By Gissell Rodriguez • May 05, 2019•Careers, Nonprofits and the Public Interest
Hi Ms. JD!
Have you ever had to ask your boss for a raise? I found myself in that situation during my second year of work. As is customary in our office, I met with my boss for my year end evaluation. I was told I had done an excellent job and was given an end of year bonus. I was excited but forgot to inquire about an hourly raise. I followed up with my office manager and was told I would not be receiving an hourly raise because I had been given a year-end bonus.
I was grateful for the bonus but did not understand why I was not given an hourly raise. That specific year my responsibilities had increased dramatically. I went from doing minor administrative tasks, drafting complaints, conducting intakes and translating to managing service of process for the firm, training incoming paralegals and incoming attorneys and drafting motions. I was also sent to different mediations and court hearings to translate, verify translations taking place and continued to handle administrative tasks, draft complaints and conduct intakes.
I requested a meeting with my employer. I was nervous because asking for a raise was not something I had done before. But, I was also frustrated that I put in so much of my time and effort into the new responsibilities I had been assigned. I was not receiving more pay for the increased responsibilities I had been given. I spoke with my employer and laid out the reasons he should reconsider his hourly pay for me. He heard my plea, we dialogued and he told me he would have a decision for me later that week.
I was called into his office a few days later and he decided to increase my hourly rate. He even assigned some of the administrative tasks I was handling to an incoming secretary. He wanted to alleviate some of the pressure I mentioned I had been feeling. I was pleasantly surprised by the result. I had questioned whether or not I should ask for more pay. I even talked to my mom about it, who told me not to question the status quo. But, I knew that if I did not fight for the work I was doing, no one else would. I also knew I would be unhappy and dissatisfied because I had not attempted to address something that was bothering me. I am glad I did.
The opportunity to advocate for myself, showed me that I should not be afraid to speak my mind. I was fortunate that the result was in my favor. The one thing that kept playing in my mind as I went through this process was: “If I cannot advocate for myself, how can I advocate for others?”. Advocating on behalf of others is what I long to do with my legal career. That was a perfect opportunity and I am proud I rose to the occasion.