Centred Content

Dear Joanna,

I’ve been working as a lot attendant at a local grocery store for five years. I’m a person with developmental disabilities so it took me a long time and lots of support from Reena’s job coaches to finally land and keep this job. I feel lucky to be employed but I’d like more responsibilities and more money. I have proven myself several times to my boss that I am competent, loyal, work overtime, and go beyond the call of duty to get my job (and others) done! He has given me excellent feedback that I am doing a good job. I would like to ask him for a promotion, but am afraid to lose my job. How do I ask for a raise?

Signed: Fear of the Ask (FOA)

Centred Content

Dear FOA,

In a recent interview with Reena’s job coaches from Channels North’s community day and supported employment program, they were impressed with your initiative and motivation to ask for a promotion and raise. Here’s what the team recommends but advise you to discuss the suggestions below first with your job coach before taking action!

  1. Ask for a Performance Review. If you had one already, find out when the next one is so you can PREPARE and PRACTICE a script of what to say at each step of the process to ask for a promotion. Do this with your Reena job coach. Ask for 15 minutes of your boss’ time for a meeting to discuss a performance review. Acknowledge that you know he is busy and that you respect this. Some companies have a special form. I would start by telling the boss how much you love your job, love working for him, and appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow with the company.
  2. Ask for a promotion or raise in person. This is not for emails or texts. Schedule a time to meet with the manager. Show him that you’ve earned a promotion and raise by outlining what skills, accomplishments, and growth you’ve brought to the supermarket since you began. Never tell your hiring manager that you want more money or that you need to support your standard of living. Your compensation should only be reflective of your job performance.
  3. List your accomplishments over the year. Promote yourself. Don’t be shy. Be prepared to showcase your value to the organization, and present how you add value and help the company succeed. Do you bring in repeat business and customers? Are you helping with promoting the store’s image by your communications with your customers and other staff? Are you helping the team with unpacking, sorting and shelving the inventory? Be specific about articulating your accomplishments and how your work in addition to your lot attendant duties is helping the store grow.
  4. Research salaries for your role. Visit www.glassdoor.com and www.payscale.com for this information. With the support of your job coach from Reena, consider asking your coworkers whom you like and trust regarding the salary you can ask for that is reasonable. The salary you ask for does play a role in the way your boss views you, and you don’t want to put any tension in your relationship.
  5. Be open to the feedback: If you don’t get the promotion or raise you want, don’t quit. Take this response as a learning opportunity. Find out from the manager what you need to do to improve, and what you need to do to eventually get the compensation you think you deserve. Prepare a list with the manager of areas to improve. Ask the manager for a meeting in one month to review the “improvement list”. Schedule a 20 minute meeting in advance. Don’t give up. Remember, this is a discussion in progress!
  6. Look for better job opportunities. At the same time that you ask for the raise and promotion, and regardless of the boss’ response, continue to research other stores and/or companies that you would be interested in moving to for a better job opportunity. Get a sense of the competition out there – who is hiring and how much they are paying. Continue to network. If you get a job interview, go to it because you never know. Don’t let this situation be an obstacle in looking after your career.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask. Consider asking for a raise or promotion as a discussion with your manager. It’s a process. Nothing happens quickly. Only you can look after your career. Speak with your supervisor or boss. But be strategic. Plan and prepare in advance how and what to say. Review what you want to present with your job coach, family or friend or even co-worker to get feedback. Advocate for yourself. You have a right to ask for help and speak to your manager about your career path.

All the best


To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org