Jordan Peterson on How To Get A Raise

Yes, it’s a lobster tie.

Yes, it’s a lobster tie.


Like many others, the message and presence of Jordan Peterson has captivated my attention. After reading his book, 12 Rules For Life, I’ve followed his YouTube lectures and podcast, eager to apply what I can to make my life one of meaning.

Are you interested in raising your salary? (Of course). Do you have an omniscient and benevolent boss? No? Most don’t either. The good news is Dr. Jordan Peterson has some thoughtful points on how to secure a raise in pay. Here are his recommendations for negotiating a raise with your employer, as taken from his October 2018 interview with Dr. Oz. 

Check out the video here:


Step 1: Prepare

Before finding time to sit down with your boss there are months of groundwork to be done leading up to the meeting. Peterson poses the following questions 

  1. Are you doing a good job? 

    • Great, keep it up.

  2. Are you documenting it? 

    • Do you have written record of your good work? Both quantitative and qualitative evidence will help you further your case here. An example of a quantitative record is sales data or calculations of increase in performance. Qualitative record would be positive comments from clients, customers, or coworkers. Quantitative data will go further in the discussion and should outweigh that of the qualitative, subjective documentation.

  3. Are you communicating the documentation? 

    • This can be done through email or paperwork updating your boss on the progress of a project or end of quarter sales data.

  4. Is your CV up to date and prepared?

    • Always keeping your curriculum vitae (CV) up to date with the work you’ve done will not only create less work in the preparation of asking for a raise, but keep current in your own mind the notable projects or opportunities you’ve completed that convey the value you bring.

  5. Are you ready to move laterally?

    • Are you open to synonymous job descriptions with another company?

  6. Are you looking for other positions (externally)?

    • Do you frequent job boards, LinkedIn, or maintain conversations with recruiters or HR representatives?

  7. Are you looking for other opportunities within the workplace (internally)?

    • Are there opportunities for expansion or collaboration with other departments of the company? By explaining the need and offering to fill it shows leadership and initiative. 

  8. How often do you talk to your boss about what you’re doing?

    • Do you provide intermitted updates with your boss and inform them as a stakeholder if your position allows for a reasonable amount of autonomy? 

  9. What are your salary goals (be specific)?

    • Do you want a 15% raise? If so, it is necessary to ask specifically for a dollar figure. 

Step 2: Ask and Negotiate

When the time of your meeting with your boss comes your documentation can be presented with your ask. The ask and the process of negotiation are one fluid process that happen all at once, perhaps over the course of multiple conversations. It’s important to note that from the moment you walk into the office, the negotiation is in process. 

JP says the following line, which is a paraphrased version of what to say. 

“Here are 6 reasons you should pay me 15% more and here are 2 not good things that will happen if you don’t”.

In the meeting you are selling your boss on your value in order for him or her to to sell your story to their boss. 

JP speaks to the importance of thinking strategically and being willing to be disagreeable. It’s also worth noting that pursuing other opportunities externally can be an ongoing process and if the conversation doesn’t result in a raise, other opportunities can be pursued. A two-week notice is a sign that you aren’t bluffing and is still part of the the negotiation process. 

I hope these tips were helpful to see written down. Best of luck on getting that raise! 

More on personality and temperamental traits on one of Jordan Peterson’s websites:

And of course, also see Jordan Peterson’s 2018 bestseller. If you haven’t already read it, take the time and read it…and then reread it. 12 Rules for Life

Reflections on The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea_web_2.jpg

Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novella, The Old Man and the Sea, is my first voluntary exposure to his work (high school literature class doesn't count). The protagonist Santiago fights against the rigors of the sea to bring back, ultimately, nothing...except the experience and the suffering. It provides a meaningful reflection on life's struggle and has piqued my interest to explore more of Hemingway's work in the coming year.

"I may not be as strong as I think," the old man said. "But I know many tricks and I have resolution."

On the coast of Cuba, Santiago is a man of resolve who discovers in his voyage on the Gulf Stream that the prized marlin was indeed too good to be true. In his desperation to make a catch, he traveled too far out to sea and was unable to transport the great fish back to the harbor. Too large for the skiff, the conquered fish is tied to the side to be pulled back to land. What would have made Santiago a small fortune and ended his "salao" (bad luck) was stolen from him in bite-sized increments from the sharks he encounters on the way back to the harbor. The story finishes with what has become an apt summary of the theme of the book.

That afternoon there was a party of tourists at the Terrace and looking down in the water saw a great long white spine with a huge tail at the end that lifted and swung with the tide while the east wind blew a heavy steady sea outside the entrance to the harbour.

"What's that?" she asked a waiter and pointed to the long backbone of the great fish that was now just garbage waiting to go out with the tide.

"Tiburon," the waiter said. "Eshark." He was meaning to explain what had happened.

"I didn't know sharks had such handsome, beautiful fully formed tails."

"I didn't either," her male companion said.

The strong irony of this ending is that of the unknown story, the misinformation, the incorrect assumption. In ignorance the tourists appreciate, while inadvertently complimenting the thieving sharks, the beauty of what could have been, what would have sold, what would have been remembered. They go on with their lives not knowing anything of Santiago's determination and grit, as it didn't amount to anything tangible.

Regretting a lack of preparation and his solitude without Manolin with him, Santiago admits to his being beaten by the sharks. He conquered what was the main aim; the prized fish, the great marlin, but the Achille's heel of the journey was the journey home.

The Old Man and the Sea is, in some ways, the antitheses to the concept of the "deus ex machina" in a plot. I first heard this used when a close friend was discussing the ending of the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The one ring has been destroyed, Mordor has fallen, but Frodo and Sam are left with no energy for the return journey. The magical eagles come and fly the characters back to their homeland where the plot resolves and the series ends.

Deus ex machina delivers the protagonist from peril in a supernatural or unexpected way that is most often a surprise that is inconsistent with the plot. Conversely to this concept, Santiago finds himself successful in his capture of the great fish but unable to transport his catch, the plot ends with a realism and the reader is left with empathy for his situation.

Punchy and realistic, The Old Man and the Sea acquaints the reader with a portrait of courage and determination in the face of the unknown.