How to Get the Lowest Raise Possible

Last Updated Nov 1, 2010 12:01 PM EDT

For many companies, it's time for managers to be determining year end increases for their employees. I know this is a dreaded time of year for people like you, because you have so much money you can't spend all of it now, and what on earth would you do with a big raise?

Sigh. Life can be so difficult, can't it?

In order to help you, I've put together a few suggestions that will help you get the lowest raise possible. If you follow these steps, I guarantee everyone else in the department will fare better than you will and you can peacefully go about life without the burden of a higher tax bracket.

  • Don't write a self appraisal. Self appraisals are handy tools for managers because they refresh their minds about all the wonderful stuff you've done over the year. Managers are busy and often don't know what you've done because if you work independently, they don't need to. So, for heaven's sake, don't write a self appraisal that details your hard work. Just forget about it. This ensures that your manager only remembers the most recent things you've done.
  • If your manager makes you write a self appraisal, lie and be sloppy. Exaggerate your successes and ignore your failures. If your coworker did 95 percent of a project and you formatted a few Power Point slides for her, go ahead and write down that you were responsible for the whole thing. Chances are, your manager will know that's false and he'll think you're a self-centered jerk. Self centered jerks get lower raises. And, make sure you don't spell check or use proper grammar. Text speak is ideal here. Don't mention any of the stuff you did at the beginning of the year, and whatever you do, don't related it back to your goals.
  • Start slacking off now. Sure, managers are supposed to look at a whole year's worth of work when evaluating and determining a year end increase, but they generally place more emphasis on the last quarter. So, start coming in late, calling out for "mental health" days, and taking long lunches. Your boss is sure to notice your shortcomings and this recent bad behavior will over-shadow your previous successes.
  • Go whine about your salary. It drives a boss nuts when an employee comes into her office to complain about a low salary. Since your salary is too high already, it seems silly to complain about that, so just try complaining that's it's too low. Talk about your bills and obligations and if you can throw in a good story about an ex-spouse, spend-thrift mother, or brother in prison that gives you bonus points. Sure, it seems like sympathy will get you a bigger raise, but it's more likely to annoy your boss. Whatever you do, don't be calm and rational and don't present market based data about your salary. That might encourage your boss to give you a bigger raise, and we don't want that.
Hopefully, by following these tips, your year end increase will be small and your performance appraisal score will be in the cellar. (We don't want a good appraisal either, obviously, because those are tied to raises and bonuses in many companies and if you have too much money now, you certainly don't want a bonus.)

If, by some strange stretch of the imagination, actually want a big increase, you may wish to do the opposite of everything listed above.

Photo by pfala, Flickr cc 2.0.