How High Gas Prices Can Help You

Use gas prices to negotiate a raise, get in shape, or mend family relationships.

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Andrew G.R.
With sustainability issues and astronomical gas prices dominating the evening news, now is the perfect time to take these unfortunate circumstances and attempt to use them to your benefit.

Ask for a Raise. The cost of living is rising dramatically, but rather than pay people accordingly, most companies are tightening their belts. Even if the organization denies your request, you've accomplished two very important things. First, you've laid the groundwork for a salary bump later in the year. Second, you'll feel better that you asked and were rejected. It's better than not asking at all. (Never make a threat, but don't forget that hiring new staff is an expense, one your company might not want to incur at this time.)

If the tightwads won't increase your pay, here's the perfect opportunity to lobby for benefits that are not only good for you but serve the greater good of the environment. Since gas is so expensive, perhaps, out of the kindness of your heart, you can generously offer to work from home one day a week.

Ride your bike. No one wants to show up to work a stinky, sweaty mess. But now is the time to evaluate how you get to work (route and mode) and whether a change is plausible. If you work 30-plus miles from home and have to navigate over a heavily trafficked bridge up a mountain, then walking or biking to work might not be an option. Fair enough. However, millions of Americans work mere miles from home. Exercising your way to work is a triple win: You'll save money, help the environment, and enjoy the benefits of a physically fit lifestyle.

Carpool. Shaving away autonomy does not appeal to most. And I completely understand that sharing your commute with an annoying coworker or nosy neighbor is unappealing. Well how about carpooling with a family member? Most of us live in close proximity to relatives. Why not share a ride? It's a great way to catch up and even breathe new life into a strained or stalled relationship.

Let's be honest: Your company is probably a big, fat hypocrite. It says that it cares about its employees and then offers the cheapest healthcare plan known to man. The company says it wants you to "think outside the box" but then proceeds to reprimand you for taking risks. It boasts that it's going green and thinks it's done its part when it places recycling receptacles in the lunchroom.

Force the boss to put her money where her mouth is. Perhaps I'm desperate for a silver lining during this oil crisis. The reality is—a good negotiator can see every approach. So why not play the "gas card" angle?

It's often said that it's important to roll with the times. Shouldn't your employer have to also? Can you think of any other ways to use this bad situation to your advantage at work?

After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouragednot only about his own career but about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle.com, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.