Jon wrote yesterday to share a success story of personal finance principles in action. Here’s a slightly modified version of his e-mail.

I’ve been a reading personal finance blogs for some time now, and one thing I’ve seen repeated over and over is: if you are looking for a raise, the easiest thing to do is to ask for one. I was skeptical of this advice until this last week when I made it work for me.

I work for a small tech firm that specializes in phone support, and I was hired for the job right out of college. I needed money, and they offered me a job, so I didn’t end up shopping around much. As a direct result of this, I was given low pay, and no special responsibilities.

Naturally, I kept shopping around until an opportunity arose for me to take a job for better pay with much more room for advancement. At first I was giddy, until I realized that this job’s raise would come with a much longer commute, which would reduce the raise to $10 a week! It would also require time away from my wife traveling.

I resolved to not take the position if I could convince my current employer to make up the difference.

When I started working for my company, it was painfully obvious that there was no training structure in place, nor had there been one for some time. The training materials that existed were either outdated, technical and proprietary beyond use, irrelevant to the job, or some combination of the three. Since being hired, I had been taking notes. I combined these into a backbone table of contents for a proper training manual, and then wrote a sample chapter.

I scheduled a meeting with the person in charge of our department and presented the letter from the other company, and explained that a better offer had been made. I then detailed that I would like a raise and additional responsibilities, and handed him my training material proposal, and offered to take on some scheduling duties as the person who was currently doing that needed some relief.

My supervisor scheduled me for a review that afternoon, and granted my half of my raise now, half when I complete the manual, and agreed to work out a way for me to take additional responsibilities. He also told me that a new position had just been created for a co-worker, and that it might be something I was suited for down the road.

It took me probably three hours to write the training manual. But because of that small effort, I was able to garner myself a 11% raise three months into the job! All it took was a little backbone and a little ambition.

I love reader success stories. It’s wonderful to hear how other people are able to take action to improve their financial situation and their lives!

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