Reading Sunday’s business section of the Denver Post, I came across an article written by The Associated Press titled: “Asking for a Raise? Do the Research and Build a Case”.

Got me thinking…

If you go on Amazon, you will find over fifty books written on the subject – asking for a raise. There are a dozen books called: How to Ask for a Raise. Others are called: How to Negotiate the Salary You Deserve, How to Ask for a Raise Without Getting Fired. And there is even a book called: How to Ask for a Raise After Taking a Two-Hour Lunch.

Bottom line – Never hire anyone who owns a copy of one of these books. Instead, try these book titles: 10 Ways to Be More Valuable or Work Hard and You Shall be Rewarded.

I get the privilege to speak to thousands of high school students each year. I have been saying something in my speeches to youth for over twenty years. I ask them to get a dictionary and look up the word entitlement. For years I told kids to rip out that page in the dictionary. But after getting letters from teachers and librarians asking me not to inspire kids to destroy school property, I have toned down my request. Put a black magic marker through the word entitlement. Delete this word from your vocabulary.

I tell our youth, entitlement is a cancer that will destroy your life and your career. Everything in life is earned. Everything! Even a pay raise.

I spent the week calling many of my friends that own companies or manage employees. I asked them a simple question – How would you react if one of your employees came to you and asked for a raise?

I could write a book on all the responses. But in summary, here is what I learned. Most employers and managers believe that a work pay raise should be earned and not asked for. And many said that when someone asks for a raise, it’s usually an indicator that, either, the employee feels entitled or they don’t have a good boss that recognizes and rewards their talent.

Great managers and great bosses are always communicating how to compensate and reward their top work force. If you are not getting offered a raise, then you are probably not part of your organization’s top work force. Sounds harsh, but it is true.

I’ve owned my own company for ten years. And I was the CEO of two companies for nearly ten years before I owned my own company. Of the hundreds of people that I’ve hired in my career, my best employees, best teammates, best managers, best executives, best leaders have never asked for a raise. They all earned their raises.

There is always the exception. I’ve had a husband of one of my past employees call me and ask if his wife could get a raise. What I’ve learned from my mentors – if you ask for something in life, chances are you probably don’t deserve it. Actions always speak louder than words.

If you work hard, bring value to an organization, have an impeccable attitude and consistently go above and beyond your responsibilities at work, then your boss will look for ways to reward you. If he or she does not, then the writing is on the wall.

Here’s the rub: People don’t quit jobs. They fire their boss.

So, stop reading books on how to ask for a raise. Erase the word entitlement from your vocabulary. Start going to work with a work ethic, attitude and aptitude that is like no other. And if your boss doesn’t recognize the value you bring to their organization-find one that does.