Asking for a raise

Asking for a raise

He printed off a list of all of his accomplishments and what he had achieved the past year. Brian was a strong recruiter no doubt. He embellished a few of those achievements. Did he deserve a 10% increase in salary? Sure, why not. But that’s not the point.

As an employee you work at a discounted rate so that your employer can make a profit on your work. Those are the rules to the game we all are playing.

Asking for a raise is not a bad thing. If you go in asking for money be ready to show personal arbitrage.

For me asking for a raise is awkward, self absorbed, and very risky. There are so many variables beyond your control.

Do you bring 5 times, 10 times, or 20 times a return on the money you are currently paid?

Asking for a raise is a math problem. I’ve been hearing this term a lot from business guys.

Asking for a raise is not a “worth” issue. If you look at the raise through the lense of your worth then you’re hosed. Your comp is a line item on the balance sheet of a department or company. That’s it. Math. Accounting.

Money is personal

I know money is personal. We all compare our worth and salary with others in our field and we want the respect. Stop thinking that way. It will ruin your life.

I’m going to contradict myself. You can’t control the “salary is my worth” thinking. But you can channel it and observe that those thoughts are going through your mind. Don’t let them linger.

Math problem

Needing 28K is a math problem. Ask yourself why you need the extra money. Because money is almost never the issue. Unless you are stuck in living below the poverty line.

If you are a linchpin (check out Linchpin by Seth Godin) then you stand a good chance of getting the raise.

Another great book, Eat the Frog, by Brian Tracy will teach you how to position your value to make more money.

He tells the story of a guy who showed his boss all the mundane time sucking tasks that generate very little return on his time.

By taking those tasks off his plate he was able to focus more on the high return work that made the company more money.

His boss doubled his pay. It is rare to get your pay doubled. I had it happen to me. I didn’t ask for it.

Boss’s hate talking money

I could be wrong here. I probably am. Talking about how much money you are worth is really uncomfortable for your boss. I hate talking about how much money I need to make to my boss.

Your boss is looking at a budget and seeing 28K as a new hire. That person will know nothing and contribute little at the beginning. They may not see the equation the way you do.


If you are going to ask for 28K then the burden is on you to show how you bring in 5 times or 10 times that in value. Show them how you added 300K to the company.

That is how business works. If the business isn’t growing and flourishing it’s dying.

Thinking you deserve a raise because of what you did in the past is like putting a bullet in your brain. Don’t do that. That’s negotiating suicide. Nobody cares about what you did in the past.

Real players want to know what you can do now.


I have NEVER asked for a raise. Maybe I’m not qualified to answer this question. I have been given significant raises through-out my career.

Add value is a cliche and is over-used, I know. To make more you have to change your mindset from the employee to that of an owner. Or from a taker to a giver.

Owners, producers, and givers make more. Earners, employees, and takers make less.

Money is only a byproduct of value. It is the market’s way of saying thank you for delivering.

Every time I’ve been greedy and stingy money hides herself from me.

Every time I’ve given, money magnetizes herself to me.

Brian got a 2% raise and he quit 6 months later.




Job Search Insanity Part 1


I had been rejected again. Bob told me to leave and that I wouldn’t need to finish out my two weeks notice. I was jobless. Apart of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics statistics blah blah blah.

Then I suddenly became deranged and actually thought about owning a fleet of 18 wheelers because I thought I was good at logistics. What does logistics even mean?

I went to truck driving school for Swift to get my CDL. Because in order to own a fleet of 18 wheelers you need to know how to drive one. My flawed logic.  I had to take a Greyhound bus from Northern Michigan to Memphis. Worst trip of my life. I cried.

I was there for 3 weeks. I think. I barely graduated. My truck driver trainer called me “Nervous” in this strange down home brother like accent. I was nervous and now it was my nickname.

I was sent back to Detroit to await my driving assignments while living in a motel. All I did was eat fast food and watch TV for 10-12 hours a day. I gained weight.

My 18 wheeler business dream ended in 3 months. I couldn’t hang living in rest stops and sleeping in the back of trucks. You take showers in scary places and eat out of vending machines. There are no Whole Foods for truck drivers. Great business idea!

I told Swift that they could have their truck back but they wanted thousands of dollars for teaching me how to drive their truck. I disagreed with them.

I was now jobless. I use to sell cars and was pretty good at it. I had a reputation for selling the shit out of cars. Every dealer I called gave me the runaround. I was doomed. I was freaking out.

I went to Manpower and got a factory job. Yes a job a robot could do ten times faster and more efficient. I would pick up plastic parts off of a conveyer belt and put them into a box for 8 hours a day and I would do it at night.

I was a professional salesman who couldn’t get back in the game. I was blacklisted. I would beg car guys to hire me. I would cry. I would dream about selling cars again. I was insane.

Then Robin, one of the best men I know, called back. He got me a gig selling cars. I cried. I finally get to check out of the insane asylum.

Ideas for coping with the insanity of a job search.

It really isn’t you it’s us

When any business is hiring somebody they get spooked out. They overthink the process. They don’t want to hire the wrong person and waste time and money firing them and then replacing them.

The boss loves to have as many resume options as possible for the job they need done. There is this belief that there is an over abundance of qualified people for the job and if you’re patient the right resume may come along.

Education doesn’t equal opportunity

Colleges don’t see their job as preparing you for finding a job. Their goal is to educate you and that’s it. Sure they have a career advisor you can talk to.

A college’s goal is to teach you to think critically. Your livelihood isn’t their problem. I’ve worked with recruiters with Masters Degrees that didn’t know how to recruit.

The best recruiter I know is a Marine. I don’t think he has a degree. Semper Fi baby!

Amateur Hour

I went to a networking event and interviewed some college kids who are all brilliant and smarter than me. But most of them were amateurs. They know how to study and do class projects. They also know how to party.

You and I live the real world. There are no As and Bs. It is get the job done or don’t pay the bills. Cars get repossessed and houses goes into foreclosure. We don’t have much margin for error.

Amateur hour in a job search is applying to jobs online blindly without knowing how to get through a window.

Find a window

A pro doesn’t need to go through the front door of a company. They don’t want to because they know that there are a 1000 guards ready to smash you.

Submitting your resume with a cover letter to HR, blah blah blah puke I’m getting sick, is how an amatuer searches for a job.

Our applicant tracking system hates your resume and it will get lost. I’m sorry but your resume is one of a 1000 that company received this month.

Finding a window means knowing someone on the inside. Crawl through the window and stop the madness.

I’ll follow up with a part two with more job search strategies that helps me keep my sanity.


A boss’s recommendation

A businessman sat on a rocking horse

I was constantly avoiding my boss. I didn’t want to return his calls or acknowledge his existence. I had been offered a contract recruiting gig that was going to be a more interesting job than the one I had.

I didn’t know how to tell him that I was leaving him. I can’t use him as a reference. Maybe I can use him but I feel bad for leaving him.

When I worked for Dennis I did the same thing. I was lured away by another dealership that promised me the world. I was dreaming big and didn’t appreciate how good I had it.

Dennis did write me a good reference. You can see it on my LinkedIn profile.

Here are a few options for getting your boss to give you a reference for a new job.

Tell her it’s for a promotional opportunity. If you’re good at what you do, they will have no problem giving you a strong recommendation.

Another field
Jumping from the nonprofit world into recruiting made getting a recommendation from my boss easy since I wasn’t jumping ship to another competing non profit. Nonprofits compete for donations and charity. It’s weird but it is true.

Demoting yourself
Maybe you want to move out of a position that isn’t as high stressed or allows you more free time to work on a few side ventures. Your boss will most likely envy your situation.

I’ve recruited a ton of engineering managers who wanted to go back into the trenches and not have to worry about being the boss.

Tell your boss that this new job is much closer to your house and you will be saving time and gas going to work everyday.

Negotiate this benefit in the job you’re looking to get even if it means one day a week you can work from home. Either way, your boss will be understanding of this added benefit if you don’t currently have it.

Work life balance blah….blah….blah….
This term is all the rage right now. Every company thinks they give great work life balance but most don’t. Again, tread lightly your boss may love all of these options and want to come to this new job with you.

Paying for school
This new company is going to pay you to go back to school and get some fancy graduate degree. Maybe your current company offer this, but whatever the case, you’re trying to convince your boss to give you a great recommendation and getting a better education is a good option.

This new company is going to be the next Google
Be careful because again your boss my want to follow you along to this next company. Talk about the innovative business you are about to embark on. Yeah, talk it up. Don’t be surprised if your boss doesn’t ask you to push their resume through.

When I left the nonprofit world I actually had that happen to me. Colleagues and bosses wanted me to “hook them up” because I was going into the recruiting world.

They have a fitness program
You want to get in shape and taking this job will allow that for you. You need this reference to score this sweet gig with a fitness program.

Figure out what the best option is for you and let your boss in on your game plan to jump ship. Good bosses will want the best for you.

If your boss thinks you stink at your job then the ideas presented above may not be very helpful.

Lying to your boss

angry boss

I use to lie all of the time. Mainly to avoid the wrath of my father and getting my ass whooped by him. I didn’t know that they called it child abuse. He really wasn’t abusing me. But I lied to his face a lot and I had the ass whooping coming.

You have lied to your boss about missing work and you made up a story about your fake cousin’s death……

Now your boss wants proof.

You may be in a pickle, my friend.

Option 1:

Take the high road and let your family shame you. Lose your job and slowly work toward rebuilding your life.

Option 2:

Have create a obiturary of your fake cousin’s death. I doubt that getting a copy of a death certificate for a random cousin is necessary. An obituary is much easier.

Option 3:

Avoid your manager. Keep blowing him off. Tell him you’re ridden with guilt about this whole situation. Take the lie even deeper if you want. Tell him that you some-how feel responsible for your cousin’s death.

Option 4:

Appear absolutely delusional about the entire situation. Go to a psychiatrist and tell them that you hear the voices of your parents in your head telling you you aren’t good enough. You need meds to calm the voices down. You may not have access to this option. I don’t know.

Option 5:

Be over dramatic. Bosses hate drama. Go into a long diatribe about the drama in your family over your cousin’s death and how it impacted the family dynamic. When my employees go on about their drama I shut down and stop listening. Maybe that’s why I’m a terrible boss. I don’t mean to, I just do.

Option 6:

Tell him that your cousin was so poor that the family didn’t have a funeral. You couldn’t even find a priest or whatever appropriate religious figure to perform the ceremony. Go on about him being homeless and how he was a shame to your family but you were the only one who stood by him. The bigger the story the better.

Option 7:

Most of the people on this post want you to buck up and tell the truth. Well you probably should but who am I to judge. I’m guilty of telling lies. I would be a hypocrite. We all lie to ourselves everyday.

Option 8:

Keep insisting that you gave the information to your boss over and over. Then accuse him of sabotaging your ability to follow the bereavement process.

Option 9:

Tell him, I’m assuming your boss is a him, that you need even more time off and that you need time to clear your head about this whole situation.

Option 10:

This is the most absurd and craziest option. Beware as this might piss some readers off. Tell your boss that you think you were in love with your cousin and that he or she was your soulmate.

Falling in love with a cousin is common. He will most likely understand since he almost certainly had a cousin back in the day that he had a crush on.

9 of these options are really bad. Only 1 is true and noble. Tell the truth and start the journey to restore your character. In my experience, it has been worth it for me.

How to get a raise

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My VP of sales told me they were cutting our pay because the economy was bad. All of the churches we were sending invoices to weren’t paying their bills.


It was 2008 and I was pedaling video based bible studies over the phone. I had just moved from Michigan to Texas and I need a job. I left a pretty lucrative job in the car biz. I needed any gig that would get me to Texas to win over this woman I was pretty crazy over.


This Non-profit ministry was a bit shady. I didn’t care at the time because I needed to get paid. Not only did I need to get paid, they wanted to cut our pay.


Within six months I got a 50% raise.


How to get a 50% raise?


This VP of sales guy had a “bleeding neck problem” that I could help solve. He wanted to pedal a subscription to churches. The subscription would be very expensive and lucrative for our “non-profit” ministry. Even though the economy was in rough shape.


This isn’t advice since different things work for different people. Figure out the “bleeding neck problem” and solve it. Preferably on the revenue-generating side of the business.


Learn to create a product or service


When I was selling used cars. Yes, I sold used cars and I loved it! I helped create a finance product for us and my income grew by 40% in two years.


Do work that adds to the bottom line


If you cannot connect the dots where you work impacts the bottom line of the biz then forget about getting a raise. Your company is trying to figure out ways to outsource your job to people who are willing to do it cheaper. I know that hurts. You may even be pissed that I’m telling you this. I’m sorry, I’ve done work that has been outsourced and it sucks.


Make your boss look like a rockstar


My boss is a rockstar. My job is to make her look more and more like a rockstar. Help your boss get a raise. She will go to bat for you. Figure out their bleeding neck problem and work day and night to solve it. Add to her bottom line and she will add to yours.


Get promoted to another department


Take another exec from another department to coffee. Pick their brain and ask them what you can do on the side to help them. Make them look like a rockstar. You make them look good and they will take care of you I promise.


Give away ideas for free


Check out idea guru James Altucher’s blog about idea generation it works. Always be creating and spreading ideas and giving them away to your boss. Again focus on ideas the help add revenue or decrease cost.


Give yourself a raise


Let’s say 30% of your current salary is $1000 per month. Find a supplement income stream that brings in the extra money.


Shana and I are going to make designer chalkboards that moms use to decorate play rooms. We sell 10 per month and we are making an $1000 per month. Rinse and repeat and then maybe you have a business of your own.


Who knows, your boss may one day ask you for a job!


To hear, a gift!


I watched a video on Facebook about people who could hear for the first time. New medical technology made this feat possible. Every person cried. Astonishing to think that hearing something I take for granted would cause another to have a life changing experience.

Hearing is a gift. I know I take it for granted. Today may I go about my day mesmerized by my ability to hear. Some of the most beautiful things in the world come from our sense of hearing.

Hearing a bird sing in the morning. Something truly amazing.

The sound of traffic. It’s great. I think anyways. It’s a recognizable sound.

The sound of rain beating against a window. Or the sound of rain tapping a roof in rhythmic ease.

The sound of wind on a chilly day. You don’t know where it came from or where it is going.

The sound of a child’s laugh. The uncontrollable laugh that they cannot contain.

The sound of children at play. Being at play is what makes us human. Why did I ever stop playing?

The sound of her saying yes to his marriage proposal. The shriek. The excitement.

To hear and to listen. The ability to listen and truly understand is what can change my world.

Why I didn’t read your cover letter


I applied to be a trivia game host for a bar in my neighborhood. I would only be working 2-3 nights a week. It sounded fun. They haven’t called me. And I do this recruitment thing for a living. They didn’t ask for a cover letter.
We’re looking for a Recruiter in Chicago. I messaged a person about the job on Facebook. We talked for 40 minutes about her hopes and dreams. She sent me her resume last night. Without a cover letter. She’s scheduled to interview with our VP next week.
She had no cover letter. I didn’t even think to ask her for a cover letter. I’ve received over 5000 cover letters in my recruiting career. I can’t remember any of them. I feel bad for all of those people who wrote cover letters that I didn’t read.
I pretty much skim them. Most HR people do too. How do I know this? Most cover letters are boring. I’m sorry to break this information to you.
I have an idea! The next cover letter you write make it about being a super hero finance specialist. Talk about your past experiences in the same way Batman would explain working in finance. Tell a story. I would read that cover letter.
For the most part, cover letters don’t really matter. Finding the right job is all about connecting with the right people. That’s an entirely different post all together.

What I’ll be when I grow up

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…. There are a lot of great answers here on finding meaning. Some days I think I would like to be a writer.
Then I freak out about the beating it is to write a book. I just finished my first book. It was really, really difficult.
Some days I want to make a difference in the homeless community in Fort Worth.
Then life just happens. You go to work. You go home. You eat shitty food. Then you think, “I’ve got to start eating better”.
I read a statistic that 72% of men are unhappy with the current state of their physical health. The number one thing we would like to change is drinking less alcohol.
My homeless buddy Christopher says the number one reason people are homeless in Fort Worth is because of sobriety. His face is beaten down.
Being homeless in Fort Worth is “Living on Lancaster”.  Christopher is an expert on being homeless. His story is amazing.
All this shit about finding your meaning and purpose. That doesn’t happen while you’re in the thick of “it”. I’ve found that I don’t connect meaning to an event until afterwords.
 Remember those days being a kid. Riding your bike for hours on end. Your worries were super small. Unless you had some a-hole adult doing stupid shit to you. If that was the case then I’m very sorry.
My son, Judah, is 5. He wants to be a grown up. His reasoning for wanting to be a grown up is so that he can eat whenever and stay up late. He doesn’t know how bad that shit is for grown ups…..
I don’t know who you are, but I’m in this boat with you. I can say that everyday I find hope in gradual progress. Maybe in my progress, I’ll look back and find meaning and purpose.

Here is a job search strategy

I’ll never forget this guy I was trying to recruit for a VP of Quality position in NYC. We were in the middle of the process and I was trying to negotiate a $200k salary with confusing stock options.

To this day he pisses me off.

I called to check up on him to make sure that he was still on board with making the move.

He lived in Texas. I was recruiting him to move to NYC. The bump in compensation he was going to get wasn’t actually going to be an increase.

When I finally got him on the phone, he told me that he had just finished up a round of golf with his boss. He was drunk.

It was good to know that he would be responsible for the quality assurance of an implantable medical device that pumps pain medicine into your bloodstream.

The guy pulled off the trifecta. He leveraged my offer against his own company to get a raise and promotion.

Then he bolted a few months later for an even better offer with another company in Georgia.

I was stunned. Here is what you can learn from this guy.

  • Interview for several opportunities at once and leverage the offers against each other. If you’re in demand, then embrace it.
  • Position the companies in a bidding war for your services.
  • Don’t take the offer that pays you the most. This guy actually took the job that was most fascinating and interesting.
  • Pick the company that gives you the best opportunity to grow in both skills and knowledge.  

Go on every interview you have scheduled. Enjoy the process.

Recruiters who hate metrics


I’m nervous to write about performance metrics and key performance indicators. I would rather rip off my toenails than have a conversation about performance metrics with recruiters.

Why do we recruiters hate to be measured and judged? I’m not sure but I can speculate. Many times it’s that I have a wrong perspective as it relates to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Yes it is a tool for executive leadership to objectively measure the health of their company. KPIs can be more than that,  if I would just give them a shot.

One common objective we recruiters have to KPIs is that they don’t explain the complexity and art of recruiting. I’m starting to believe that’s mostly b.s..  I get that we want to believe that our debonair on the phone and in meetings just can’t be measured. I think we are wrong.

Somebody really smart, and I don’t want to Google who it was, said something like this …

genius is taking that which is complex and simplifying it. I’m not a genius. I’m really good at taking something simple and making it even more complex.

That’s what I did early in my recruiting career.  I made easy recruiting KPIs handed to me by a recruiting rock star and made them more complex. I did this because I felt Because measuring recruiting the simple way doesn’t take into account all the little nuances in art and complexity of skill into consideration.

I’m wrong. I’m usually wrong 99% of the time. I’m wrong so much that I’ve had to learn to grow from my wrongs. I’m now on this endless journey to simplify the complex. I don’t know why this principle resonates with me.

Steve Jobs, (every business person should refer to him at some point in their career) was a genius. He was the master of simplifying complexity. The examples are endless. Do you remember trying to figure out your mp3 player from the early 2000s. Yeah, it was brutal.

Drag and drop. Now that is genius.

I think measuring performance can be simple. Do a quick search for recruiting metrics at or and have fun reading through the life crushing white papers on recruiting metrics. I had to do it 6 months ago. It was horrible.

Recruiting performance is pretty simple to measure. I have to credit my colleague, Clay Alexander, for coming up with it.

Get Candidates + Interview Candidates = hire candidates

Wow. I’ll let you think about that for a little while I go get another cup of coffee.