, it would be a little setback. But, you know, I knew I was prepared and ready for anything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:11
And this is so interesting, because I think that in most of these cases where we've worked with people, and then on one end or the other, or in cases where I've gone and done this myself, or members of our team have gone and done this, and we're in the firsthand, you know, sitting in the chair, it's so rare that that is going to happen, what you just described, about, "Hey, I'm gonna go in and ask. And they're just gonna say no, and on top of no, they're going to remove opportunities for me, like my job." Like that is something that just rarely rarely happens. And you'd have to, after really, really ask in an offensive way, or for something terrible to be going on at the organization at the same time or in your boss's life for it to result in that it's just so unlikely. That's it. Still possible in that tiny little bit of possibility.

Justin 16:06
But people, like I know people who, you know what I've mentioned, I'm going to, you know, ask for a raise or whatever, oh, like, why would you ever try to rock the boat? And, you know, just human psychologies is interesting because if you're not prepared for that emergency, then it always feels like it is just depending you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:33
So that's really interesting. It sounds like as you were having conversations about that, you got some responses, like, "oh, my goodness, why would you rock the boat?" Did you get any other types of responses as you were talking with others about your plans to ask for a raise or renegotiate?

Justin 16:50
Yeah, I mean, I had gotten responses all over. I mean, I hadn't really spread the word a whole lot. But you know, working, I mentioned it to another guy I work with, and, you know, he was pretty confident I would get a raise, maybe not necessarily, you know, what I was asking for which we didn't really talk numbers exactly. But you know, kind of like, the first time I went in, he was like, yeah, you could probably get like another 2 or 3%, you know, on top of what you normally get, which is kind of the way to appease someone and make them go away, raise, you know, like, okay, here you go.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:29
Thanks for asking, don't talk to me about it anymore.

Justin 17:31
But it definitely was interesting to kind of evaluate how everybody looked at the job market, and how people respond to just trying to determine their market value like that was interesting to me. Especially, you know, in the Midwest, so relatively to the whole US, you know, my salaries looks like it's like, I'm way under paid, but in the Midwest, their cost of living is so low, like, it's actually, you know, pretty top tier.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:09
For that particular area. Well, and I think the great news that you and I spoke about along the way is that it's no law, even if you live in the Midwest, or you live in, say, I live in Moses, Lake Washington, where cost of living is very, very, very exceptionally low in many different ways. And even if you live in one of those two places, then you are no longer required to work from one of those two places, which opens up the possibilities and opens up who employers are competing against for talent, essentially, in many different ways.

Justin 18:49
That was really kind of key in the proposal. And, you know, what we came up with was that was really focusing on the fact that, hey, like, companies and on the west coast, are hiring people from all over the world because everybody's working at home right now. And that's, you know, that seems to be the way the markets moving just in general. You know, even after things kind of get back to normal and quarantines and COVID isn't really a big concern anymore, hopefully later on this year, then a lot of people are still going to be able to work remote, and that's a win-win for everybody.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:55

Justin 19:08
As this the job market.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:11
So as you think back to the beginning of this process, what were some of the biggest questions that you had, or concerns that you had going into this process where you were trying to think about, like, how do I even do this? How do I approach this? Especially in a different way than what you had done four or five years ago, where you got the poultry, you know, here's a... let me throw you a bone type raised, 2 or 3%.

Justin 20:01
Right. I think the biggest struggle I had was trying to decide whether I should go have another job offer in hand or not. Because I felt like I was really good negotiator. But only if I was holding all the chips. And the only way I could picture myself as holding all the chips is if I had this other offer in my hand, and I was like, hey, look, like I can leave today and go bank this at this other company. It took a lot of coaching, you know, as you know, for me to kind of realize, wait a minute, like, I'm already holding the chips, I just have to know how to use them. And I have to convince myself that, you know, I couldn't go get this somewhere else, even without an offer in hand. Which, you know, in the long run, I think we're a lot better than if I actually were to get a job offer. Like, I feel like we did the right thing, just because, you know, we talked a lot about going into the negotiation as a partnership with your boss. And that was really beneficial. Because if I were to just run in and say, you know, "Look, this company down the streets gonna pay me 15% more, you know, give me more than that, or I'm going to leave." It's a very standoffish, you know, attitude that both parties are taking, you know, your boss feels cornered and then you might get looked at differently. I don't know, there was a lot that even though that's sort of the way the market normally handles it, it just didn't feel right to me. So I really like the approach of going in and saying, you know, like, "Look, here's what I could make. And you and I both know, I'm qualified for all these jobs. And here's what I want. So, you know, how can we make this happen together? So I don't have to go look for another job. And I don't have to come in here with the job offer to wave in your face and threaten you with." Like, I think everybody appreciated that approach more.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:22
I think the... as you're sharing, hey, here's some of the questions, biggest questions that I had, one thing that stood out to me, when we started interacting with you, and trying to understand some of your goals, and what you might be asking for throughout the process of negotiating and an increase would tie into your long term goals. And the ways that you wanted to do it, the biggest thing that stood out to me is, you're really uncomfortable with this idea that you mentioned of going and getting the job only to negotiate an increase, like that seemed out of your normal integrity, like the way that you live everything the rest of your life, like that was just like totally implicitly outside it. And that seemed like the only reason you were considering it, is it what it felt like you had to do. Is that a fair assessment?

Justin 23:14
Yeah, I think it depends a lot on your organization. The last company I worked for, I definitely felt like, you know, they made me counter offers for me to stay. And then I ended up not staying. Because I did feel like hey, like, they're trying to get me to stay right now. But, you know, they're gonna push me out as soon as they can, or I'm going to be looked at differently. And, you know, I think it depends a lot on just the dynamics of the organization and how they treat people. I don't necessarily feel like that would be the case where I am right now, just because it's a bigger company and finances, and people are sort of more removed. You know, the previous company I was with was a smaller company. So, you know, if the CEO is agreeing to a raise, that's like, $1 out of his pocket, so it's more directly... they're more directly seeing the hit of finances on them personally.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:25
Justin, when you think about this process, and you think about the work that you did to be able to make this happen for yourself and with this organization. What were some of the first things that you remember doing as we went through the process with you?

Justin 24:47
Well, the biggest thing was, you being so convincing, that I could go get another job somewhere else. And then going and looking and seeing what other jobs are available. You told me to spend like an hour, I probably spent like 10 or 12 hours over the course of a couple of weeks. But you know, it was nice, because in the process of looking for other jobs, and which it's hard to find job postings that actually list salaries, right. And, you know, just by default, most of the jobs don't list a salary. But just the ones that did list the salary publicly, you know, I was able to find a dozen jobs that paid, you know, significantly more than what I made now that we're remote, and also things that would be, you know, that would be interesting for me to do. Maybe not necessarily, you know, you always take a gamble when you change companies, because you don't really know the health of the company. And you know, whether it's going to be around, you know, in 10 years, or 2 years, or 3 years, you know, which was what I was trying to avoid by not changing jobs is it's like, I know, I'm at a job where I've been there almost a decade, I could be there for another decade, easily if I wanted to, but just convincing myself that these jobs are out there, and I could go get them right now, that was really probably the biggest step. Because once I got that mindset, that, hey, like, I could go get one of these jobs today. Or, you know, it takes a little while to go through the interview process and everything, but you know, these jobs are available. That was kind of when the game changed. And then you kept pushing me, you know, cuz I think I came out with what I was going to ask for. It was, you know, I think about 15% or so more than what I made, and you kind of kept pushing me up, but I think we finally landed on about 20% more, because you kept kind of nudging me to say, "hey, ask for more, like you can get it." So that was definitely eye opening, I guess.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:26
Was that an uncomfortable part of the process for you?

Justin 27:29
A little bit, yeah. Because you, you know, you always... you want to ask a number that doesn't seem crazy. And you want to ask a number that, you know, one is beneficial to you. Because that's ultimately why you're asking for a raise is because this is how I'm compensated for the job I do. But two, you don't want to ask a number that's so high that they just kind of laugh at you, and kind of dismiss it as whatever, like, that's impossible. But I think the way, we kind of structured the ask and the documentation and everything to go with it really, really helped kind of drive that home. But it definitely was like, uncomfortable trying to decide what to ask for. It's easy when you have an offer in hand from another company, you say, "Hey, look like they're offering me 10% more, you know, you can either match that or you can go more" like it's not really in your hands, you're just saying, this is what I could get with this other job offer. Like not having that offer in my hands, like definitely made it uncomfortable.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:48
What helped you be able to move through the process? Let's just for really helping bring everybody else into this process really quick. If we were divided this into steps, step one for you really was about let's figure out what your assets are, right? And we talked a little bit about that earlier, but you did... you have such a great relationship with everyone who has a vested interest with you there already. You have this track record of success. And on top of all of this, you have a variety of experiences and skill sets that just are a very unique combination. And I think lots of people have these but don't necessarily realize it. But in your particular case, you acknowledge that like you get sort of the software and hardware side and everything in between that makes them jive together. But then step two for you was really about, okay, what is the strategy for how we go about asking, and it really made sense for you to not involve other jobs in the process because I was outside of your integrity and do so in a way that was very much inside of your integrity, and figure out what's the game plan and strategy for how we're going to do that and I think you and I had decided that it would be a series of conversations where you approach it from, "hey, I could go and do this. I could go and get another job. But I respect you too much to be able to make that." Like, go and do that and waste everybody's time when my goal is to stay here in the first place. Right?

Justin 30:17
Yeah. You know, which is the truth, you know, that's basically just, that just boils down to, you know, figuring out how to word that in a way that gets their attention the same way you having another job offer would anyway, because... so I'm trying to think the most powerful thing in this whole process, I think, was when we sort of decided what to do is, so my steps to kind of backtrack a little bit. So I came up with a, you know, a proposal for compensation, and then you kind of ripped it all up and said, "Hey, like, move this around and change this and do all this with you know" and so after a few iterations of back and forth with you, you know, we had a pretty decent multi page proposal in hand. And then the fact that I simply called my boss and said, "Hey, like, I have something that's really, really important to me to talk to you about. And, you know, I'd like to do that in person sometime in the next, you know, three or four days. You have time on, you know, Thursday or Friday?" I think it was a Thursday, ultimately. But I called him on Monday, but I didn't tell him anything else, you know, and then and he didn't really pry, but setting the conversation up like that, I feel like was really powerful. Because I feel like it flipped who was nervous.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:05
He did.

Justin 32:06
Right. Because normally, I would go in and say, "Hey, can I, you know, I'd like a raise. I've done a really good job." And I'd be the one whose heart was pounding and who was nervous. And when I went in on Thursday and met with my boss, you know, I was, you know, slightly nervous, leading into it. But, you know, not nearly as nervous as I was before. I could tell, you know, he was just waiting for me to hand in my resignation. And I could see the look of relief on his face, when all I did was ask for 20% raise, you know, which was like, amazing, because, you wouldn't say that they'd be like, 20%, like, whatever. But, you know, just for him to sort of sit back. And I know that, you know, he also talked to his boss, and they sort of already knew something was up, and we were meeting, you know, for an important reason. But for them to sit there and think, "okay, well, like he's probably handing in his resignation, or he has another job offer for a few days" it kind of puts them in that mindset of "oh, like, this is what it really could be like if he did leave." Framing the conversation where I was not the nervous one, really, like, I feel like that was probably the most important thing out of this whole process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:44
I think that's really interesting and powerful, and without getting into every element of the psychology that we use with that particular strategy, which is not right for every single person under the sun. But I think it really, really was very effective here because it did, it put them in that emotional state where they had to consider, one, that it's a possibility that something you know, something could be disrupted here. And then they run through all the things in their mind about what that could be. Now, the unfortunate part is, you don't really get to control any of the thoughts that go through their head. And in this case, you know, that was actually helpful to the process, I would never recommend inflicting pain on people for manipulative purposes. But it allowed you to be transparent with what was going on here in all the ways that you could leading up to it while still being helpful to the process both for them and for you. Consequently, it also initiated them to start planning "well, what could we do in the background without you even having to ask?" So overall, I think it was really very, very good. The other thing is it did that might not be obvious here is it opens them up when you come and say, "Hey, I want to approach this as a partnership. I really want us to figure out together, like how we could make this possible? How could we get me towards this 20%? What would it take?" And asking those types of questions now, they're open to it in a completely different way than what they might have been if you just showed up randomly on a normal Tuesday and said, "Hey, so we're gonna talk to you about raise, that'd be cool." Completely, completely different. Anything else that as you think about this process for what worked really effectively for you, or what helped make it easier for you, that stood out for you.

Justin 35:46
Another one of the things was, it's gonna be different for everybody. But for me, in particular, I could pretty easily traced back some ideas and things that we've implemented over the past few years, and actually put $1 figure on some of those. Not necessarily to say like, "Hey, like, look, I saved the company $1 million. Therefore, I want you to pay me 900,000 of that" you know, but for me to actually look at it, and say, like, "whoa, like, this idea actually did save the company a million dollars, and this other idea, you know, save the company and other $500,000." Like, it definitely made it easier for me to sort of convince me of my worth in the process, because these were all ideas that I'm pretty confident if I wasn't working there, that nobody else would have necessarily came up with them. Maybe a few of them. But I mean, for the most part, these are sort of things that they handed me to work on, they're like, "Okay, well, here's how we think you should do it." And then as I got into it, I was like, well, wait a minute, if we do it like this, we can, you know, save $1 or whatever. And, you know, that really helped. And I was able to put that in the proposal as well and say, "Hey, like XYZ idea, you know, save the company, this amount of money." And it really did help me to kind of justify, to say, "Hey, look, your ROI is fantastic, no matter how you slice it, you know."

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:30
It's unequivocal. What's interesting is, so many people are in that position, and just don't even realize it. What as I'm listening to, you recount this story here, what's really standing out maybe even more than it ever has before, even though this is something of like me and my team have done a lot is that most of what made this work on the side for your employer, or on the side for you is about psychology, it's those things that got you to realize how much you were actually worth, it's those things that got your employer to be open to talking about this in a different way than they might have. It's all of those little psychological pieces rather than the proposal. And the proposal, you did a great job in the proposal. When we ended it, it was still like what I would say far from perfect, it was a really good proposal, but it's still far from perfect, we get to spend, I don't know, 20 or 50 more hours on it, to really get that tiny last little bits into perfection, right. But really, those didn't actually matter. It was much more about those other pieces of the process.

Justin 38:36
Yeah, like you mentioned earlier, you know, being able to word things in the sense that made my boss feel like, we were going to work on this problem together, versus just saying, "give me this or I'm leaving" you know, that saying, you know, give me this raise, or I'm going to leave is where, you know, it puts everybody in a standoffish mode. And that's not really the best place for everybody to be at, but being able to word it as, you know, look, like, "I'm qualified for all these other jobs, and I could go get them today. But I don't want to like I want to say here, you know, here's what I'd like to get paid in order, you know, for me to stop looking at all these other job offers and jobs that are available. You know, here's what I want in order for me to continue with my career here and sort of stop focusing on other opportunities. And how can we make that happen together?" Like that was really powerful. Because like you said earlier, like it puts them in problem solving mode, and it sort of takes the threat away. Which is you know, you never want people to feel like they're cornered and they need to do this or else because that just not a great way to approach anything in life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:07
It doesn't always feel very good either, if you do. In the situations where I have done that in the past, and even if the result has been good, it doesn't feel good in the end too.

Justin 40:18

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:19
Justin, what... as you think about this for someone else who's in a similar situation to you, where they've got, you know, a pretty decent track record of performance, and they have a great relationship with their boss or the other people who have a vested interest in their success, what advice would you give them if they're interested in renegotiating their compensation, whether it be salary or anything else? You and I had also even talked about something we didn't spend a lot of time talking about here, but like how to work in things like additional time off and other pieces of your total comp package, too. But what advice would you give that person who is thinking about that now?

Justin 41:01
The biggest advice, I would say, is to look at how hard it is for your employer to replace you. And if that's the sort of situation where it's going to be really, really hard for them to find somebody that can, you know, put on all the all the hats and take on the roles that you take on, then, you know, step two would be looking at other jobs and sort of learning about what's available on the market. Because, you know, the market ultimately kind of dictates what everyone is worth. But at the same time, you know, if you're at an organization, and they just really love you, and, you know, they really, really want you to stay, just be prepared, when you ask. Like put all this information together, actually write it down, instead of just sort of going in and asking for a raise, actually write it down. Even if you don't present it, write it down so you can organize your thoughts. And that way, when you do actually go in and ask, you can actually sort of be in a position of preparation. And, you know, like we already mentioned several times, you know, ask in a way that makes it a problem to solve, not necessarily a threat, but the problem that you and your boss can work on together. So maybe they can't give you a raise instantly, or maybe they can't give you the more time off instantly, or whatever it is you're seeking. But at least they know that this is something that's important to you. So down the road, you know, if that becomes an option then, they know that something that you would want.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:58
I think that's great advice, it puts you in a different position. Even if it doesn't happen right away for you, it puts you in a completely different position than what you were in before, which then that creates building blocks or stair steps or foundation to be able to have other conversations, which is amazing. And, you know, for you it happened quicker. You and I before we started recording here we were just talking about, it happened quicker than what we thought it would. You and I had a conversation that hey, this normally might be like 6 to 12 month process, and how long did it take you from beginning to end? Tell me a little bit about, you know, if we're looking back on this process, what were the results and the timelines that you got out of this?

Justin 43:49
Right. So I pitched it to my boss first and then actually immediately pitched it to my boss's boss, because he already kind of already knew what was going on or at least knew something was up. And so so I pitched it twice. The first time was better. Back to back as always, like, oh, he already did this. And then after that, they both took it to, you know, people above them. And then the next day, I talked to my boss and he basically said, you know, hey, like we had conversation with, you know, my boss's boss's boss, and it was positive. But you know, we kind of want to have more information about how you came up with this number that you're asking for. And so I kind of had the weekend to put together, you know, not really another proposal but just some data, putting together all the job offers that I'd, or not the job offers, for job postings that I've seen, and their salary ranges and links to all of those, and then kind of calculating an average of that and then saying, "Okay, well, the benefits where I work are a little better. So we're not going to quite ask for this number, we're going to ask for a little bit less." So it was a very calculated, you know, way of saying, "Hey, this is what I'm asking for. And this is exactly why I'm asking for it. You know, it's not just a number I pulled out of the hat. But here's the math of how I got there." So we had that... I had that conversation with my boss, I think the next Monday or Tuesday, and then on, I think it was that Thursday, maybe it was Friday. So ultimately, it was a week turned around. And then they, you know, he sat me down. And it was pretty close to what I asked for. I mean, it was basically what I asked for just in a different form, you know, part of it was salary, and then and then the other part was some stock options that take a few years to best. So it won't necessarily be, you know, an instant, sort of raise. But I know that over the course of the next few years, I'll get to where I asked for. But yeah, and then the other part I wanted to mention was, and maybe this is speculative on my end, I feel like it really like highlights to them that I'm not afraid to ask for what I'm worth. And so maybe down the road, you know, if it does come to the point where, okay, three or four more years from now, you know, it's time to ask for a little bit more of a raise, you know, maybe I won't need to even do that. Maybe they'll just know, "Hey, like we better... we need to make sure this guy's happy because he'll make a 12 page proposal. And we'll have to go through all this again."

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:20
It changes how people treat you. So this is... we talk a lot on the podcast about drawing boundaries and setting boundaries and expectations, and almost training the people that you work with, on how to treat you. And you know, what is within and outside your boundaries. And this is another example of drawing those boundaries, like having difficult conversation to be able to help people understand and train them on how to treat you.

Justin 47:46
Yeah, definitely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:49
You did such a great job. I just want to, one, say, I know I sent you a text that said "Congratulations", or maybe as an email, but again, now being able to chat, congratulations again, you did fantastic working through what is and can be pretty uncomfortable set of actions.

Justin 48:08
Well, thank you. Yeah. And I mean, I don't think I really could have done it without your coaching everything. So thank you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:17
You're very welcome. And with our last last minute or so here, is there anything else that you would like to say? Open mic time.

Justin 48:25
Open mic time. The biggest thing that you could really, that I took away from this process was knowing that you don't need another job offer to actually sort of have leverage, like leverage could be anything at any time. And even the word leverage is kind of used as a negative. I feel like in sometimes, you know, it's not really that you're being greedy, you're just asking for what you're worth. Because ultimately, you know, you're probably working at your job to make money. You know, hopefully you like what you do at the same time. But, you know, hopefully you're also getting paid what you're worth at the same time because, you know, that's why people work. So not being afraid to ask for a raise or do your homework and asking for what you're worth. I mean, that was my biggest takeaway from this whole process. Like I mentioned earlier, like, I wouldn't be super comfortable if I had another job offer and I was like, hey, like walk in the door. And here's my other offer. Like if you want me to stay, like, you better beat that. But that doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel right.

Scott Anthony Barlow 49:01
It's easier, but sometimes the right way to do it is not that easy way, in many different cases is what I've found over life. Justin, may we share either the percentages or amounts that you got for increase?

Justin 50:17
Yeah. Overall, I think it'll ultimately turn into about a 20% raise over the next few years. I've got my calculator in my hand right now.

Scott Anthony Barlow 50:32
Go for it.

Justin 0:33
So, salary wise, it was about a 12% raise. And then, you know, my other forms of compensation will roll in over the next few years. And that'll be another, you know, 8 or 9%. So it was really well worth the effort.

Scott Anthony Barlow 50:55
Roughly, how much time do you think you put into the process?

Justin 51:00
Oh, my goodness.

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:01
Just estimate. Gross estimate, curious.

Justin 51:07
Probably 60 to 70 hours, you know, over the course of a month or two. So it was a lot of, you know, weekends, I would spend a few hours in the morning, in the afternoon, you know, and I even, you know, I kind of sat my kids down, and because they were like, what are you working on? Like, why are you always have this word document open? And you're typing in it, and your, you know...

Scott Anthony Barlow 51:34
What are you doing, dad?

Justin 51:35
Yeah. So I mean, hopefully, it was a learning process for them too. Because I was like, Well, like, you know, I have a job. I feel like I could get a raise if I asked for one. So I'm trying to put together a way to ask for that, you know, of course, they're very young, so they don't necessarily see the, you know, they can't really relate to that problem directly. But maybe one day, there'll be like, "Yeah, I remember my dad, asking for a raise and doing that."

Scott Anthony Barlow 52:08
I think that will benefit them so much, though not to get too far down that path. But I really believe and have seen a lot of evidence that because they have seen you do it. And because they have seen it be possible that many of the obstacles that both you and I have faced when going and asking for increases or negotiating increases, it might not be there in the same way for them, because they understand that it's possible on a different level. So that's pretty awesome that you did that and took the time to share it with them too. Good. You get total dad points.

Justin 52:45
Yeah. That's the next generation, hopefully, it'll be better.

Scott Anthony Barlow 52:52
Most of our episodes on Happen To Your Career, often showcase stories of people that have identified and found and take the steps to get to work that they are absolutely enamored with, that matches their strengths, and is really what they want in their lives. And if that's something that you're ready to begin taking steps towards, that is awesome, you can actually get on the phone with us and our team. And we can have a conversation to find the very best way that we can help. It's super informal. And we try to understand what your goals are, where you want to go, and what specifically you need our help with. And then we figure out the very best type of help for you, whatever that looks like and sometimes even customize that type of help. And then we make happen. Really easy way to schedule a conversation with our team is just go to scheduleaconversation.com that's scheduleaconversation.com, and find a time that works best for you, will ask you a few questions as well. And then we'll get you on the phone to figure out how we can get you going to work that you really want to be doing that fits your strengths that you love, and you're enamored with. Hey, I can't wait to hear from you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 54:16
I worked in HR leadership for many years long before HTYC was even ever thought of. And I grew to hate the term employee engagement. Why? Well, partially because it's a buzzword and became a buzzword over the last 20 plus years. However, there's another really large reason. So many organizations talk about it, but not really doing anything of serious impact to help their employees actually be happier and more fulfilled at their work. And the crazy thing is that you don't actually have to wait. As it turns out, most people don't even realize that there are things that you can do. So you're not waiting in your organization to drive employee engagement and actually allow you to be more fulfilled. So what is it that you can do to take ownership of your role in a way that actually matters, and allows you to be more happy more often in your career?

Rachel Cooke 55:17
And I think that there's absolutely a role that companies need to play in helping their teams craft that. But I also think we are all very much empowered to shape shift our own employee experiences, I think companies works really well is when you have both the enterprise and the individual employees all steering in the same direction.

Scott Anthony Barlow 55:38
That's Rachel Cooke. She's the founder of Lead Above Noise and also the host of Macmillan's Quick and Dirty Tips, modern mentor podcast. Today, Rachel's going to share how you can take control to deliver your best work and thrive without waiting on your company. All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically. Even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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