Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/8/13)

Topic of the Week  Don't Show Me The Money--Getting a "Cashless" Raise

  • DON'T burn the bridge.
  • DO telecommute or time off.
  • DO get technology.
  • DO more education

Don't Show Me The Money: Getting a "Cashless" Raise

A raise? Trying to get a raise in tough times feels impossible to most people. Which reminds me of a former home improvement store clerk in Nitro, West Virginia. She was accused of improperly discounting $20,000 in merchandise to win a customer's affection. For example, she was caught on a security video selling him a pressure washer worth hundreds of dollars for $3.66, the price of a bag of concrete. This went on for months.

The same thing that got that clerk in trouble, a discount, can provide a massive benefit to you. Let me explain. There are things that don't cost your employer much, but that provide a great benefit to you. I'll give you three Do's and one Don't for getting more bang for your bucks from your employer in these cash-starved times. For more, check out Nicole Williams' book "Girl On Top" (Center Street, 2009).

DON'T push too hard for cash. Of course any conversation about a raise should begin by exploring ways to put more cash in your paycheck. You should ask. But the key is to not push the cash button too hard. If your business is struggling you should back off this quickly and not burn any bridges with your boss. Rather you should switch gears to see if there are other ways for you to get additional benefits that don't involve cash.

DO telecommute or time off. For most of us there can be a real value in having more flexibility around working from home or taking time off. Having the room to take a long weekend, see your kids soccer games or working in your underwear has real advantages. This is said by yours truly who is typing this very column in my underwear. Pardon the TMI. Again, this is not better than cash, but it can be a perk that makes your overall life a lot better.

DO get technology. Can you get your company to provide you a phone, computer or some other tech gizmo that you've been lusting after? Again, this is something that can provide a real benefit to you and many companies can justify it because it will result in increased productivity for them. That said, you need to be careful to use your company's technology as if the company was always looking over your shoulder, because these days most companies are.

DO more education. Company supported educational benefits have been cut back, but not totally eliminated. Getting tuition support and time off to take classes can be a big win for everyone. Again the company gets increased skills for a key employee and you get more options moving forward in your career. Explore all training and learning possibilities both through formal channels, HR or training department. And through informal channels, people you know who are involved in a paid for learning experience.

Follow these tips and you'll get more benefits from you job, without having it blow up in your face like it did for that clerk in Nitro.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via


Thought of the Week

"It is better to lose the saddle than to lose the horse."

–Italian proverb

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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