This Is How You Celebrate a Raise Without Offending Anyone

a happy women in a black dress
Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Create & Cultivate is an online community and creative conference that serves up serious boss-piration (like MyDomaine’s own co-founders, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr) to female entrepreneurs looking to revolutionize the digital landscape. So who better to tap for intel about the practices of successful women than Create & Cultivate’s editorial director, Arianna Schioldager?

Celebrating a raise is not like celebrating your birthday—you can’t invite everyone to the party. But after months—years, even—of hard work, how do you give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back without making others feel less than stellar about their own work? Promotions at work are public knowledge, and most co-workers will be happy for your deserved success. However, raises, bonuses, and the like, are often not shared for understandable reasons.

Here’s how to celebrate your well-deserved success without bumming out the person typing away next to you at work.

Use Discretion

There are people in your life who will always be happy for you, but total transparency when it comes to talking money with co-workers is tricky. It’s also still considered taboo in most workplaces. There are parity arguments to be made for salary transparency, but things can get awkward pretty fast when co-workers find out you’re making more than them. Even if it is deserved, you don’t want to become the pariah of the coffee pot talk.

If there is someone in your office with whom you engage in reciprocal sharing, meaning you share your salaries with each other, then by all means share! Research has shown that transparency among female co-workers helps in salary negotiation.

However, you don’t want your salary to become the point of reference for raise meetings. (Nor should anyone use, "Well, I know that Jenny makes X,” as an argument for a pay increase.) Though perfectly legal, it may cause your boss to think you’re unprofessional and could affect future raises. There are subtle differences that contribute to pay variances, unseen by co-workers but acknowledged by bosses. 

If you decide to share, it’s like Pandora’s box: That information is out there and alive. There’s no telling who will find out or what damage it might do, and, ultimately, your boss is the one who has to deal with the aftermath.

Earning It by Joann S. Lublin
Joann S. Lublin Earning It $5

Don't Share on Social

Sharing is caring—most of the time. If you and your closest head out to dinner and drinks to toast your successes, consider resisting the urge to share on social. Most of your co-workers, and likely your boss, follow you. While you should be able to revel in your raise, remember there are polite ways to do so.

If you do want to share, consider a post that toasts to all the successful women in your life. Post a specific honor or milestone you reached at work that’s not tied to a dollar sign. You should be proud of your hard work but keep in mind whose eyes are on your social.

Her Brilliant Career by Rachel Cooke
Rachel Cooke Her Brilliant Career $10

Treat Yourself

But only once (okay, twice). You deserve to have a little fiscal fun, but you don’t want to celebrate your raise by upgrading your life. In fact, financial advisors agree that it is a mistake to upgrade as your salary increases. The best way to celebrate your raise is by banking on your future.

That means saving up for bigger life purchases. The average pay raise in both 2014 and 2015 was 3%, and 2016 is following suit. You may not be able to purchase a home by 30, but you definitely won’t be looking into mortgage options if your rent increases every time you are rewarded at work. Be smart. Be save-savvy. Get that bag you’re eyeing, and then plan on contributing more to your 401(k).

Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano
Mireille Guiliano Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire $10

Stop hitting snooze. Here are the 16 Best Ways to Wake Up.

Related Stories