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Asking for a Raise as the Only Woman in the Room

Women in the Workplace

Imagine this: you have been working at your place of employment for years, and have done all tasks within your job description, as well as been asked to do a number of tasks outside of your job description. Managers and coworkers alike have all grown to trust and rely upon you to get the tasks they couldn't take care of completed. You are highly respected and appreciated. It took a lot of work to get to this point, and everyone knows it.

Outside of work, the bills pile up on the kitchen table. You may be a single mom trying to make ends meet, or it may be that no matter how hard you and your spouse work, daily life is still a big financial struggle. You may forgo getting certain items at the grocery store sometimes, just because you can't spend the money right now.

The thought occurs to you that maybe you should ask for a raise. *Gulp*

Does that scenario make your stomach lurch a bit? How does someone ask for a raise without sounding desperate or putting themselves at risk of losing their job?

Especially if you're female.

It's not that you would automatically and immediately be fired just for asking. Of course not! You are simply worried about how you may come off to your employers, and how this may affect your employment status down the line should anyone get a bit petty. Even under the best case scenarios, this is a daunting task that requires a lot of gumption. It should be noted that even men at times are afraid to ask for a raise.

However, as a woman, that fear is compounded by a lower sense of self-worth in the workplace. There is a general feeling that the work you do is not quite as important as a man's, and therefore you shouldn't ask for a raise. You may even feel like there is always more to get done first before daring to ask for a raise. You may also feel like you can get by in life without having to ask for a raise, even though your finances may keep you up at night, and you're worried about the rising cost of living. Some women figure it may be somehow easier to start a side-hustle instead of asking for a raise.

Do you see a pattern here? This is a fear that must be gotten over, if you expect to make any progress.

"But how?" you plead. "My boss and nearly all my coworkers are male. How do I ask for a raise?"

The first step is this: take a deep breath. Calm yourself down by breathing deeply, and start allowing more positive thoughts to enter your mind. In most cases, the situation is not nearly as bad as people think it will be. If you know that you are respected and appreciated where you work, and you know that you have upheld and followed to a T all the rules and regulations stated in your job, then asking for a raise should be easy as pie. Whether or not you're granted your request is up to your employer, but rest assured that there won't be as much awkwardness as you think.

The second step is to write down a quick list of a few accomplishments that warrant you getting a raise. Perhaps you were responsible for a major account being won over for your business, or maybe you were the one who fought the evil, angry printer and got the proposals printed out that helped others win the account over. It could be that you gave an honest opinion about how to improve an idea, and that opinion ended up being the ticket to company success. Whatever the case may be, it is a good idea to write down what you have done to help make the company more successful. Bear in mind that this applies most especially to any accomplishments that were outside of your job description; all tasks that are inside of your job description are expected, as well as other things like being punctual, courteous, and mindful of others.

Please note that if you have areas in which you have to improve, such as arriving on time to work every morning, this may negatively affect your chances at getting the raise you are asking for. In fact, if this is one of the main reasons for your anxiety, then you will need to address these concerns and make improvements accordingly. Such concerns that you have will likely also be brought up by your employer when you meet with them.

The third step is to organize a meeting with your employer that hopefully doesn't interfere with your or your employer's workday. This way, it can be a private meeting, which helps minimize the awkwardness and create a sense of anonymity, which is incredibly important to a company's legal security. This is best done in your employer's office, doors shut. Other employees have no business knowing about you asking for a raise whatsoever. In many places of employment, employees are not even allowed to know what each other is making, in an effort to stem any jealousy or even violence against one another. It is also best to keep this conversation between only yourself and your employer; no one else has to know about you asking for a raise, regardless of whether or not your request is granted.

I hope these three steps eliminate the stress and struggle of asking for a raise, especially with the third step of confidentiality. These are pretty basic steps and apply to all business situations regarding asking for a raise in income. Yes, it is that simple! If it becomes difficult for any reason, first check to make sure you're not overthinking the problem, thereby making yourself stressed out. If it's not you getting in your own way, check to make sure that your company's corporate atmosphere is not somehow contributing to the problem. At any rate, this is, in a nutshell, how to ask for a raise as the only woman in the room.

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