5 Essential Things To Do Before
Asking Your ND For A Raise
5 Essential Things To Do Before Asking
Your News Director
For A Raise
Negotiating a contract is one of the most intimidating and important things you have to do in this business.
I know some people who love negotiating. They get some kind of sick thrill out of it.
For me, I’m the opposite. I hate it. I get butterflies in my stomach, and feel like I should just say “yes” to whatever my boss throws my way.
Thankfully, I’ve finally realized that if I don’t stand up for myself, and what I deserve, no one else will.
If you have a good agent, this is where they can really shine. An agent or a lawyer can do all your negotiating for you. They have no personal connection to your news director, and they’re getting paid to get you money, so they will fight for what you want.
For those of us who don’t have an agent or a lawyer and have to do our negotiating ourselves, here are some things I’ve learned in my more than 10 years in the business.
1. Prepare your boss.
Do not just walk into the bosses office out of no where and demand a raise. That’s not going to make anyone happy.
Send your boss an email or a text message on Monday, and ask if they have time to discuss your contract later in the week. This way they’re not caught off guard, and they have some time to look at the budget and figure out what they’re going to offer you.
Once you know you’re meeting with the boss, make sure you’re ready to play the game.
2. Know your worth.
Most of us are being underpaid in this business, and the bosses want to keep it that way. Don’t let them! Before you head into negotiations, check out the RTNDA Salary Survey.
If you feel comfortable talking with someone at another station in the market about salary, go for it, or ask a friend in a similar market size. Ask them for a ballpark of what they are making. When I did this, I found out my competition was making nearly $30,000 more than I was!
Once you have a number that you want to make, I say ask your boss for $5,000 more than that. Hopefully you can meet in the middle, and you’ll win out!
3. Know what you’re talking about.
Make sure you know why you deserve the amount of money you’re asking for.
Are you doing more work than other reporters? Are you filling in on the anchor desk and not getting any compensation for it? Do you excel at social media? Are the shows you’re anchoring consistently blowing away the competition?
Are you helping produce or assign the shows you anchor? Write down everything you do and make sure you tell your boss. Sometimes management doesn’t realize how much extra work we are doing that’s above and beyond our job descriptions.
4. Don’t jump at the first offer
Your boss wants to save money. They are never going to make you their best offer right off the top. Your boss is low-balling you, and hoping you are just going to say yes. Don’t be that person!
When you hear the first offer, make sure you keep a calm face and composure, and politely tell your boss you were hoping for more. Explain why you deserve more.
He or she will tell you that they’ll have to go talk with corporate or the general management and will see what they can do.
Most likely, they’ll come back with a better offer! If not, you have some thinking to do. This brings me to my next tip…
5. Be willing to walk away.
What’s the least amount of money you’re willing to stay for or sign on for? Make sure you know what that number is.
If you get a bad offer that’s a lot less than what you need to survive, be happy, and feel like you’re not getting screwed, WALK AWAY. I know this sounds scary, but you have to be willing to do it. You have to say no, that doesn’t work for me.
A lot of times, if your boss really wants to keep you, or really wants to get you to join the team, the fact that you’re willing to walk away will be a wakeup call for them.
They’ll likely raise their offer.
I walked away once. It was scary as hell. I went home and told my husband that I refused my offer and if they didn’t raise it substantially, I was finding another job. He supported me.
Two days later, I got what I wanted from my boss.
There are going to be some situations where your boss just won’t budge. They have a budget, and they have to stick to it. Maybe someone else already negotiated before you and they got that extra $2000 before you did.
Maybe they’re anticipating they need to save some salary money because they’re going to need to hire a high profile anchor in a few months. Who knows. You just have to be willing to fight for what you deserve.
If you don’t stand up for yourself at the negotiating table, someone else will get the pay raise that you deserve, and your bosses will keep walking all over you.