Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I’m celebrating my one year anniversary with…my job. Not the most romantic anniversary, but exciting nonetheless. I don’t expect any gifts from my employer, but I am hoping for something bigger: a raise. Not just any raise; double my salary. I currently work part time for my county’s health department as a dietitian and I also work 2 other jobs– teaching at a community college and working as a clinical dietitian at a hospital.
I have a bittersweet relationship with my jobs. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to work more than 3 days per week at either place and I enjoy the variety I get from being in both a clinical and community health setting. However, since my position at the hospital is contingent, meaning I pick up days as needed, my income can vary greatly month to month. Some months I’ll pick up 13 days when other dietitians are taking vacations or the census is up and they need more help. Other slow months (like February!) I only have 5 days scheduled for the hospital. I’d like to have a more consistent income and I see a lot of potential for me to make a big impact on my clients and coworkers at the health department. Therefore, I’m meeting with my supervisor and director on my one year anniversary to discuss my desire to get full time hours.
Go in with a game plan
My supervisor is on board with me going full time but we still have to pitch this to her boss. Thankfully, her boss interviewed me and gave me the job, so it’s not like I’m a stranger walking into her office asking for money. Instead of whining about how busy I am and that I don’t have time to do things I think would be beneficial, I’ve come up with a game plan to present. I’ll spare the details and share the main points that you could also use if you find yourself in a position like mine and you’re about to ask for a raise.
Develop a fan club
I am the only dietitian in my department of 30+ social workers and a handful of nurses, psychologists, and an occupational therapist. This has been a great experience for me because since no one has a degree in nutrition, my position is highly valued and I get consults up the wazoo to see clients who need help meal planning, learning how to cook, how to manage their diabetes, etc. I have been intentional to follow up on consults right away and go above expectations to enable my clients to take care of their nutritional health. Because of this, I’ve met people within and outside the department tell me they already knew who I was from hearing about my work through other coworkers. When I shared that I would love to go full time, coworkers jumped at the opportunity to send emails to my supervisor and her boss to say why they think it would be a great idea.
Have evidence to show growth
I kept the caseload of clients I received when I started working a year ago. Since then it has almost doubled. I put together a document that shows how many clients I’m seeing and how often I follow up on them. Nutrition classes were formerly held once a month prior to my hiring and now I’ve got three a month and have even brought in dietetic undergrads to teach one of the classes so I can help them gain experience outside of the classroom.
Share a vision
I’d like to do so many things in my position but simply don’t have time. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of ideas that I feel will better serve my clients and even my coworkers. Instead of just saying “I need more hours” I can now say “this is what I can do for our clients if I had more hours.”
We’ll see how our meeting goes. There are always limitations out of my control, especially working for a non-profit. If there isn’t any money available to make me full time then this obviously can’t happen. I plan to pitch my part and hope for the best!
Have you ever asked for a raise? What did you do to prepare?
This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.