Knowing how you're paid compared to what the local and regional market is paying others for doing your job is a good first step. Maybe you're already overpaid, or you're significantly underpaid. Whichever the case, you want to know before you open up a salary negotiation with your boss.
I identified a second mistake for the reporter. While employers care about you, the fact that you're expecting a new baby or purchasing a new home is not grounds for giving you an increase in salary. When asking for a raise, you need to emphasize the value that you have added to your company by doing a great job. You've saved money, awed customers, increased sales, or significantly taken time or steps out of work processes.
This post says this well - almost poetically, in fact. Michael Allenby and Ben Coe of the Artists Farm say, "If you want to generate more income, then think of how you can generate more value, not more money."
Keep these words close in your mind, if you plan to ask your employer for a pay raise any time soon.
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