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Dear Mr. Walberg: I am the property manager of a nonprofit organization. My job is to save my company as much money as possible while costs continue to go up, and keep the 151 residents happy. I manage to keep about 90 percent of the residents happy, so I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job.

My problem is that we operate on a very strict budget, and I haven't gotten a raise in two years. How do I go about asking for a raise? My personal cost of living increases just as our operating costs do. - C.R. from Texas.Dear C.R. from Texas: I have some ideas for you and all other workers with a similar problem, but I would be interested to know more about your job and your compensation. If you receive rent or utilities on an apartment as part of your compensation, and the rent or utilities have gone up in the past two years, you have received a raise in pay. But let's assume your pay is money only. I recommend the following:

- Document your job performance and value to your employer, then ask for a mutually convenient time to talk.

- If you have a written job description, review it carefully to see if you're performing your job to your employer's specifications.

- If you do not have a written job description, ask your employer for one or create a detailed description yourself and ask your employer to approve it.

- If you do not get a regular performance review once a year or more often, ask your employer to begin such a practice as soon as possible.

- Keep an up-to-date file on your job-related accomplishments, particularly those actions that are above and beyond the scope of a job description. Such a personal file is great insurance for discussing a raise during your review meeting.

Sell your need for a raise based on your performance level and value to your employer. All jobs must be accountable and measurable in terms or worth. Prove your worth and go for it.