Personal Development

When to talk to your boss about a career change

Recently I have spoken to our country GM for an employee who came to him to ask for a pay raise. The employee went intending to demand instead of asking and discussing. While this was the third employee with the same approach, the GM asked me what he could do to explain to all people that changes are possible politely but not in the range they demanded. After spending thirty minutes with him, to hear what he had to say and understand the root cause of this demand, I have turned to the employees to speak to them and get the other side’s point of view. There was no doubt that the other side was as described by the GM. Direct and rude, with no understanding of how business works and what to do to get a raise in a polite and discussion way. They wanted it because the senior leader who did not give them in the last six years was leaving the company. And as for them, they mostly needed appreciation in the form of money. What got wrong is that shout knowing the GM approach toward people, these same employees have thought about going hard on him and trying to get more money because they were now seen as master experts in their areas of responsibility. While this behavior was against the company’s widely communicated values, I have had to explain to them that even if they quit, we will not break down and pay a sum in the way they have demanded. This was more like a deviation than a regular discussion. One of them directly gave her resignation, while the others returned after two days to ask what they could do to get the raise without leaving the company.

After these people came up with a reasonable question, I invested a couple of hours in understanding the real cause after the pay raise demand and then gave them my opinion in this case.

And my opinion was built on experience developed with more than twenty years of collaborating with people and some great coaching from a person who has taught many leaders how to function as leaders for their teams.

Sure, we still work together, but now I, the GM, and the people from our team have a clear understanding and vision of what they have to achieve and how we will compensate for the effort.

Many negotiations fail because we just go to our boss with the wrong intention of asking for something instead of selling something. To get the needed change from your side, you will have to focus on what else you will offer. You do not get anything Just because you think you deserve it. For what you do now, you have a negotiated and, in many cases, annually increased salary. But if you want to get more, you need to offer more. Here are the three cases that are most common if you’re going to have some change and need to talk to your boss

You want more responsibility

As much as this one can be seen as irrelevant by many who think “I have enough responsibilities,” it is the most basic one. According to time-analysis research from Gallup, back in 2020, we lost forty-six percent of our productive time in unproductive tasks and meetings. Many people live with that, and many organizations struggle with the same thing. While people say they are overwhelmed with work, organizations search for ways to optimize the processes and increase productivity. The good thing about all this is that many people are not ready to stand up and ask for more to be done. Instead, go to your boss and ask for more responsibilities. You will mark yourself as someone more organized, responsible, driven, and at the same time engaged with the cycle of adding more value to the company. When asking for more responsibilities, the only thing you should consider is the number of new things you can handle. Plan and be specific when talking to your boss. That will show them that you are not only a responsible person but also someone who can manage his time well.

You want to add more value

Often people miss this opportunity because of the thought that more responsibility means more value. The two are quite different and need to be set up as expectations. When wanting to add more value, the person does not need to have more responsibilities. Starting this type of conversation shows your boss that you think of a way of perfecting processes and making them more effective and efficient. This type of conversation is typically the expert conversation. People starting it show that they want to develop on an expert level and help others with expertise and better practices and processes. If you are that type of person, the talk about the value must be the one you will have to start. But to avoid or minimize mistakes, this conversation should include only improvements ideas and plans seen through your eyes. Whether there is an issue with your compensation package, they talk about adding value is not the place or time to start this topic. But talking to your boss on the adding more value topic creates space for growth and re-positions you as an expert and driver of the improvement

You want a promotion

The third type of conversation to start with your boss is about changing levels or talking about promotion. Getting to this conversation means being ready to explain how you can continue to add value to the company’s success through others. Many people start this conversation with the intent of getting a salary increase. And almost any of them fails. Talking about promotion is a tuff conversation because you need to show that your mindset has changed. Often these conversations fail because people come to ask for an upgrade with the expert’s mindset. As much as someone desires to be promoted, the much this person needs to understand that what has worked for him yesterday or today will not work tomorrow in a role on a new level. Starting the promotion conversation shifts you in your boss’s mind to a new group of people who create change by using the team’s talents.

Why not talk about money directly

The money talk is often used when people see that they are unique in their roles and responsibilities. This generates some courage and gives them the strength to “demand” a raise. While this can work once eventually, this person is the one that the manager or the boss will not trust anymore. Starting the money talk directly makes the manager or the boss think about how long it will be until the following similar conversation and how much they can rely on that person. I do not say that you have to skip this part.

On the contrary, money is a needed resource for everyone in today’s world. But the money talk should evolve as a topic from the previous three conversations. It should be included as part of the negotiating process and connected to the type of value you want to add and the impact this value will have o the process, people, and company goals and achievements. Then and only then the talk about money with the manager or the boss makes sense.


The talks you may start with your boss depending on the type and impact you want to make. As prepared for each of them, you are, the more successful the talk will be. For each conversation, there is a different type of preparation. Following a plan and preparing for the discussion can grant success or lead you again to the starting point.


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