We have another New Year looming, and along with the end of another year, and our resolutions to do better, come annual compensation changes: usually a bonus, accompanied soon after with an annual review and a pay raise.
While these events should be cause for celebration and happiness with their increased fortunes, there are always some employees who view their bonus and/or pay increase with disappointment: they feel that they should have gotten more. And whether they should have or not, sadly, more than a few employees let their disappointment ruin their relationship with their boss–and their future with their firm.
If you find yourself unhappy with your bonus or your raise, I encourage you to take the following steps, to turn things around rather than make them worse. First, take a deep breath and honestly consider whether you’re truly unhappy with your compensation level, or if the source of your dissatisfaction isn’t some other aspect of your job.
In my experience, happy employees almost never ask for more money: they like their jobs, which shows in their performance, for which they are rewarded. So, if you’re unhappy about your comp, chances are there’s something else you’re really upset about, and simply getting paid more won’t make that problem go away. If this is the case, you need to identify the source of your unhappiness, and take that up with your boss. Leave money off the table until that problem is solved, and nine times out of 10, your money issues will be too.
Second, determine whether you really deserve a raise or if you simply want one. In some cases, an employee will be happy with their job, but their personal circumstances have changed–a new baby, a bigger house, caring for elderly parents–which in turn, causes them to want/need more money. There’s nothing wrong with this: it’s how life works sometimes. The mistake that some employees make is believing that their new needs are somehow their boss’ problem. They aren’t; they are yours. And consequently, you need to solve them.
Copping a bad attitude, letting your performance suffer, and grousing about how you’re worth more isn’t going to help: it’s only going to alienate your boss and your co-workers. Instead, adjust your attitude by focusing on whether you really are underpaid or are actually receiving fair, competitive comp. Chances are it’s the latter, so rather than deluding yourself into feeling you deserve more for the same job, start thinking about what you can do to make yourself more valuable to your firm.