How To Ask For a Raise at Work: Do You Feel You’re Not Worthy?

By · Monday, September 30th, 2013

Fear of not being worthy enough.   Some bosses help make us feel less than worthy, while sadly, many of us convince ourselves that we are not worthy.  So our feelings of unworthiness may come from our boss, sometimes from family or “friends” and even our own self-talk.  Many of these feelings stem from home and school.   But we aren’t in school or living with our parents.  This is our time and turn to ask for what we’ve earned.

When I was young I suffered from low self-esteem.  It stemmed from having ADHD (undiagnosed at the time), strong environmental allergies that kept me feeling lethargic, and having been taught sight reading instead of phonics, all while my mom had severe depression.  So I acted out, in large part, for attention and not feeling adequate like the other kids.  I took risks to get attention, which often led to getting me into trouble.  Those risks were not healthy ones.

Those feelings of unworthiness stayed with me for a long time; yet I learned to take calculated risks and ask for raises and better assignments.  I was largely successful, but certainly not every time.  Needless to say, I never got fired for broaching the subject of a raise or a better assignment, and I had some tough bosses.   The experience of hiring others who asked me for raises helped form my viewpoints.  Plus, placing hundreds of professionals, while as a successful Executive Recruiter, exposed me to negotiating excellent salaries for all those that I placed.  Those placements were with firms from $10 Million in size to Fortune 100 companies.

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I negotiated with every level of boss and personality imaginable.  All that salary negotiation prepared me for what I do now.    All of that exposure allowed me to develop a system that I now teach to other professionals.  But, I don’t teach successful pay raise negotiations and run.  No, instead I instruct and then guide my clients through each meeting with their boss, as if I am right there by their side.  Together we make significant pay raises happen.  Part of the fear is going it alone.  That no longer needs to happen.

Believe me there is almost always another firm that will appreciate your value and contribution.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that everyone is deserving of a raise.  They are not.  Some folks are even over-paid. But, the first thing I do with potential clients is determine if a healthy raise is even in order.  I do that in a brief questionnaire and complimentary telephone discovery session which you can request by simply emailing me at

I am sensitive to feelings of unworthiness in others because of my own life experiences.  That is all the more reason that I am uniquely qualified to help you feel better about yourself, while helping you secure the significant pay raise that you deserve.

Are you caught between feeling you are underpaid and not being worthy of much more?  Share your story here:



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