When a Raise is Off The Table: 5 Things to Ask for Instead

20-handshake.w529.h352A raise is ideal, right? You’ve been working your butt off, and yeah, you could always use a little extra cash. But here’s the deal…

Sometimes your employer can’t afford to give you a raise. Sometimes your employer is just like you, trying to make ends meet, so they don’t have to fire half the staff.

So sometimes a raise is completely off the table.

But rather than just getting a pat on the back for a job well done, there ARE a few other things you could ask for.

Because when you’re a hard worker, and your employer values what YOU bring to the team, they might just be willing to entertain some of these requests.

1. Remote Day

Okay, you can’t get more money. But how does working from home once a week sound?

To be honest, I’d probably take that over a small raise any day if it means not having to fight through Miami traffic for two hours a day. In today’s world, a whole lot of jobs can be done from home. If you’ve got a computer and a cell phone, you’re pretty much set. So think about it…one day a week you can do your job in your pajamas! You don’t have to spend half an hour doing your hair, or putting on makeup. You can sleep a little extra since your drive to work consists of just getting out of bed and walking towards your computer. You can save money on breakfast and lunch. You can also throw in a load of laundry in between answering e-mails.

Dude, you’d be amazed at what that one remote day can do for your mental well-being. So the next time your boss says you won’t be getting a raise, try asking for the ability to work from home once or twice a week.

2. Modified Work Hours

If your boss isn’t buying the working from home deal, how about asking for modified work hours? How about instead of working from 8-4:30, you start work at 9 and leave at 5, taking a shorter lunch break in between. Maybe you could really use a few extra minutes of sleep. Dude, I know I could! Maybe traffic absolutely SUCKS when you leave the house at your usual time. Or on the contrary, maybe you’d prefer to go into the office at 7 so you can leave by 3 to pick up your kid at school?

Everyone’s situation is different, so each of us knows what schedule would work best for us. So okay, our bosses can’t give us a raise, but modified work hours would be a pretty good benefit too, don’t you think?

3. High Profile Project

Your boss can’t give you more money, she’s made that very clear. But you know what she CAN do? Give you awesome projects to help build your resume.

So how about asking to work on a high profile project where you’ll be learning new skills and networking like crazy? Because gaining experience and having more stuff to put on your resume is almost a specific kind of currency itself, and if your boss won’t give you a raise, perhaps your new resume will help you land a new job at a new employer that can!

4. Mentorship

Money isn’t the only thing that’s valuable. You know what else is? Knowledge….Advice…. Guidance.

So the next time your boss says he can’t give you a raise, tell him you understand, but that in place of a raise, you’d like for him to help find you a mentor. Yea, we could all use a little more money, but when it comes to our careers, finding a mentor who’s invested in seeing us grow in our careers could very much be a whole lot more valuable.

5. Paid Training Course/Certification

Certification and training courses are usually expensive. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $500 sitting in my bank account set aside for work training.

But you know what? Our employers could probably afford to pay for some of them. So the next time your boss tells you that a raise is off the table, negotiate. Instead of a raise, ask them to pay for a certification course or a seminar that you’d like to go to. Maybe they can’t afford a thousand dollar raise, but maybe they CAN find a couple hundred dollars in their budget to help pay for that class you’re asking for. It’s all about compromise. Because if you’re a kick-ass employee, your employer’s going to want to keep you, and part of keeping you means making sure that you feel valued.

So that’s it! You see, not getting a raise doesn’t mean you have to get totally screwed over at work. There are plenty of other things your employer could offer you in place of the extra cash. But you’ve got to open your mouth and ASK FOR IT!

What else could you ask for besides money? What other benefits mean a whole lot to you at work? Let me know in the comments!

Oh, and in case you need to get your boss to like you real fast, Boss’s day is on Friday, so make sure you get them something!


For this post, YouTern would like to thank our friends at Lost Gen Y Girl.





About the Author: Kayla Cruz graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!



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