Asking for a Raise: A Series of Conversations

by Mike Dang

This series is brought to you by TurboTax Federal Free Edition.

November 9th, Gchat

Me: So I just met with BOSS and he’s giving me a lot more things to do because DUDE left. I’m doing three people’s jobs now. I should negotiate a raise, right?

PROJECT MANAGER: yes, I think you should try.
tell him that the situation was different when you accepted your position
and at this point you’re absorbing two jobs.
you def have to make your case….tell him you’ve made plenty of sacrifices (shortening your vacation after DUDE left) and that you’re ready to step up but that you have to be compensated.

Me: Gosh, I’m nervous. I don’t have a lot of experience negotiating.

PROJECT MANAGER: this is your chance to get better at it

November 10th, Gchat

Me: So, I was talking with PROJECT MANAGER about what BOSS is asking me to take on yesterday, and I’m thinking maybe I don’t want to be that guy who always asks for more money when he’s asked to to do something more.

TECH GUY: well, you actually have leverage here
because you’re the only one who can take that work on

Me: I guess so.

TECH GUY: no, I’m serious.
you’re in a prime spot to get whatever you ask for…
of course, you’re not going to be like “give me a private jet and $200,000”

Me: Haha. Yeah. Okay, I’m going to do it.

November 22nd, Gchat

WORK WIFE: have you decided what to do about asking for more money

Me: It’s hard! Like, it’s easy to say you’re going to do it, but it’s hard to actually get a meeting. And then actually ask for it.

WORK WIFE: oh, I totally know
but I just feel like it’s so important for you to do it!
you work, like, 500 X harder than everyone else.
if you didn’t show up to work, there would be no company

Me: I know, I know. You know, I also feel like I’m mostly a writer and editor here, and writers just don’t get paid a lot?

WORK WIFE: who cares? the person sitting across from you probably makes 5 times as much as you do

Me: That’s true.

WORK WIFE: 🙁 can you do it by e-mail?

Me: I don’t think that’s how you do it.

I just googled it. “Don’t discuss your raise with him by email, at the water cooler, or by telephone.” You’re supposed to set up a meeting and do it in person.

WORK WIFE: That makes sense. 🙁

November 26th, Face-to-face

Me: Can you schedule a meeting with me and BOSS?

BOSS’S ASSISTANT: I will give you an available time, and you should e-mail him to set it up.

Me: Okay, sounds good. Thank you.

BOSS’S ASSISTANT: Monday at 11 a.m. You have 30 minutes with him. E-mail him and let me know what he says.

November 26th, E-mails

Subject: Time to chat?
From: Mike Dang
Date: November 26

Hi Boss,

I’d like to set up some time with you to chat. Can you let me know when you’re free? ASSISTANT says you are available on Monday at 11 a.m.

Thank you,

Subject: Re: Time to chat?
From: BOSS
Date: November 26
To: Mike Dang

ok. What is the topic?


Subject: Re: Time to chat?
From: Mike Dang
Date: November 26

The amount of work that I do has changed significantly and though I’m more than happy to step up, I feel that I’m currently undervalued and was hoping to get a salary increase. I’d love to be able to have to discuss this with you in more detail.

Thank you,

Subject: Re: Time to chat?
From: BOSS
Date: November 26
To: Mike Dang

ok. let’s do it. set up the time.

November 26th, Gchat

Me: I’m talking to him on Monday.

FRIEND: how much are you going to ask for?

Me: I’m going to ask him to double my salary.


Me: I mean, I’m doing three people’s jobs at this point, and I know I’m not going to get that. He’s going to try to negotiate whatever number I give him. So I’m going to ask high and then negotiate from there.

FRIEND: well it sounds like you’re prepared

Me: It’s not like I’m money hungry. I just feel like your salary reflects how much a company values you. And this isn’t going to be my last job. I want whatever company I work for next to know that I was valued here.

FRIEND: look at you!

November 29th, Face-to-face

BOSS: Let’s get some coffee and talk.

Me: Thanks for meeting with me.

BOSS: Where do you want to start?

Me: Well, I made a list of everything I’m doing right now. Here.

BOSS: Yeah, I know you’re taking on a lot. But you just started doing these things. I think I need to see you step up before I can offer you anything.

Me: I understand, but I feel like I have been stepping up. I cut my one week vacation down to one day to get some of those things on that list done. I’m at the office 12 hours a day — more than anyone else here. I need to feel valued here, or else I’ll go somewhere else where I’m more appreciated.

BOSS: Okay, how much do you want?

Me: I’m worth $100,000. I know there are people at this company earning more than that.

BOSS: Well, those people are more experienced than you. You’re still pretty young.

Me: It doesn’t matter how old I am. It matters what I’m doing for you.

BOSS: I can’t give you that. I just can’t.

Me: What can you give me?

BOSS: Do you want more equity? I can give you more equity.

Me: I want my salary to reflect what I’m worth here.

BOSS: Give me another number. Please.

Me: $80,000. I’m worth it.

BOSS: Will you consider something lower? Plus, more equity?

Me: Sure.

BOSS: Tell you what. Let’s see how you step up in the next two months, and we’ll revisit this conversation in February. You need to give me some time.

Me: Um. Okay.

BOSS: February. I promise we can discuss this again in February.

November 29th, Gchat

WORK WIFE: how are you doing??

Me: A little sad. I just had a chat with BOSS. He said he doesn’t want to give me a raise right now. I feel like I work really hard and am undervalued.

that really surprises me

Me: Well, basically, he said he wants to see me step up a little more.

WORK WIFE: i don’t know how that’s possible

Me: Right, which makes me sad.

WORK WIFE: get another offer

Me: Oh for sure, if I don’t get a raise, I’m quitting — with or without a job.

November 30th, Gchat

Me: So I got the increase in rates for freelancers approved. Everyone gets a raise!

WORK WIFE: everyone but mikey 🙁

December 12th, Gchat

LUNCH BUDDY: are u ok over there?
U look stressed out!

Me: I am totally stressed out. I just have a lot to do. I was here until 9 p.m. yesterday, and then stayed up to 1 a.m. to finish work. And then I came back in at 7 a.m.

i would talk to someone about this.

Me: Everyone here is aware of what’s going on.


Me: They told me to quit at the holiday party.

ur awesome.
U will find another job in a heartbeat

January 16th, Gchat

FRIEND: i’d love to see you. you’ve been a little MIA
you’ve been working really hard lately?

Me: Um, yes. Totally hard. The hardest that I’ve ever worked in my life actually!

FRIEND: oh lord! mike…
is there an end in sight? or anything you can do?

Me: Hah, I guess I can quit and find another job

February 5th, Face-to-face

HUMAN RESOURCES: Have a second to chat?

Me: Sure.

HUMAN RESOURCES: Let’s go in the conference room.

Me: Okay.

HUMAN RESOURCES: So the good news is that BOSS is giving you a raise. Everyone appreciates what you’ve been doing around here. You deserve the world. And we wish we could give you the world.

Me: But…

HUMAN RESOURCES: Listen, we’re going to give you a 20 percent raise, and a little bit of equity. Okay? You’re okay with that?

Me: That’s the most you can offer?

HUMAN RESOURCES: That’s the most. And if you decide to go somewhere else, that’s up to you.

Me: Well, it’s not what I expected, but I’ll take it.

HUMAN RESOURCES: Perfect! You’ll see it reflected immediately in your next paycheck.

Me: Thank you.


February 5th, Gchat

WORK WIFE: HEY. did you get your raise?

Me: Hi! Yeah. He was like, “We want to give you the world — and you deserve the world — but we can’t give you the world.” But they increased my salary by 20 percent, which is still disappointing considering everything, but I’m glad I got it.

WORK WIFE: okay whew. im glad they at least did that. and also didn’t try to pretend that it was enough.

Me: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I was going to quit if I didn’t get anything. Okay. Back to work.


Mike Dang knows what’s he’s worth.

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