Here’s something interesting: not everyone feels good when they get a raise. Research from the University of Warwick and the University of Minnesota studied high-salary employees with high levels of neuroticism and found that if the pay raise is disappointing, the employees saw that as a sign of failure.

According the University of Warwick’s Eugenio Proto, a person who has a high level of neuroticism tends to see “an income level as a measure of success.” That means if they have a high income, due to success, and they receive a pay raise that isn’t as high as they expected, they feel like they’ve failed.

Proto says in a press release, “Someone who has high levels of neuroticism will see an income increase as a measure of success. When they are on a lower income, a pay increase does satisfy them because they see that as an achievement.

“However, if they are already on a higher income they may not think the pay increase is as much as they were expecting. So they see this as a partial failure and it lowers their life satisfaction.”

If you fall into this category, there are ways to negotiate a better raise.

Find out your worth in the market

Companies will pay you what they think will make you happy, not what the market says. Research your job and your responsibilities and bring that research with you when you talk with your manager.

Don’t feel guilty about asking for a bigger raise

You don’t have to accept the first offer. Go back to your boss and explain assertively why you deserve a bigger raise. Remember your research? This is why you need it.

Ask what you need to do

If the company won’t budge on the raise, ask your manager what you need to accomplish to get your desired increase. This discussion should be documented in writing with specific goals.

Anticipate objections

Your company may have reasons why they won’t increase your pay. This is your opportunity to incorporate any counter arguments and to build proposals into your request.

The two researchers used data from the British Household Panel Survey and the German Socioeconomic panel as part of their research. They will be presenting their paper at July’s ESRC Research Methods Festival.