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Renegotiating the Contract Part II: Practical Tips for a Successful Dialog

5 Dec

Job responsibilities change over time and it isn’t that uncommon to discover that the job you thought we were hired for isn’t the one we’re doing. When this happens, it can be easy to grow discontent with our wages and benefits. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do to help smooth the road for a successful contract renegotiation. Here are a few:

1. Take some time for introspection. Before asking for a raise, more vacation, or extra “perks” take a step back and ask yourself whether you’d give those things to you if the situation were reversed. If you’ve been spreading gossip and malcontent, slacking (even just a little), or fudging your time card in order to “get what you deserve”, you can bet that your boss isn’t going to give you what you ask… or perhaps even a moment in which to ask it. If you wouldn’t give a raise to someone like you, you can be reasonably certain that your boss won’t either.

2. Approach your boss with concrete examples, verified numbers, and hard facts. If you’re doing more work than others on the team, have increased responsibilities, or are just performing to a higher level, that’s great. But it won’t mean much to most employers unless you have some solid documentation of that superior performance. Don’t argue that you deserve a raise simply because you feel like you work hard!

3. Choose your timing carefully. If your boss is busy, in a bad mood, or inattentive, this is not the time to approach him with the examples you’ve collected! Be observant and ensure that your employer is in a fair-minded, attentive mood before you ask for your raise.

4. Be respectful. Rodney Dangerfield used to say, “I can’t get no respect!” It’s a feeling that most employers can sympathize with. Approach your boss with respect, regardless of how you feel about him or her as a supervisor or as an individual. And don’t forget to maintain that respect throughout the conversation… even if things don’t go your way.

5. Be patient. 2 Timothy 2:24 reminds us that, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged.” Recognize that not everyone sees through our eyes… and that we don’t always have all of the information necessary to make a wise judgment. Understand that today’s “no” can become a “yes” once an employer has had time to reflect. Ask clarifying questions to ensure that you understand your boss’ point of view. And remember that God is in control… even when it comes to inequities in the workplace.

If after a reasonable dialogue with your employer, you still aren’t satisfied that you’re getting a fair deal, you can always quit. But do so responsibly! Nobody ever got anywhere trying to cross a burnt bridge and neither will you. Remember the admonition of Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Never leave an employment situation with angry words or actions and always give notice! Two weeks can seem like an eternity in a bad job, but it’s better than a reputation as an untrustworthy employee! (Just because you tell a potential employer not to contact your last boss, doesn’t mean he won’t.) Do your best to make sure that your words and deed bear out your value as a respectful, reliable member of the team!

 

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Renegotiating the Contract Part I

28 Nov

The absence of teamwork and the presence of slackers can lead to some interesting workplace situations. Among them is the distinct injustice of watching others make more for less. Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken a look at a few of the negative ways in which we may be tempted to approach the situation. This week, we’ll take a look at one of the best ways: renegotiating our contract.

Job interviews aren’t just about making a good impression on a future employer. They’re also about that employer making a good impression on you. While it may be tempting to simply sit through the interview answering questions, we should never pass up an opportunity to ask a few, ourselves.

That said, when we’re considering a job, we need to start by examining the job description. Not all companies have a written description for each position, so take notes throughout the interview. Make sure you understand the hours you’ll work, the company’s expectations concerning your availability to work different shifts, the tasks you will be responsible for performing, and what payment you can anticipate in return. (Keep in mind that “payment” isn’t always monetary. Retirement accounts, health benefits, paid vacation, and even the privilege of doing something that you enjoy are all positive benefits that can go with a job. Make sure you consider the whole package before you accept or reject the offer!) If, at the end of the interview, you don’t feel that the exchange is a fair one, don’t take the job. (Or take it with the expectation that it’s only temporary while you find a job that does fit your needs.) But keep in mind that once you’ve accepted a job offer, you’ve committed yourself to fulfil the agreement, regardless of whether any of the other employees do or not.

That said, if you feel that the situation has altered sufficiently since your date of hire, there is no law against asking your boss politely and respectfully if you can revise the terms of your employment. Sometimes a friendly enquiry is all it takes to get a raise, a promotion, or a few extra days off!

If your boss is unreceptive to the proposal, take the time to find out why; listen carefully as he explains his expectations and the reasons behind them. And remember that just as he might not be able to see all of your big picture, you may not be able to see all of his. Business finance and employee scheduling can both be trickier than they appear – just because it looks to you like there should be extra hours for you to work, more available time off, or money for a raise, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is. If you’re particularly fortunate, your boss may even be willing to explain some of the ins and outs to you in order to broaden your own understanding. (You may even catch his attention by taking an understanding interest in why things play out the way they do in your company!)

Next week, we’ll take a look at a few tips for contract renegotiation, but for now, feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment box below!

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