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I'm a Software Engineer and I think I'm very good at it, at least much better than my colleagues so recently I have asked my boss for a raise (I named a concrete number). He told me that he thinks that too but he cannot prove it. I also told him that I was virtually mentoring one of our new colleagues and taught him a lot. Also in this case he said he cannot know how much I helped my colleague so he needs to think about whether he can approve the raise.


I wasn't prepared for that (because I thought my work is visible enough) and I couldn't reason with him. But I don't give up so easily (I really think I should get a raise) so I already told him that I'm going to have another appointment with him where we discuss how we can approach this issue and avoid such lack of clarity in future.


Next time, however, I'd like to be better prepared and bring my own suggestions - also as a signal that I care.

So my question is: How can I undoubtedly show that I'm worth the money? What criteria should I suggest that would allow him to notice and value my work more?

(I like the company where I work so looking for a new job would be the last resort solution - I'd rather first try to convince my boss that he should pay me more - also because it's a great exercise at diplomacy)

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    If you want a raise look elsewhere, he is playing with your insecurities and taking you for a fool. That is not cool. – Rui F Ribeiro Feb 2 at 8:39
  • @RuiFRiberio maybe, but I wrote that this is not an option right now and I prefer to have more talks with him. It's a good chance for me too to learn something new. Giving up without trying is a chance not taken. Running away is not my style. – red-shield Feb 2 at 8:43
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    I‘m usually getting downvoted to hell for this, but it sounds like you are pretty young and/or inexperienced in larger cooperations. What were you really hired for? For creativity? For openness to change? For trying to disrupt working processes? Nope. In 9/10 cases your job is to get tasks from your boss and fulfill them according to her expectations. Nothing more, nothing less. Especially, not for showing off and putting yourself above colleagues that already have earned the boss‘s trust. – Roman Feb 2 at 12:00
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    This doesn't sound different to any other "how can I get a pay rise" question, with an added mix of overconfidence and naivete. – BittermanAndy Feb 6 at 18:01
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You may be working this backwards, and may have put your "boss" in an uncomfortable position. Is he supposed to be mentoring your co-worker instead of you? How's your boss doing in the company? Is your boss successful, riding high, expanding his sphere of cash, influence, and ability?

Because if he isn't, then you're not proving to be of value to him. You have goals, your boss has goals -- his boss has goals. What you need is an ally, and that ally must be your boss.

Your boss is the one who can answer the question about what it would take to convince him of your value. It is whatever it would take to make his boss agree that approving your raise is a great idea. SO how do you help your boss get his needs met? I don't mean in the specific, softwaresy sense. I mean in the organization, because the organization is the one paying the salary, not the software. Fortunately, you have merely been asked to back up your claims, but you're not familiar with the coin of the realm.

Talk to your boss about aligning your goals, and about what sort of artifacts he would find useful in supporting his decision to approve a raise for you. Meanwhile, you can do some homework on your own. Do you have a job description / position description? Just like you would work on a resume, work on showing in concrete terms how you are exceeding the requirements of that document, in a way that is valuable to your boss. And in a way which doesn't start to make him look redundant.

Expanding on the resume idea -- search for instances of tangible gain, and use the STAR / SAR format to tell mini-stories with concrete endings.

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    I like this change of perspective very much; I also think I should discuss the "homework" with him because I have the impression the job description has become vague during the last couple of years. I also like that you don't suggest me finding a new job but ways to address the current issue... which I sooner or later would encounter somewhere else anyways. I'd be good to be prepared for that already. – red-shield Feb 2 at 9:07
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I can tell you, I'm a "l33t h4x0r", do you believe it?

Germans respond more to provable facts and actions than big words.

Now, I think he just doesn't want to or can't pay more and win time.

He also might come back with a lower offer for a raise, obviously he wouldn't approve a raise on the spot!

He probably realizes, you're cosy with your job (or need it) and won't quit over this.

He might appreciate you but just not enough to make it worth your while or he knows you to be an inept negotiator.

So, in general, if you want your boss to know what you bring to the company,

  • make sure he sees you doing that.(make notes of those occasions)

He wants to weasel himself out of it again...proof...and poof goes his argument...

Be ready for other arguments, so make sure to have a near impeccable record with regards to your work and behaviour.

  • Any time your colleague for instance asks for help, thanks for your help or tells you how good you are, make a note.

It's good to have others witness it too, ideally your boss but that might seldom be the case, depending on how often he visits the production floor.

Once talking with your boss pick some highlights you helped the coworker with and how appreciative he/she was.

If he still tells you again he doesn't know how much you helped, let him know,it's ok to ask your colleague(s), you're sure they'll remember (be certain it's something that doesn't embarres them and is something only seniors to them would know)

  • If there is a problem or tricky task and you know you can deal with it, volunteer to take it on.

  • During your tasks if you find a more elegant or better solution(i.e. faster, more efficient, time and money saving) show your boss what you did and why that way.

Oh, btw., if you're younger and / or not employed as a senior, automatically people will expect you to be less capable, inexperienced.

  • I think he just doesn't want to or can't pay more and win time. - oh, they have money more than enough. They are employing some pretty expensive external people that probably cost in a couple of months as much as I in a year. But all good ideas. I'll mention some of them next time I talk to him. I'm employed as senior/lead/expert - sorry for not mentioning that in my question. I somehow didn't think about it might be relevant. – red-shield Feb 2 at 14:13
  • @red-shield you're welcome.actually,your position / seniority is quite important as is the duration you've worked at the company.The longer, the less likely I belive your boss doesn't know your work.The fact that he kept you on as a lead for that time underlines that.Thus,his answer was a way out.Either to buy some time and do budgeting for a raise or simply to keep you at your current salary. The fact that the company pays others more or that they have lots of money is irrelevant as far as business decisions go to hire staff as cheap as possible and keep them that way for as long as possible. – DigitalBlade969 Feb 2 at 19:18
  • @red-shield I'd say, prepare for a negotiation (quite likely) or a rejection of the raise.if he gives you a raise he'll try to push your number down with what he said already, lack of prof / knowledge of your efforts (most likely just a pretense,so don't fret).if you have examples, throw them out, but in all probability he won't meet your number, unless he actually values you and / or thinks you deserve it after all. For your next round have a list with your accomplishments. He could pick other reasons, so be vigilant.good luck. – DigitalBlade969 Feb 2 at 19:25
  • Keep in mind that sometimes external people can be paid more as they are not fixed costs. Even if they stay the entire year. Accounting magic ;) – bytepusher Feb 6 at 21:34
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He is probably more skilled in dealing with people asking for a raise. He knows that you are good, you don't need to prove it to him. However a manager can not give always a raise to everyone, that is why the usually say no until they a real danger of letting you go.

One way to get a raise is to find an offer from a different company, if you find a company that pays you more, they will not want to let you go (it takes a lot of time and money to train a new person when you have someone you trust already). This is also good because you can test your current "value" in the market. Also dont let your colleagues know that you have/ask for a raise because they will also try to get a raise too, which will let your boss less chances to deal with

  • He is definitely more skilled in dealing with people, that's why I want to use this raise-negotiation also to learn some new stuff. I know what I am good at (other things) so I'm not claiming that I can convice him easily and thus I prefer to take some time to prepare myself better before I go into the next round with him ;-) It can also be seen as a way to impress him. However, I'm not sure I should take the blackmail road aka give me the raise or I'll go. I prefer to try other ways first as they are much more interesting ;-] – red-shield Feb 2 at 14:22
  • In my opinion it is not a blackmail, you are free to choose a job were you fill valuated. The company will not hesitate on firing you if you are not match for the job. The company it is not your family, in the moment there is a problem they will fire you. I have been working as a developer several years, and I only got one raise coming from the company. – Manjar Feb 3 at 10:14

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