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Should I send my Boss a Raise Request Email?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

I’m looking for a healthy raise at work of 15%-20%. To that end, I have done 2 things:

1.      Shared a file with my manager last week detailing things I have accomplished in the last year and their business impact.

2.      Asked my manager in our in-person one-on-one last week for a raise

My manager indicated it will be difficult for me to get a raise, both because raise guidelines are largely determined by how well the company is doing overall and because I got a nice raise last year and so the expectations were higher for me this year.

For background, I work at a big, boring, and bureaucratic finance company. I don’t think I did a particularly stellar job last year, but I benefit from being one of the few technical people on our business team, so am very valuable to the team. As a consequence, I can get away with doing a minimal amount of work, and I generally have a few hours during the day to spend it however I want. I am currently applying to different places, but realistically see if taking 3 months, plus or minus another 3 months till I jump ship. I have it set in my mind to only jump ship for a company which compensates at least 50% more than my current TC (which is low, by industry standards).

My question is, is it worth sending a raise request email to my boss asking him for the 20% raise? I’m leaning towards yes, but the counter would be he is already aware of what I want since I’ve asked him in person and shared my “ego file” with him, so I could be seen as overly aggressive. I would also only be recapitulating what I’ve already said.

The raise request format would be taken straight from Josh Doody: https://fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/book/raise/ask-for-a-raise-email-sample/

Thanks for the guidance!

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Discussion

(5 comments)
  • 3
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    Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
    a year ago

    It feels a little silly to me, but I’ve never been great at these sorts of things. My biggest “raises” have been getting top of band new stock grants, dramatic stock growth, and changing companies. I guess early in my career I had large raises by percent, but I was making very little to start with.

    Maybe this “write a letter” thing is effective and I’m just out of the loop, but I am not sure the goal. Like you get the rationale back in writing? Or… they… can’t deny you asked them?

    Are you delivering 20% more value than you were when you got your last raise (not like this really determines anything, just don’t know what is driving this ask for you)? How big of a raise was it?

    What is true is that you are very unlikely to get this raise even if you send the request as a singing telegram or written on a delightful red velvet cake. If you’re paid below market, getting a market offer and either taking it or leveraging it is probably the quickest way to increase your comp. Even trying to get a counter seems less likely at a company where your tech skills and what they cost are a liability not an asset when they look at the books.

  • 2
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    Startup Engineer
    a year ago

    I'm going to answer this question from another angle: people's first impressions are notoriously hard to crack. One of the worst ego-fueled bad situations would be getting promoted ahead of your former boss or making more money than they do. Example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtzG3wdF_IU

    Even if you've grown a lot in the last two years, this hierarchy is pretty much set once you get hired. This is the main driver for why engineers choose to switch jobs in order to "get promoted" instead of waiting for their organization to recognize them. In my opinion, you're doing too much work for that "healthy" 15-20% raise.

  • 1
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    a year ago

    @Lee, the purpose of writing the letter is to have a written version of your accomplishments and requests that your boss can use to help you get that raise. The email is easily forwardable, so they can send it to whoever makes the decision. And since you are better at summarizing your accomplishments than your boss (in general), it helps to give them all the resources you can to go to bat for you.

    Am I delivering 20% more value? I think so, but even if not, don't see much harm in asking for the raise and getting a no.

    I agree with the broader point you are both making which is that getting a new job is the best and fastest way to dramatically increase comp. Working on that.

    I'm not at FAANG, and I feel like there, there is less reason to write an email summarizing your accomplishments since they have the whole 360 performance analysis thing down to a science there.

  • 1
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    Startup Engineer
    a year ago

    Am I delivering 20% more value? I think so, but even if not, don't see much harm in asking for the raise and getting a no.

    I would factor in company culture and if this is a normal/innocuous thing to do.

    I agree with the broader point you are both making which is that getting a new job is the best and fastest way to dramatically increase comp. Working on that.

    Even though companies know that it costs them more to find and hire new people, they literally won't give their employees raises. I don't know why... Complacency?

    Also, I hope you don't take me quoting "healthy" as snark. The field has such dramatic salary differences that you can clear an increase of 100-200% TC with a single move.

  • 1
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    Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
    a year ago

    You said you shared a file with your accomplishments, so I thought this sort of… covered what your boss could share with others to try to “sell” this. The email seemed like a sort of… documentation thing. If the file is a punch list and you think narrative form would be more convincing you could definitely write that up.