April 24, 2024

How to Get a Raise Right Now

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Get the proven strategies your boss or HR don't want you to know that are proven to work (even with budget cuts, restructuring, and if you've been told "no")
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If you want a raise, this episode is for you. Performance review cycles recently wrapped for many companies in the Pharma/Biotech space. If you received the standard merit increase, or maybe the promotion you expected didn’t happen, then I’m going to tell you how to get a raise right now so you can get paid more for your time and expertise.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to get a 10%+ salary increase right now (it’s not what you think)
  • The subtle ways you’re demoting your own salary and what to do instead
  • A list of simple actions you can take today to start getting paid more

Mentioned in this episode:


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
  • Looking for private 1-1 career and leadership coaching? Learn more and schedule a consultation
  • Want insider tips, access to new trainings, behind the podcast details and first-to-know information from Melissa? Join the free VIP Email Insiders


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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast for women in Pharma and Biotech with me, Melissa Lawrence. I am a certified career and leadership coach with a master’s in Organizational Psychology who has worked in talent and learning development in biotech to large pharma, from non-clinical to commercial. I help women in pharma and biotech create a career worthy of them. Whether you want to get clear on what you want, get a new job, get promoted, or be effective as a leader at any level, this is the place for you. Every week, you will get practical career strategies and mindset shifts to help you overcome the problems you experience at work so you can reach your goals feeling better than ever. Your up level begins now. 

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I’m so happy to be with you here today. Today, we’re going to talk about how you can give yourself a salary increase right now. We just finished the performance review cycle where you may have received your merit increase and bonus. That was very common in the industry recently. The industry standard for a merit increase is in the 2-4% range, and that barely covers cost of living, especially now since COVID costs of services and goods have increased.

So you might be feeling frustrated, maybe Maybe you’re not feeling valued. Maybe you’re even ticked off. And after all the work you did the last year, that your increase is just a few dollars more a paycheck. So let’s talk about a way that you can give yourself a raise right now that is 100% in your control and not reliant on your boss, the budget, or anything else. You don’t have to wait until you get a promotion or your next performance review. Are you ready? All you have to do is be more effective at work and put in less hours at your current job. I know. I know. I can literally feel your eyes rolling. Like, come on, Melissa. But hear me out. A lot of the clients I work with tend to work more than they want to and spend time on things that make their work harder and need more of their time and attention. So if you get your job done in less hours and don’t spend as much time on things that are preventing you from optimizing your productivity, you will literally get paid more. Now, I’m going to break down all the things that you may be spending time on that you can cut and waste to optimize your time in just a couple of minutes, but let’s do some math.

Let’s say that you make 150K a year and you work 50 hours a week. If you make the same 150K a year and you only work 40 hours a week, that is an increase in pay and quality of life. Now, let’s break this math down more. Let’s assume that you are a salaried employee. You get paid the same amount no matter how many hours you work. If you are working more than you need to, you are literally deciding to pay yourself less. That 150K is about $2,885 per week. If you work 40 a week, if we break that down to an hourly wage, it’s $72 an hour. Now, if you work 50 hours a week, that is $57.70 an hour. So even just 10 extra hours a week and you’re getting paid $14.30 less an hour for every hour you work. Now, if you’re working 60 hours a week, that is $48 an hour. So that’s almost another $10 less. It’s every hour that you work. If you worked just 40 hours a week, if you were able to get everything done in 40 hours a week, you would be getting paid almost $24 more for every hour that you work compared to if you’re working 60 hours a week.

It’s about $10 less, so $14 if you’re working 50 hours a week. So you’re literally getting paid more per hour when you are more effective and efficient in the way that you get things done. And you are literally getting paid less per hour when you put in extra hours that you don’t need to. So that 40 hours a week at 150K compared to 60 hours a week with the same 150K, that’s 8 % in salary increase for just working 40 hours a week. And then let’s say you have that 2 to 3 % that you got as your standard merit increase. And then let’s say you also optimized the way that you work and got that 8 % salary increase that you gave yourself by being more effective and working less. That is a 10 % annual increase. I bet you would be happy with that. Now, and this is for someone that is making 150K a year. You may be making 200K, 250K a year, 300K a year or more. And you can do the math on that to say, okay, if I’m working 40 hours a week, what would my hourly rate be compared to what I might be working now, 42 hours, 45 hours, 50 hours, 60 hours or more.

You can literally see the value of each hour of your work and you can cut down those unnecessary hours to get more for each hour that you work because your time is so valuable. This is a way that you can work less, have more time for your family, take up a hobby. A lot of my clients have hobbies that either they have forgotten they used to do or they’re not able to give enough time to, or maybe they just haven’t had time to have a hobby for a long time until they don’t even know what their hobby would be if they had time for a hobby, right? You could have the time to figure that out. More time, more activity, more life for you, and getting paid more per hour. So let’s talk about the ways that you can save time and optimize each hour at work. When you are doom-scrolling LinkedIn because you’re frustrated and thinking now is the time that you’re finally going to make a change in your career, but then you don’t actually do anything that is wasted time. Instead, if now is the time, decide it and do it.

No back and forth. When you’re unhappy and you’re scrolling on Instagram When you’re looking at blogs, when you’re scrolling to see what your alumni is doing or what is happening at a company you might want to go work for, but you’re just doing it because you’re unhappy and you’re frustrated and then you’re just going back to work, that’s time that you could have been more productive and effective and got done with work sooner. So you don’t feel like you’re working all the time or working more than you need to. Checking your email at night is also another way that you’re working for free a lot of the time. You might think that you need to check your email, that you need to be online during off hours so that you can stay caught up or it helps you with your next day. But that is just conditioning from working in the pharma biotech industry, from working in environments that are very demanding, where there’s this on culture, especially if you work for a company that has a 24/7 shift schedule or has people from other countries that you are working with and they’re maybe online later than you are, earlier than you are, you might feel compelled to be available.

But it’s not required that you’re available all the time, and it’s a habit you can break if you want to. Now, if you’re afraid to ask for help because you’re worried what people will think of you, and so you put in more hours and don’t do what you had actually planned for evening, that is another way that you’re causing yourself to work more. If you’re able to ask for help and overcome those blocks or obstacles to getting the help that you need, that is a way that you can be more efficient. When you don’t want to ask, it’s a problem question because you’re worried what people are going to think about you, and so you do a lot of unnecessary research instead of getting the answer as quickly as possible. This makes you less productive, it makes you less collaborative, and it makes work harder. Last week, I talked about not wanting to ask for help. So if you resonate with that, check out that episode to get a deep dive. When you delay making a decision about what you want in your career because you’re worried you’ll make the wrong choice, all that overthinking and back and forth is wasting time.

When you’re unhappy in your career, you are, of course, delivering. I do not doubt that. But you’re producing lower quality work at a slower pace. When you have the same problems at work and you don’t do anything to solve them, whether it’s improving your community Your communication skills, your stakeholder management, or building your confidence to advance your career, all of that costs you time and creates repeat problems. You have all of that stress in the background, and that makes you distracted. And this is demoting your salary. Now, of course, you’re still delivering and meeting your timelines. I know that you always do. But if you were more productive and stressed less because you weren’t dealing with the issues that you’re dealing with, you’ll be getting paid the same amount for less hours of work. Your free time would be spent doing whatever the heck you want, and you’d have more free time than you’d know what to do with. And that is giving you a salary increase right now. Believe me, my clients tell me this all the time. They end up having so much more time with their family for the things that they are sacrificing when we begin working together, whether it’s hobbies, family, friends, personal life, being able to go to the gym, learn a new language, whatever it is that they want to do, they have time for all of those things.

They become more effective and productive. And that is a domino that advances your career and changes your opportunities. So then what happens is you end up getting promotions more quickly. You end up making more money getting more than 150K or whatever your salary is right now. You add to that in addition to the increase in the salary rates you’re giving yourself by being more productive. So if you want to make more money right now, if you want to advance your career more quickly, figure out what you want, make some decisions, ask for help, solve the pain points that are making work harder than it needs to be. Don’t leave any money on the table. Make the changes that are in your control and can help you make work easier. Be more productive, get more done in less hours, and nothing more. And then you’ll give yourself a raise right now. Now, if you want to take one small step today, if you’re just thinking, I can’t control these timelines. There’s too much on my plate. I don’t even know where I would start to create more time for myself. Then I want to just give you some ideas of things that you can do that will save you time.

Think about one problem that you can solve right now. Maybe it’s something that if you solve it right now, it’s just instead of delaying it or waiting for a meeting, it’s going to put more time on your calendar. A decision you can make if you’re going back and forth on what to do, if you want to do something, what your next path is, get some help with that. Something that you can delegate or defer. Think about things that you could give to someone else to do that you could delegate. Maybe it’s part of their development, something you can defer that you can negotiate timelines on. Maybe there’s something you can delete altogether that you don’t even need to do, that it’s more of a nice to have. Think of the things that you could just ask and get an answer on instead of sitting on it or trying to figure it out on your own. Just come up with one thing that you can do today to save time right now. And you can make this really fun. You can tally up all of the time that you’re saving and then do the math. Every week, you can see the raise that you’re giving yourself.

You can show yourself how your hourly rate is changing every week, every month, and how it’s all in your control. And then watch as the next promotion happens faster and you start enjoying your job more and your life more because of the time that you’re saving as a ripple effect. All right, I hope this gave you some food first thoughts, some things to marinate on and some action to take so you can give yourself a raise right now. Have an amazing week. I will talk to you soon.

Hey, the episode is over, but I want to let you in on a secret. There are four hidden ways you can use to advance your career as a woman in Pharma or Biotech that your boss or HR doesn’t want you to know about. These are strategies that are proven to work even after you’ve been told no. Save yourself so much time and advance your career on your terms by downloading the strategies at my website, www.yourworthycareer.com/hidden. They’re completely free. Go get them now.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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