Got a job? Great! The layoff sword spared and screwed you at the same time. Just because your co-workers went away doesn’t mean their workloads did. On top of your own responsibilities, you’re now wearing many hats, possibly a few wigs, and hopefully hip, sensible shoes that say, “I’m sassy, yet you’ll respect me in the morning.”
In any other circumstance, this would give you just cause to march into your boss’s office and ask for a compensation adjustment. The reality breakdown: for most organizations, the money isn’t there. Cash may be king, but it’s currently a king in exile. Ok, hold on. It’s not all bad news. Don’t leave and start Googling the next random thought that pops into your head. There are other things you can request in lieu of a raise.
Have you considered asking for…
- A more flexible schedule? I’m not a scientist and I don’t even play one on TV, but I bet your outlook on the workday would be rosier if you didn’t arrive with road rage. I appreciate the employers who give leeway around rush hour and so does the Department of Transportation.
- Telecommuting? Would they be willing to let you work from home a day or two a week? If you got to be around the house more often, your dog would stop mistaking you for an intruder. You could also save thousands on your kids’ therapy abandonment issues if you were able to appear on the sidelines of some of their sporting events before Junior starts growing a beard. I’m puzzled by places that don’t allow at least some telecommuting. I tend to get more work done from home because I want to show my accountability when I’m not physically in the office. I’m also more relaxed and creative. Companies don’t have to lease as much commercial space and it keeps cars off the road. Come on! Wake up! Don’t make me get all An Inconvenient Truth on you.
- An additional or earlier performance evaluation? It will get better. I promise. And when it does, have the proof on paper about what a team player you were during the “economic crisis.”
- A job title change? Remember that you want it to sound sexier than the one you have now. For instance, don’t go from “Product Marketing Manager” to “Queen of Potted Plants.” Seriously, this is one way to create the role, and possibly the salary, you want for when things right themselves. Also, if you find yourself channeling Anne Boleyn with your head on the chopping block, at least you enter the workforce with an upgraded title for your resume.
- Additional vacation days? If you’re helping keep the company fires burning on a shoestring budget and no extra hands, you’re going to need time off before they start sizing you for a rubber suit. You don’t want that. They make your butt look big and don’t breathe like other fabrics. This is about quality of life. Even an extra day to spend with friends, loved ones, or even recharging alone can make a huge difference. A survey from the Aon Loyalty Institute revealed that the top thing a company can do to inspire employee commitment is “recognize employees’ need for time off with family.” Salary increases didn’t even make the top ten.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, take a stab at some of these suggestions. I hope you have an employer that’s open to a few. Unfortunately all of my other ideas for you would result in a restraining order and a decline in global ball-gag inventory.
If you have other ideas about how to pad the non-monetary compensation in this economy, post them below.
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