I know. It’s unfortunate.
The minute you sign up for a job, your market value drops. You are given benefits, a retirement plan, and a bank of PTO days that are suddenly part of a total compensation package. If you stay at your job long enough, your employer will factor in your ‘comfort level’ as part of your annual compensation package, too.
And know this: your salary falls behind with each year you stay employed. Your company might love you but they can’t recognize your contributions with a merit increase AND keep up with the cost of living in any meaningful way.
The best way to get a raise? Get another job. Or start looking at your compensation package differently. Can you keep your job and cut back on stupid expenses? Can you start to exploit other perks — work from home, shift your hours, attend classes — in order to find greater value in your paycheck? Can you find viable ways to cut expenses for your company and make the case that you deserve a commission on those savings?
I hate the idea of telling people to quit. The grass isn’t always greener. But if you want to make more cash, the direct path to a big raise is through another employer.