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September 30, 2008

My first raise!

September 30. Day 92.

My heart is still racing.

I asked for a raise and... got it!!

It's not as high as I'd hoped for, but still...

I do occasional contract work for a local business. This afternoon, in preparation for a project I'll start soon, I called my boss to confirm the dates and then I told him I'd like to talk about freelance pay, if he has a minute. Before our conversation, I'd jotted a few lines I could use, in conversational tones. Here, if you're curious, is the file:
i also wanted to bring up one question, about freelance pay. well, i realize that
you have a tight budget these days, so i don't want to ask for anything unreasonable,
but it occurred to me that $300 is what I earned when I started working for you, back in 2004. so, i was wondering if, given inflation and my experience since then, we could make an adjustment?

if he hesitates: do you want to think about it? i don't mean to put you on the spot.

if he asks what I want: well, what about 400?

if he lowballs: well, i mean, 350 would be keeping pace with inflation.
So with the file open on my screen, I glanced at it for reinforcement and then I stated my case.

"Can you repeat that? I didn't understand what you're saying."

Take a deep breath, Roxy, and slow down.

"Of course. It simply occurred to me that I'm getting paid the same today as I was in 2004, when I did my first project for you. And I realize the firm is going through a difficult period, but I was wondering if you have any leeway in terms of freelance pay."

"Well, on reviews I do. On other projects, there's just no room. I have a separate account for reviews. I pay one guy $200 instead of $150 [my current rate]. So there's precedent for that."

"That sounds good. And on the rest [i.e. the larger projects, where I get $300], I just figured that maybe we could adjust for inflation."

"We're probably paying the same as we did in 2004, or as we did in 2002, and I just don't know when that will change. Things are set for now until the end of the year, and then I don't know."

He sounded thoughtful. The firm, by the way, is going through a total reorganization and has been shrinking its staff, so it did feel kind of insensitive to ask at this time. But, I figured that they must have some freelance funds available, and this company pays the least from the various freelance projects I do, so I decided it was fair to myself to at least check things out. Even if I got slammed, it would be good practice.

"No, that's fine, I understand. We can always touch base again later. And I always appreciate the contracts you give me. It's great working together. I hope you don't mind I brought this up."

"Not at all. It's a good thing you asked." Those were his words, exactly!!

Gained: $200 per review, up from $150. Thank you, Boss! And Women Don't Ask! I wouldn't have had the guts to, before reading you!!
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