I mentally prepare for catastrophes. At any given moment, and usually without prompting, I imagine miscellaneous amagadons and how I might respond; a wall closing in, a bridge falling down, getting stung by a bee, or the worst, a piece of well grilled chicken falling to the floor in a crowded room (because God knows, I’d simply brush it off if I was all alone).
The fact that none of these calamities has ever happened doesnt change my obsessive, almost paranoid thoughts.
More recently, I have found myself in the middle of a different type of paranoia; that the physical pain from rejection can be worse than illness.
I’m very vocal about encouraging people to advocate for themselves at work and ask for raises (even outside conventional raise cycles), but it’s important to share what happens when it doesn’t work out and you need to bounce back. So today, I’m sharing how to bounce back after an unsuccessful salary negotiation in 8 easy to remember steps.
- When your raise request is rejected, your biggest test will be your ability to separate fact i.e “We can’t give you a raise right now” from feeling; “I’m just not good enough”
- Rejections hurt. And you will feel the urge to become passive aggressive (or even flat out aggressive), especially towards your manager. You must remember that putting your manager on the defense only creates an uncomfortable work environment while simultaneously framing you as incapable of maintaining professionalism in the face of adversity
- Pay close attention to the “Why.” While it’s possible that organizational and economic forces could be behind the rejection, hold space for the possibility that there could be gaps in your performance that you need to address and be open to receiving clear and constructive feedback on your opportunities for improvement and the things you do well that you should do even more of.
- Repeat “I am valuable beyond my work” as many times as it takes to revive your sense of self worth and gather the confidence you need to get back out there in the aftermath of a rejection.
- Once you’ve figured out the ‘why’, build a plan to close the gaps in your skills – technical and soft and start taking deliberate steps to ensure you’re not passed over at the next performance review
- Request on-going progress check-ins with your boss. Not only does this give you the chance to hear directly from the horse’s mouth about your progress, but it also helps you stay top of mind and clarifies that your expectations regarding getting a raise remain unchanged.
- Accept that in many cases, your success in an organization is as much a result of your soft skills as it is about your technical capacity. Take the extra step to find an advocate (or a ‘Sponsor’) with whom you can nurture a professional relationship and who can speak up on your behalf in rooms that you are unlikely to be present in. Your advocate could be your boss, or someone in a senior leadership position with some influence over key decision making.
- Sometimes, there are jobs or bosses that no matter how hard you try, will simply not value you. If you’re a top performer and you can no longer see a clear path for your growth within the organization, do not hesitate to jump ship – just make sure you think through it and it’s not a knee jerk reaction.