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My first pay raise

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Photo: iStock/Fizkes

I think one of the scariest things I have done in my career was negotiating my salary.

I was working as a teacher and was at a point in my job that I knew I had to ask for a pay raise.

I thought and thought about it, and questions just kept going around my head in circles: How would I tell my boss that I had more responsibilities now? How would I tell him that my classes were performing above average and that I deserved a pay raise? How would I tell my boss that I was working more for less without sounding unkind and ungrateful? 

I was teaching only two classes when I started working. A year after working I was given six classes and supervising three teachers. I loved the job. I loved my students and I loved the responsibilities but the salary I was making did not represent the time and work I was investing.

After many days of thinking how and when to talk to my boss about it, I decided to search online on how to talk to my boss about this sensitive topic. I had many worries.

I worried about not using the correct words and about offending my boss.

I worried about him not finding me worthy of a raise. Thankfully, you can now find everything online. I learned that if I wanted to ask for a pay raise and be convincing, I had to prepare myself. I read about which day of the week was better to make an appointment with my boss. Days matter.

Online articles also mentioned it is important is to write down what the work I did, projects, results, and plans for the future. Most importantly I had to make sure to let my boss know how much I appreciated the responsibilities I had been given.

With all those things in mind, I talked to my boss and scheduled to meet up with him. The day of the meeting finally arrived. I felt so nervous and I couldn’t stop thinking about the things I was going to say. I kept practicing over and over in my head.

I entered his office and sat down. I talked about my work, my responsibilities, performance, and results. After discussing my credentials and performance, my boss promised to review my work and evaluate me.

He was happy and satisfied with my work and how much I had grown.

Finally, my boss gave me the good news, I was getting a raise and it would go into effect in my next paycheck. I felt so happy, talented, and proud of myself because I was brave to have this necessary conversation with my boss. I was my biggest cheerleader and I believed in myself. It is not an easy conversation to have but I knew it was necessary to have if I wanted to continue moving forward in my career.

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