How to Ask Your Boss For a Raise Without Feeling Paiseh Like a Typical Asian

pay raise
If you were raised in a traditional Asian household, chances are that from young, your parents have inculcated a sense of humility and an obsequious nature within you. We are not as outspoken as the ang mohs, and especially when it comes to asking for something, like a raise, we are accustomed to feeling paiseh, so we may approach the subject sheepishly or refrain from doing so at all.
Unless you have the ultimate dream boss who gives credit where credit is due, it is quite likely that even when your boss recognizes that you have been slogging like a mule and contributing to the success of the company, he/she is still not going to make it rain money all over you.
If you want a raise, you have got to ask for one, but of course do so in a professional and confident manner when you request for the salary that you think you deserve. Here are some tips on how you can get rid of that Asian humility and that dreaded paiseh feeling that has been so deeply drummed into us while you ask for a raise.
1. Patience is a virtue
Before you bring up the topic of a pay raise, ask yourself whether enough time has gone by to justify the increment. Your boss will get sibei pekchek if you consistently badger him for a pay raise everytime you hit a new goal. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the one-year mark of when you were hired or last promoted, unless he/she has otherwise stated.
2. Present your case
Asking is not enough, you have to persuade. If your company does not offer an annual review, request for a meeting with your supervisor to provide the reasons why you deserve a pay increment. Before you attend this meeting, do your homework and recall all the successful work you have done for the company. Jot these accomplishments done in a memo and reiterate it to your boss. Point out how you have gone above and beyond your job description and responsibilities, and also highlight the projects you want to take on in the future that extends yonder of your current official duties.
If any projects that you have undertaken have pulled in extra revenue, be sure to emphasize on that with specific numbers. While your supervisor may be aware that you are a model employee, he/she does not keep track of all your contribution, and listing everything down in a huge list in one sitting may seem more impressive. Furthermore if you work in a large corporation, your boss may need to present it to HR too to get clearance for your pay increment.
3. Ask for feedback
While it is imperative to be confident while presenting your case, you should also channel a smidge of that famous Asian humility and be willing to accept criticism. If you request for an honest assessment of your performance, it will show your boss you are serious about your role on the team and in bettering your conduct at work. Employees who are open to taking feedback to heart and sincere in making changes (make sure you inform your boss how you will do so if you think up of any during the feedback stage) to better themselves is worth their weight in gold and will earn the respect of their supervisors.
4. Don’t bring in personal life
Fundamentally, you should always keep it on a professional level and related to your job. Don’t whine and drone on about the rising costs in Singapore, how your wife keeps trying to siphon money out of you to go on shopping sprees, how your husband is a useless alcoholic addicted to gambling, or how you have two useless brothers who extort money from your parents with fear and intimidation. It may be true but your boss does not need to hear that. Raises are given out based on merit and your impact on your company, not life circumstances. Keeping your conversation business-oriented will help your chances more than whining like a spoilt brat about your problems and expecting others to fix them for you.
5. Be gracious
Regardless of how the meeting wound up, be gracious and courteous and thank your boss for his/her time. Your boss has plenty of things on his/her plate as it is and granting you the meeting and subsequent follow-up takes up precious hours of his/her day. And in the business world, time is money. If your supervisor turns down your appeal for a salary increment, do not be discouraged. Express that you understand and ask if you can have another performance review in six months rather than a year. If you portray that you care about the work you do, the company will be more obliged to keep you happy.

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