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Transitioning from “Better” to “Invaluable"
If getting better-than-average pay increases can be achieved by becoming a better-than-average worker, then it follows that extraordinary pay raises may come if you become an extraordinary employee.
Think of it this way: Good employees earn good salaries because they are valued. But great employees earn amazing salaries because they are considered invaluable.
Let’s take a moment to define terms here, because words like valuable and invaluable are often too liberally used. For example, a boss may say that her personal assistant is invaluable when she simply means that the assistant takes care of all the boss’s needs and makes her life a lot easier.
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FIVE WAYS TO FIGHT BACK AND COME OUT ON TOP IF YOU ARE TURNED DOWN FOR A RAISE
Since I changed the way I worked at my job, I've never been turned down for a raise. But I've had the awkward duty of declining raises to dozens of employees. Most of them simply sulked and disappeared. But a few of them took the experience as a wake-up call and fought back. They didn't see themselves as losers, and they weren't going to let me view them that way, either.
If you get turned down for a raise, arguing with your boss won't do you any good. But if you can take advantage of the situation by following the suggestions listed here, you may be surprised at how dramatically you can improve your future income.
1. Thank your boss. Yes, thank him or her. If you didn't get the raise you wanted, there is a very good chance it's because you didn't deserve it. If you are like most people, this idea is going to be very hard to try on. But if you spend some time thinking very objectively about your performance (asking yourself questions such as "Was I always early?" and "Did I stay late?" and "Was I always eager and energetic and helpful?"), you will probably come to see your performance for what it was—less than stellar.
If you thank your boss for making you see the light, you'll shock him or her into paying attention to you. If you follow that up with some kind of modest pledge to do better, your boss will be watching for you to do so.
2. Come in earlier. There is no more impressive way to show you are serious about your work than to get in earlier than you have been. A half hour is enough. If you can, get in before your boss does. Get in earlier, and make sure your boss knows it.
3. Work harder. However hard you've been working so far, it hasn't been enough to establish you as the number one worker in your department. Getting in earlier and then paying complete and serious attention to your work will demonstrate your intent. As time goes by, the extra time and energy you give to your job will show up in higher-level skills, better knowledge, and—most probably— more money.
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4. Get more training. Take every chance you get to become better educated about your job. Take advantage of whatever programs your company offers. If something comes up and your company doesn't want to pay for it, pay for it yourself. (As with working harder, you don't want to let your extra training go unnoticed.)
5. Help your boss plan your future. After a few weeks of being the new you, ask for an appointment with your boss. He or she may be afraid that you are going to ask for a raise. Assure your boss that nothing is further from your mind. When you get the boss alone, reconfirm your gratitude for the wake-up call, brief him or her on the changes and improvements you've made, and then ask what else he or she thinks you can do to move forward even faster.
Don't ask for anything in return. Make it seem as if job satisfaction is your only interest.
This is a radical approach. Ninety-five percent of the people who read this will never give it a try. You may be the exception. If you are, you will see dramatic results. Your income will improve in six months or less— and it will keep improving thereafter. Before you know it, you'll be at a whole new level. Just as important—or maybe more important—your job satisfaction will skyrocket. You'll like your job better because you'll be better at it—and everyone around you will take notice, including your boss.
But is the assistant invaluable in the sense of being worth an almost unlimited amount of money? Would the boss double her salary to keep her? Triple it?
You want to be considered invaluable, but not the kind of invaluable that gets you a pat on the head and an extra $20 a week in your bank account. To be truly invaluable, you have to be more or less irreplaceable. And how can you do that?
Well, the truth is, you can’t do it absolutely. Everybody, including Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey, is replaceable. But the closer you can get to seeming to be irreplaceable, the better your chances of radically increasing your income.
As I will show you, you will have to learn more about your
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business. And you may also have to alter your job description (at least somewhat). You will almost certainly have to expand your circle of contacts to include more people who can help you achieve this goal.