A reader writes:
I work in the home building industry and well, you know what's going on in that market right now! The admin assistant was let go because my company can't afford to pay her anymore. I am a very efficient worker and so I am now doing my jobs (I already wear many hats in the company -- AP/AR clerk, operations assistant, website management, and Green EnergyKey Program Director) as well as hers!
They told me there is no guarantee that they will be able to keep me, although we are closing a good number of houses lately and this directly affects my probability of staying. I feel that now is the time for a raise if there ever was one. I am very stressed and working much faster than usual, to the point of being in a frenzy at times. There is so much to do that it doesn't all get done. Can I and should I ask for a raise?
Probably not. Your company is laying people off and already told you that they might have to lay you off too. They're looking for ways to cut costs, not increase them. Unfortunately, they reality of the job market right now is that so many people are out of work that they could probably hire someone for less than what they're paying you to do everything you're doing. (Whether they would be able to keep that person once the market picks up is a different question.)
There's an argument to be made that there's no harm in asking, but there actually is a risk, no matter how small, that they might be frustrated that you don't understand the financial situation they're in, and that that could make them more inclined to add you to their layoff list. I'm not saying that's fair or reasonable, but I don't want to advise you to do something that could jeopardize your job in this economy. This is just a really bad time, and my general advice is that those of us with jobs should hunker down and ride it out.
Anyone have a different opinion?