I asked for a raise — but my boss hasn't taken action. What do I do?

The backstory: 

Personally, I had four conversations — three with my boss and one with HR, and it was last left that my boss would be talking with HR.

Seeing as it has been 3 months since that last conversation I'm afraid with the extent of this situation that I'm entering into the nag classification. What should I do now?

— Andrea, Seattle

Alex's Advice

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for writing in. Your situation sounds frustrating, and I can understand how you would feel concerned about bringing up a raise for the fifth time.

You don't mention how you made your case for a raise, or what the response has been — have your boss and HR have been generally supportive but distracted, or perhaps indifferent or even unsupportive?

Let's assume you have a strong case to make for yourself. This means you're a high performer and you've let them know in no uncertain terms that you are asking for a raise. Hopefully you've even have done some benchmarking to make sure you're asking for the market rate.

Ask yourself this: at this point, if they gave you the raise — no questions asked — would you be satisfied?

If you would be, it's worth having a respectful but explicit conversation about your needs. If you're at all uncertain that they are crystal clear on your specific request, I would encourage you to try one more time and be as explicit as possible: based on your track record of performance, you're looking for a raise of X% in Y timeframe.

If you're already so frustrated that you can't imagine having that conversation, don't waste your time agonizing over what to say, and put your energy into finding a role that's a better fit.

— Alexandra Dickinson
CEO + founder

Ask Alex is our monthly advice series. CEO + Founder Alexandra Dickinson answers your most burning negotiation questions. Subscribe to our email list for more advice and content. We'd also love to hear from you! Submit your questions to hello@askforit.co.


Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.