You finally did it. You asked your boss for a raise... and they shot you down. What do you do?
It might be time to start updating your resume. But before you hand in your two weeks notice, there may be a reason to stick around. Here are 7 things to ask for that aren’t a bigger paycheck:
1. Get perky.
If your employer doesn’t provide coffee, tea, or snacks, ask them to consider doing so. Some companies and organizations order snacks and beverages in bulk for a discount. Although you won’t see still a bigger number hitting your direct deposit, you’ll end up with more money in your bank account — especially if you drop cash on caffeine on a daily basis.
2. Comfort is key.
Feeling comfortable in your workspace is crucial. If you aren’t earning more money, you can at least feel richer by working in a space that feels good to be in. Ask for objects that would make your workday easier, such as an ergonomic chair, a chic desk lamp or a sit-to-stand desk.
3. Be flexible.
If you find yourself frequently bringing your work home with you, consider asking to officially have a more flexible work schedule. This can be a doable ask, particularly if your supervisor already knows you often work from home. Working from home a day or two each week will also put money into your pocket, because you’ll save on expenses that would go toward your commute. Even if you do end up coming into the office for the same amount of days, you can decrease your stress by working slightly updated hours such as six-to-two or eleven-to-seven that allows you to beat rush hour. Depending on the length of your commute, working from home can save a lot of time — and money — in the long run.
4. Score a title upgrade.
Ideally, a raise accompanies a better title. But if you’ve been taking on additional responsibilities outside of the duties you were hired to do (which, unfortunately, happens all too often), asking for a better title can be used as a bargaining chip for your next move. If your title is ‘assistant,’ but you’ve found yourself frequently coordinating important events in a capacity that goes beyond assisting, ask if it’s possible for your title to reflect the work you do more accurately. For example, you could ask to be named ‘coordinator.’ If your title is ‘assistant director,’ but you find yourself dealing with people in higher positions, consider asking for an ‘associate director' title.
5. Better your benefits.
If you’ve been working with the same company for a while, asking for a benefit boost may be appropriate. If the stress of the job has increased, the number of days that you get to relax should also increase. Maybe this change could come in the form of a healthcare plan upgrade, or an increased number of vacation days.
6. Stock up.
If you work for a business — new companies in particular — ask if it’s possible to buy stock for a discounted rate. Many companies provide employees with stocks at a discounted rate, but don’t advertise it. This could potentially earn you big money in the long run.
7. Get out of town.
One step to getting a better raise down the road is to have more knowledge about your job and more career skills. One way to acquire these things? Attending conferences and earning certifications. If you ask for a promotion and are told that you lack leadership experience, offer to be sent to a leadership conference. It’s a win-win: you learn to do your job better (or at least get out of the office for a few days), and your company gets to have an employee with more training working for them.
Whatever route you take, remember: doing your best is important, but so is being treated fairly. If you are turned down for a raise, it’s possible that there really aren’t funds available. But if you are truly valued, your employer should be willing to provide you with a perk of some sort to demonstrate that your hard work is truly appreciated. If you’re working and none of your demands have been met, you may want to consider a career transition.
And remember, if you never ask, the answer is always no.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets 2017 anthology.