How to ask for a raise as a millennial

Dear millennials. Ask for a raise. Every single year.

MICHAEL HOBBES: The last piece of advice for millennials I'll give is: Resist any attempts to make this about your choices rather than your options.

We get blamed for every single thing that happens to us, that when we live far away from work it's "because we want to be suburbanites," and when we job hop to get higher wages it's "because we're flighty," and when we live with our parents because we have to, because the rent is too high, it's "because we're lazy and we just want to play video games all day."

Next time anyone brings up anything about your choices, tell them about how your options have changed. Our options are objectively much more difficult now than they were for our parents. Look up any statistic about wages, about the prices of housing, healthcare and education, about what kinds of jobs are available, and it is objectively worse now. It is not your fault. It is the fault of the people who are not interested enough to find out how things have actually changed in this country.

I think it's important to have a reality check that most humans want a level of security and most humans want prosperity for themselves and their families. And so when we say things like, "Millennials don't want to work," or "Millennials want to move jobs every couple years," what we're oftentimes expressing is that millennials are working in an economy where they have to. There's all kinds of economic data showing that if you want a raise the best way to do that is to switch jobs. So for a lot of us that are paying off our student debts and paying way too much in rent, we need to move jobs.

You don't have to justify your life to get a raise. If your company is employing you they are making money off of you, and you are entitled to some percentage of that money. If bosses say they can't afford you, then threaten to leave—or leave! I don't see any reason – I think it's very important to keep in mind that your company is fundamentally not loyal to you even if the people are nice and even if your boss is great; your company, the minute they need to let you go, they will let you go. And it's time for you to have the same relationship to them.

So, frankly, you do not have to tell your boss about your student loans, you do not have to tell your boss about your high rent, you should go into your boss's office every year and tell him you should get paid more, because you deserve it, and he is making money off of you and you deserve a huge chunk of that. So I don't think we should fall into the trap of trying to use our poverty to get more money out of our companies; I think we need to hold them accountable to the fact that they are making money off of our labor and we are entitled to a percentage of it.

So we often times talk about economic circumstances as if they are the preferences of millennials when actually they are the necessity of millennials.

So I think if you want to retain millennial workers, treat them as people. Consider that they are the same as people in their 40s and 50s; they want a decent life, they want a pension, they want pay, they want to feel like they have meaning in their lives. And give them that. I mean we don't – I don't think there's any magic to having millennial employees. I think don't hire them as contractors – recognize their unions and pay them decently, and then they won't leave your company. It's not that hard.

  • Millennials objectively have it harder than past generations. Wages are stagnant while housing, healthcare, and education costs soar.
  • Ask for a raise every year. Hobbes frames it like this: "If your company is employing you they are making money off of you, and you are entitled to some percentage of that money."
  • Advice for millennials: Don't plead poverty to get a raise. State your value, or job hop to a company that will pay you more.

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