Stoke Your Salary Using a Simple Memory Booster

This guest post shows you why “mommy brain” is not helping your paycheck. Use Pat’s tips to negotiate a bigger raise and recognition for your hard work.

By Pat Katepoo 

There’s a surprisingly simple memory aid I want to tell you about that could stoke your salary at performance review time. It’s built on a habit that takes only minutes a week, yet most professionals overlook it.

As a busy working mom, your life is all about lists, right? I’m guessing you keep to-do lists, use grocery lists, and have a hefty projects list at work.

With your days full of distractions and a brain on overload, you know it would be sketchy to rely on your memory alone to keep everything on track.

Yet, how would you answer the following statement from my “Are You Passive About Pay?” quiz:

I rely on my memory to recall my measurable job achievements.

Is that true or false for you? Most women I’ve talked to say it’s true.

When it’s time for your job performance review, relying on memory–yours or your boss’s–to recall your job accomplishments is a costly career misstep. Let’s look at a better way.

Keep a “done” list

The simple memory booster you must apply is not a new to-do list, but a “done” list.

What’s a “done” list? It’s an ongoing journal, log or spreadsheet where you regularly track your job progress and achievements throughout the year. And it’s crucial for keeping your earnings up to par.

It can make the difference between getting an average raise of 3% and one that positions you to request a 5% raise or more, due to your documentation of measurable results.

The pay raise equation

I’ve developed a pay raise equation that looks like this:

Performance + Marketing + Asking = Pay Raise

Hard work (Performance) alone is not enough to get you a raise. You must regularly communicate (Marketing) your accomplishments. Then, at your performance review, you must be ready to negotiate (Asking) for what you want.

The fact is, you must continuously market yourself so that you implant  value into the mind of your boss and other people who can advocate for and approve your raise.

You do that by regularly communicating your accomplishments throughout the year.

And when it’s time for your performance review, how will you recount all your measurable achievements over the last 12 months or more?

Not by memory! It’s far too unreliable.

Use your “done” list. Translate your list into results that resonate in your boss’s mind. With that, you are well-positioned to ask for a higher-than-average pay raise.

The cost of not keeping a job journal

Without a job journal—your “done” list, it’s easy to forget your accomplishments or to lose track of the objective measures of value that go with them. And over time, the value of your achievements are taken for granted, by you, your boss and other people who influence or decide your raise. Lose track and you lose pay raise potential.

Also, without a job journal, the tendency is to get bogged down in day-to-day duties while losing sight of the bigger picture of career development in your current job.

Start your job journal

Keep your job journal as a computer file for efficiency. Based on your preference, use a word, spreadsheet, project management or organizing software program to track your progress.

For privacy, keep your journal in a password-protected area. Online tools you might use include Google Docs, Basecamp or Evernote.

Aim for recording an entry at least a couple of times a week. Regular entries keep you up-to-date and focused on your progress.

Is there a risk you’ll forget to record? Yes! It’s easy to overlook or forget, so schedule auto-reminders into your calendar.

Stoke your salary

With your job journal “done” list as your memory booster, you’ll be positioned to ask for a hefty merit raise at your next job performance review.

pat-katepooPat Katepoo equips working mothers to negotiate higher pay and flexible work at Download a free sample chapter of The Essential Pay Raise Workbook for Women.

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