The Non-Expert

Raises & Terror

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we explain how to get the raise you deserve using the only appropriate method for today’s terror-ific world.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: How do I get a raise?—Terry Garner

Answer: In today’s uncertain world, anxiety over asking for a raise is certainly understandable. A nation at war demands sacrifice from its citizens, and as President Bush has so capably demonstrated with his tax cuts, sometimes that sacrifice comes in the form of income redistribution to the wealthy. Without this extra money, the well-off could not afford things like spa vacations, where benefits can then trickle down to the service sector, like that $2 tip after you perform a kelp massage on the slack, mottled flesh of one of our overstressed captains of industry.

First, a word of warning. As a lower-level clerical type, an increase in your salary will naturally affect the company’s bottom line in a decidedly un-patriotic way, so, before you really go trying to negotiate a raise, you need to ask yourself: Do I love Saddam Hussein, or Do I support America’s war on terror.

If you believe your needs are greater than your country’s, and you really do intend to ask for that raise, here are the three ‘P’s’ to successful negotiations: Power, Preparation, and Phollow Through.


All negotiations are a test of power, specifically, who has more, and who is willing to use it. Unfortunately for you, your job is likely threatened by Latin American children who are grateful to be paid in scraps of lint and shiny buttons to distract them from their miserable Third-World lives, while you, you with your four-door automobiles and DVD players have the sack to ask for additional hard currency? Why does little Pepe understand his role in turning back the tide of Muslim invaders, but you insist on being in league with handmaidens of evil?

I digress.

Anyway, when it comes to power, you don’t have any. In fact, because cutting labor usually boosts a company’s stock price, and paves the way to another Aspen home for the higher-ups, you’re worth much more as an ex-employee, particularly if you’re sent packing with 5000 of your fellow ingrates/Saddam lovers.

Here’s an analogy to clarify: Two guys jostle each other in a bar and start glaring like there’s going to be a fight. Guy No. 1 weighs 250 pounds and can benchpress a Volkswagen. Guy No. 2 weighs a buck-fifteen and requires a barstool to meet eye-to-eye with Guy No. 1.

Further clarification: you are not Guy No. 1.

Imagine, though, the same scenario if Guy No. 2 had embarrassing pictures of Guy No. 1 dressed in a squirrel costume getting flagellated by Mistress Helga. Guy No. 2 is still going to get mashed into a pulp, but later, thanks to our Ashcroft Justice Department, Guy No. 2 could probably have Guy No. 1 saying goodnight to his cellmate Mohammed in Guantanamo in no time, since we all know that people who read, participate in, or even think about pornography are in league with al-Qaeda.


Prior to your meeting, procure compromising pictures of your superior. Since studies show that 65 percent of Fortune 500 executives are sexual deviants, this shouldn’t be a problem. A good detective using a telephoto lens and low-light, rapid-exposure film should be able to provide some shots of your boss strutting around in his banana hammock playing ‘where’s the choo-choo’ with the 16-year-old babysitter in no time.

Next, develop 80 8x10 glossies of each picture, making sure your boss’s face is clearly visible, and secure the negatives in a safety deposit box. While your boss is in the office, leave one of the pictures tucked underneath his car’s windshield wiper. On the back of the picture, using letters cut out from the newspaper, tell him, ‘I know where you live.’ While it may be satisfying to linger in the shadows and watch your boss blanch with fear when he first sees the picture, resist this urge, and merely know that the odds are good that he wet himself. Remember, blackmail is illegal! If you get caught.

Repeat this step over the next several days using different pictures and gradually escalating the messages’ taunt-level, using something like the following sequence: ‘Was that fun…perv?’ ‘What would your wife say…perv?’ ‘Do you want fries with that?’ ‘Does the board of directors know about this…perv?’ and finally, ‘Perv!’

When your boss starts coming into the office looking like he spent the night being chased around a pig barn by knife-wielding Thai hookers (which he may have been, for all you know), it’s time to change tactics. Keep placing the pictures daily, but now, include messages like, ‘(Insert name) sure is loyal, and would never do anything to betray your trust.’ or ‘Wouldn’t you feel better if you gave your (insert job title here) a $3000-a-year raise?’

Phollow Through

At this stage, it’s likely your boss will approach you and magically offer that extra three large. Don’t say yes right away! The next day, when he asks if you’ve decided yet, simply say, ‘No,’ and wave him away with a flicking motion. Soon you’ll have him avoiding you altogether, and while you won’t have your raise (yet), neither will you have any work to do. After a week-or-so of no contact, pop your head into his office and say, ‘You know, I guess I will take that extra $5000,’ and I guarantee he’ll roll over faster than a Suzuki Sidekick going around a hairpin turn in a 50 MPH crosswind. Don’t get greedy, though. Smart fishermen don’t take all the fish out of the lake in one day, do they?

Raise in hand, work eliminated, your life will be eased and enhanced, and spared the daily torment of being confronted with his secret shame, your boss will begin to get back to his capitalist, underling-crushing ways. But you, you will be immune because just as the puppy begins to associate peeing on the carpet with a boot to the ribs, your boss will connect addressing you with anything besides, ‘We’ve added another zero to your paycheck,’ to his collection of anatomically-correct inflatable girlfriends.

If you’re saying to yourself, this isn’t going to work because my boss is female, well, you’re a liar, because everyone knows that women (particularly Hillary Clinton and her ilk) are not fit for leadership.


TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner