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Get Your Money, Boo

[Topic Submitted by Tsahia H.]

It’s no secret that on average women make far less than men. Because of this, it’s very important that women demand more money for themselves. 

But, also on average, they don’t. In her book Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock held a study that found only 7% of women negotiated their salary while 57% of men did. Why is that? 

Well for one, I know many of my clients think the moment they ask for more they’ll lose their opportunity. That’s simply not true. (It’s expensive and time consuming to interview and hire people.) Often, it isn’t just the fact that someone wants a raise or a higher salary than offered--it’s how they asked—or that they didn’t ask at all. (While it’s great to think that your supervisor will see how well you’re doing and congratulate you with monetary wealth— it’s unrealistic.) 

And asking for it isn’t just as simple as setting up a meeting with your boss. Speaking about money is an art, it can go wrong--but instead of being intimidated, seek to know more. To be successful, negotiation needs to be strategic. 

Here's 5 tips for a stronger strategy.

1. Understand your Worth

Before you talk about money with anyone else—talk to yourself first. Have a clear understanding of yourself as a professional. If you’re getting a new offer; have your pitch packed full of accomplishments, a love of the product and a clear vision for what you’ll be bringing to the table. Getting a raise? —be able to draw clear examples of your accomplishments (Do you keep a work journal, this is where it comes in handy. I also keep spreadsheets of my project dates from conception to fruition). Preparation is a key part of any strategy. 

2. Understand your Market

Whether asking for a raise or negotiating at a new job, know your industry comparison. What’s the average salary for your position in your city? Furthermore, how is that affected by the size and status of the company. Pick a number based on research and not just on “What you want”. 

3. Choose the Right Time

 Don’t bring up salary early in the interview process. You may be asked during which you can say “My primary focus is finding a position that’s the right fit, where I can grow and contribute. My range is within the average and I’m sure [company] can meet it.” If you’re still pressed, move on to “I’m considering positions between $$$-$$$ and I look forward to having a discussion about that when the time is right.” Aim to discuss salary right before an offer is made—figure out what their budget is for the role and discuss details after an offer is made. Asking for a raise? Ask if there’s a specific time of year to have that conversation or any sort of protocol for it—if none ask to have some time set aside for that conversation. 

4. Over-ask

Always ask for more than you actually want. You won’t be the only person in the room negotiating. Your employer to be—or your current boss—will most likely not hit your number. Leave some room to play around with and you might land on your sweet spot

5. Learn to Bounce Back from No

 Sometimes companies can’t afford you, sometimes you haven’t done enough to get the money you’re asking for—whatever the case, a “no” doesn’t always mean the end of the world. New job won’t pay? Fine, they’re not for you and that could be a red flag that they’ll continuously be unappreciative. Current job turned you down? Ask for feedback or an interim performance appraisal with clearly defined goals and salary adjustment before your next annual review.  

Most importantly, that the chance. If you’re not ready to risk it all for yourself—who will? 

But what if you’re happy with your offer? 

(GREAT! And ultimately, your salary is your business. If that number satisfies you and you’re happy, go ‘head boo. Get yours. If not, keep reading.) 

The same way you can ask for a number just because it seems good, you can also accept a number just because it seems good. But again—do your counterparts make more? Are you paid fairly in the market?  Get all the info to make an informed decision for yourself and to get what you’re worth. 

When done right, salary negotiation sends a strong message to your employer that you know your value and you’re willing to fight for it. Some people will advise you to negotiate no matter what because of this. I think it depends on the situation, the person and the brand. There's no cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all career strategy. Today we have more freedom to choose and more knowledge to understand when things like privilege (in terms of race, accessibility, gender presentation and sexuality) come into place. 

Some people simply can't afford to negotiate and they shouldn't feel pressured to. Curating your career has everything to do with your own happiness and comfort and working toward a vision of success that is authentic to you. In the end, my advice is almost always the same.

Do you, Boo.


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