By: Revanche

How will you earn that raise?

October 6, 2010

I was reading this article, Five People Who Will Get A Bigger Raise Than You Do, that makes the point that your raises depend on making specific kinds of contributions to an organization.

Sara suggests that there are five categories of people who make themselves seem indispensable to a company, and therefore more valuable: The Learners, The Pushers, The Changers, The Builders, and The Teamers.

The Learners gather and store institutional knowledge; the Pushers are results-driven; the Changers are problem identifiers and troubleshooters, tinkerers; the Builders are visionaries who can do everything to launch a new project; and the Teamers are consensus builders. 

Offhand, I can clearly identify at least one key management individual who happens to be highly capable in each of the above areas, except for Learning. I think that the value of institutional knowledge in some organizations will vary.  For myself, I think I’m still naive, green or young enough to think that I can be strong in all those areas.  It may just be phasic, though.

Several years ago, I was definitely a Learner. Now I’m cycling through the other four sorts of skills, nearly on a daily basis, depending on the project and I wonder if it wouldn’t be more valuable to focus on one or two skills. Is this similar to multi-tasking, am I just diluting my ability to be effective because the brain can really only manage one task at a time?  Or is it a case where the more skills the better? 

Do you see any of these traits in yourself?  Do you think that growing any of these abilities or tendencies would benefit you in your current organization or your future plans?

7 Responses to “How will you earn that raise?”

  1. Karen says:

    I’m probably a Changer.

  2. Debt Hater says:

    Interesting question! I think I am closest to a Changer, with some Builder and Teamer mixed in.

    I agree that multitasking is overrated, but it’s amazing how it’s listed on job descriptions and brought up in job interviews. I want to say “No, I am not a multitasker. I actually get things DONE.” But I know multitask is still a buzzword that you just have to go with.

    That said, would it pay to be one of these five rather than some kind of amalgam of all of them? I think yes, BUT occasionally you’re going to have to take on some of these traits. What melds best with your skills and personality I think would be what you would focus on.

  3. I’m a Pusher and a Learner.

    Teamer, yes. Have to be, as a consultant.

  4. Kate says:

    I am definitely a Learner.

    I a lot of ways it comes naturally to me- I love knowledge and research, and I am naturally interested in the whole of what my organization is involved in, from the nitty-gritty HR stuff that everybody else glosses over to the trends in the industry, etc.

    On the other hand, it also takes work, and it’s an important skill to nurture. Those nitty-gritty HR details can have a huge impact on your career options moving forward, for example, and knowing the big picture of your industry (I think) is key to knowing how you should be moving within it.

  5. Gaaah! I’ve always hated those gimmicks where somebody sticks labels on people based on their personalities. They pigeonhole people into stereotypes, some of them dismissive and negative.

    You know how to get a raise? Ask for one. Keep asking.

    That’s how I got myself paid better than the guy who was hired on the same day I was hired to do the same kind of job I was doing at the same institution. Every now and again I’d remind my boss that I deserved and needed a raise. We were working for a state university and so our salaries were public record; when the university’s budget was published, my salary was listed as higher than his.

    This tip came from a man who was hired on a large metropolitan newspaper that, because it was not unionized, paid reporters peanuts. He was a multi-award-winning investigative journalist, and so he wasn’t sitting around on his hands. Every year at annual review time, he would point out his accomplishments and then say he wanted a raise.

    Amazingly, he got those raises. Not until the Newspaper Guild tried to organize the place did he realize he was the only one who was getting raises! Turned out he was the highest paid reporter in the newspaper’s history, earning significantly more than veterans who had been there for years before he came along.

  6. This is really interesting!

    I think that, in order, my strengths are a pusher, a changer, a learner, then most weak in buidler and teamers. But like you, as I grow in my career, I can see some skills becoming more important and strong. It takes something of a reputation and authority to really be a good builder/teamer. Or maybe that’s just my excuse 🙂

    I do agree asking for a raise is important, but you also have to deserve one on top if that, especially in this economy.

  7. Revanche says:

    @Karen: Interesting that you have a quick solid identification: good knowing yourself!

    @Debt Hater: I agree – while I DO multi-task, I also know that it’s only “good” in a limited fashion and that I have to drop it and focus on single tasks when it’s time to get through projects rather than training or tending to questions where you don’t necessarily have to pay 100% attention to everyone.

    @FB: So these things come naturally or they come with the territory?

    @Kate: Learning is absolutely crucial to HR.

    @FaM: They are a bit like those personality quizzes, aren’t they? I find it interesting to pinpoint strengths, though, because sometimes people don’t identify areas of strength and weakness concretely enough to improve on them and earn their raises if all else is equal and they and everyone else has asked.

    I have to point out that it drives me nuts when everyone gets rewarded on the basis of one person’s asking, though. That’s totally not fair. Though it’s in the name of fairness, it’s not, really.

    @stackingpennies: I’m gearing myself up to go in and ask for one soon. 🙂 I know I deserve it, I just dislike the asking part. I was going to say hate, but I realized that while I’m still a bit uncomfortable with it, it does not cause the anxiety that it once did.

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