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My Annual Review Is Next Week. How Can I Get Something Else If They Cannot Raise My Salary?

Updated: Jun 27

Question: My Annual Review is next week. How Can I get Something Else if They cannot Raise My Salary?

- Lone-Wolf Standing in My Department

Congratulations! That may seem strange given the situation that you are describing of being the ‘last one standing’ in what was formerly a larger department.


But, the congratulations are for not letting it stop you, or holding you back from going after SOMETHING during your Annual Review.


You had told me in your email that you didn’t think that they had the funds to give raises this year, even with all of the cutbacks. That may be true, or it may be untrue.

My advice is to go in with a positive attitude, ready to recount your contributions this year to the company – even if their ‘attitude’ conveys that they are worried about how you’ll take ‘not getting a raise’.

Of course, I would always recommend that you do the work necessary to fully prepare for this meeting. Many individuals think of an annual review as a time for ‘them’ to to evaluate ‘us’. While that’s true, it’s also a time for you to be evaluating and communicating your accomplishments to them and your expectations to your supervisor. Remember, they are charged with the responsibility of hiring, firing and laying off –but they are also charged with the responsibility of making sure the very best individuals on their team stay happy and motivated.


Happy and motivated individuals produce a much higher quality work-product (no matter what your role), even when also dealing with a department that is disappearing around you.


So, create a list of everything that you desire to keep yourself a motivated and productive member of the team. That could include obvious things such as ‘more money’, better responsibilities or a better desk or office location – now that there seems to be openings all around you.

But it could also include wish-list items like more vacation time and title changes.

If you feel that they cannot offer you more salary, why not let them see some understanding (which will be appreciated) mixed with firm disappointment (which would be expected) and then tell them that if they cannot raise your salary, then you need the next-level title. You said in your email that you are a senior designer in a department that was larger - that used to be headed up by an art director.

Now, all are gone and you are there doing all of the work. It seems to me that you would be able to ask for what you ‘need’ – especially if it does not cost them anything additional right now.


Certainly test and see if there are funds for a raise, but if you feel that there are not, try what I suggested.


Here’s how it might go:

Let them see some understanding for their financial situation, mixed with firm disappointment – because you have financial needs too. Give them a long pause after showing the dissapointment. Look them in the eye and say with determination,

“Well, if you cannot raise my salary, then I need to have the art director title.”

Then hold your reaction firm (don’t let anything show!).

Remember, they have kept you because you provide something that others did not. Though you must be the judge as to whether they are reasonable people or not, it’s not likely that they would do anything negative simply because you asked. That’s a common mistake that individuals make, they fail to ask.

But, if we don’t ask, we will rarely get, so ask!

And be sure to ask in a way that provides some solution to everyone involved. In this case, they will get to keep payroll from increasing (a great benefit to them) in return for giving something without a specific value to them, but of great value to you.

The next time you are then searching for a new career opportunity, you may be doing so with an art director title on your resume showing your increased capabilities and responsibilities.

Prepare for your meeting and make it a win-win for everyone!

Need more help & Advice? Reach out today–


John Crant

Author, Career Coach & Speaker on Job Search and Career Management

Featured Speaker for

The New York Public Library's JOB SEARCH CENTRAL


In the Media: As Seen As Featured in 

amNY, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal (and its, CRAIN'S New York BusinessForbes, CNNBBC, FOX News (on Social Media Marketing), AriseTV, New York PostThe Huffington PostEssence magazine, CareerBuilder and The Ladders

On the Radio: As Guest: WHCR 90.3 FM "The Voice of Harlem"


As an industry manager, executive recruiter, recruiting & sales trainer, event speaker, and as VP of a nationwide system of recruitment offices, I have seen most every aspect of the hiring process and this varied insight is what provides the clarity you will find in this book.


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