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jobspot Negotiating a pay rise

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Conventional wisdom suggests one should ask for a pay rise when a project has gone well and one is basking in well-earned praise.

But this is usually when one least feels the need for more money.When you have spent a morning on site explaining to a grim-faced client that cutting the electricity supply to the nearby children's hospital is the kind of hazard to be expected in construction, and returned to the office to find the parents ' lawyers and a few tabloid reporters have taken your number from the signboard - that's when you want a pay rise.

The resignation of a number of colleagues offers an excellent opening, so long as you are not the only reason they quit. Accusations that this is exploitative may be silenced by reference to the increased responsibility inevitably heading your way, and by thinly-veiled threats to join the exodus. The rats who left the sinking ship survived.

Bear in mind the last recession: from now on loyalty will be rewarded only by the hopelessly sentimental, who will be the first to go under.

Leaving the jobs pages and the latest earnings survey lying around (on someone else's desk, obviously), with all the most implausibly lucrative contract positions highlighted, is still good groundwork. In the interview itself do not compare yourself with anyone who is any good, there is no need; there is always a duffer you can victimise. If talk of your valuable client relationships, immense talent and invaluable experience raises embarrassed giggles, you are entitled to make your threats explicit. The last resort is jibes about rubbish design and incompetent feebidding, but make sure you have copies of everything you need for your portfolio because this is the equivalent of telling your girlfriend that she is not really your type anyway.

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