Men and women often think they can go in and say, “I have a spouse and kids to support,” or “my mom is sick.” Playing the victim is so tiring. It makes your boss sigh when they see you in the hall. Don’t play the victim!
Before you go in, get some numbers. What do people who have your job make at other companies? What value do you bring to the table? How much money have you made the company? Have that information in hand. Have specifics. You should have a true sense of what your value is within a window of $50,000. That will help you articulate it, and believe it.
Don’t undermine your value at the negotiation table. Watch what you say right when you walk in the door. Don’t say, “I’m really sorry, I hope this isn’t a bad time.” Or, “I know this must be a tough time for the company.” Hem, haw. Hem, haw. You may as well just say, “Hey, what I’m about to ask you for, don’t give it to me.”
The final thing is that it really doesn’t matter if they like you. When I was trying to get my raise from MSNBC, they hated me. Oh my god, I had to squeeze it out of them. There were some tough conversations. Being respected is far more important than being liked. That doesn’t mean you go in there and be a beast and be hideous. But it’s not a popularity contest. It’s about the money. Go get it.