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5 Ways to Talk to Your Boss — So You Can Be Happier at Work

A more prestigious title has a future payoff, especially if you decide to switch jobs. A prospective employer will be impressed by it, and you may have an easier time landing a higher salary.

If you can't move up, offer to work on something not in your current day-to-day. Is there a special company initiative or a project no one wants to take on? Perhaps there's a job-share available that would allow you to work for another department for a few months. If there's an employee out on leave, maybe you can fill that job in the interim.

Explain how your new responsibilities will help the company. You'll be able to bring a fresh perspective, produce creative ideas or provide experienced leadership to a particular project.

3. Are there nonsalary ways you can boost my compensation?

If a raise is out of the question right now, your boss might have an easier time offering you a one-time bonus or stock options to show his or her appreciation for your contributions. Or she may give you a few extra personal days or comp time for some long hours you've put in on a project.

If you're interested in continuing your education, might your boss support your desire to go back to school for a certification or an advanced degree?

4. Can we change my work schedule?

There are a variety of possibilities: telecommuting, compressed workweeks, job sharing and part-time schedules.

Landing a dream schedule can take some convincing. Many bosses are leery of losing control if their employees aren't close at hand. You need to calm that concern and show how much more efficiently you can do your job with a less rigid workday.

Write a proposal that explains what your work schedule would be and what's in it for your employer. For example, you might opt for a reduced salary while the company keeps an experienced worker onboard who is willing to work reduced hours.

When you're telecommuting, you cut out wasted time getting to and from the office. With fewer intrusions by coworkers, you'll likely be more efficient. If you work from home or have a part-time job-sharing deal with a coworker, you will likely save the company office space and money. It's generally a good idea to agree to a trial period of a few months so you and your boss can see how the plan works out and fine-tune if necessary.

5. Can I mentor someone?

Many big corporations offer sponsorship and mentoring programs. If yours doesn't have a formal mentoring arrangement, let your boss know that you're interested in working with a junior staffer or a new hire to show him the ropes and be there to support him with advice when needed.

It's flattering and empowering to have the experience and gravitas to help a less experienced colleague.

Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.

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