I'm seventeen years old and I taught myself web design and development throughout the course of my junior year in high school. As my senior year approached, I decided I was done with sitting in a classroom and wasting my potential. I dropped live classes to enter the work world while still pursuing a diploma online.
My initial plan was to freelance, but I still got in contact with a few companies looking to hire a web developer in an office setting. One thing led to another and I eventually ended up interviewing with the company. The next day I heard back from the company and wanted to hire me. The only catch was that the pay was definitely in the bottom 10% of all individuals with my skill-set and job title.
I didn't make too much of a fuss about the pay. I was ecstatic, my parents were ecstatic for me (prior to this they never saw much value in web design and didn't understand why someone would actually pay money for it), and the job was advertised as having many opportunities for growth and constant evaluation for bonuses and increased pay.
It has been six months and I am settled in nicely to my new job. While I came into the position with no résumé, experience, or contacts, I have proven to the owners that I am fully capable of my position and I excel at what I am tasked to do. I work with events managers of fortune 100 and 500 companies on a daily basis, something that I'm sure the owners were initially uneasy about. All in all, all is well.
I need a fairly substantial raise. My parents have serious financial issues and are selling our home here in Las Vegas (where the company is based). I will be eighteen at the end of January. While my parents will be moving back to Arizona, I can stay here by myself, but it's not even feasible with the hourly wage I'm working for right now. It's time to ask for a raise and explain the situation.
The bosses set up a meeting for me to have with them today to discuss my roles and responsibilities in the company. I know, in the bottom of my heart, that they will be offering me a raise today. My only concern is that the raise will be an extra 1 or 2 dollars an hour, whereas I really need to break the news to them now that I need a raise of closer to 4 or 5 dollars an hour.
Do I wait for them to offer me a raise and then counter it with my issue and chalk it up to coincidence? Would it be rude of me to take the offer that they are giving up purely out of good will and counter it like that? Should I bring up my issue in the meeting before they even start discussing the money? Should I wait a week from now to bring it up?
This is my first job and I have no experience in this kind of setting. My parents have worked in the food industry their whole lives, and they have explained to me that they don't really have any experience to draw on either. Any thoughts/comments are much appreciated!