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Didn’t Get That Raise? Here’s What to Do Next.

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Being rejected for a raise can feel like a blow to your self-esteem, but don’t lose hope. Rather than thinking of it as a step backwards, see it as an opportunity to grow. Here’s how to maintain momentum if your boss says no to your request.

  • Respond diplomatically. You might say: “Thank you for sharing that. Not surprisingly, I’m disappointed that the company won’t be able to honor my request. Nevertheless, I’m committed to bringing my best to the organization and hope to continue the conversation about how I can be an even more valuable contributor.”
  • Dig deeper. Ask follow-up questions to better understand the reasoning behind the denial. You might ask, “What’s contributing to your decision?” “How are compensation and performance evaluated?” or “What could I be doing more of?”
  • Propose alternatives. If earning more money isn’t an option because of budget constraints, consider negotiating for flex time or a work-from-home arrangement, stock options, a title change, more vacation time, or professional development.
  • Continue the conversation. Take the rejection as a chance to create a plan with your boss for your development. Identify key metrics and specific improvements that would justify a compensation increase in the future.

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