Want a raise? Here are tips from former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office hostage negotiator

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The cost of cars, homes, and groceries are rising fast.

“What’s the last time you asked for a raise,” Action News Jax Ben Becker asked preschool teacher Freida McMichael.

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“Oh my goodness, it’s been a while,” McMichael said.

According to, just 37 percent of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer -- but making more money is more important than ever.

The U.S. Department of Labor say the Consumer Price Index surged 6.2% in October -- the biggest gain in more than 30 years, thanks to supply chain issues and labor shortages related to the pandemic.

Action News Jax wants to help you and people like McMichael get more moolah -- in a unique way.

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“We’ve talked to a hostage negotiator who is giving advice on how to get a raise,” Becker told McMichael.

“Are you messing with me?” McMichael said, laughing.

“No,” Becker said.

“Lonnie, it’s not life and death, but it might feel like it,” Becker asked Ret. Sgt. Lonnie Mills.

“Yeah for some people,” Mills said.

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Mills, a former hostage negotiator for ten years with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said there are similarities between high-stakes, life-or-death negotiations and business -- including establishing value.

“You can’t go in there with your hat in your hand,” Mills said. “You have to have a list of what I’ve started doing, what I am doing now, all the value and all the extra projects and extra things I have took on.”

If your boss is pushing back on a raise, there are a number of tactics you can take by asking:

  • What’s the biggest hurdle to overcome?
  • When will they have the budget?
  • How can I help justify the raise?

Mills also advised asking to set up a meeting in three months to go over how to improve your situation to add value to the company.

According to Bankrate, 56 percent of Americans who are working full or part-time say they have not received a raise or found a better-paying job over the past 12 months. That’s up from 50 percent in 2019 before the pandemic when inflation and unemployment was low.

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“How many raises have you gotten?” Becker asked Christina Petoskey, who works in a jewelry store.

“Not enough,” Petoskey said.

But Petoskey wasn’t worried about asking for a raise and striking gold.

You didn’t think ‘Wow! How am I going to do this?’” Becker said.

“Nope,” Petoskey said.

Remember you can also ask for more vacation time or a flexible schedule as well.

The bottom line: Mills recommends going into your boss’ office to prove a point like an attorney in a courtroom, with as much information as possible. You’ll have a better chance of getting them to see things your way.

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