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A few years ago I was changing jobs, and I made the commitment to ask for more money. I thought no matter what they offer, you need to counter. They offered me $50/hour and I countered with $52/hour. I waited nervously for them to call me back–I was sure I wasn’t going to get the job because I was too demanding. Why did I have to go and ask for more when $50/hour is a totally fair and suitable price?! Within an hour they called me back and accepted my counter offer.
Always counter your initial offer…
Ladies, now is the time. We don’t do it. Why? Because we think we are going to be perceived as assholes or greedy. I was listening to the amazing podcast, So Money with Farnoosh Torabi and she had a guest on who has her own company and she mentioned that a large majority of the women she hires, do NOT counter offer and how disappointed she was about it. (I apologize that I am not quoting the person directly — there are a lot of So Money podcasts, so if anyone ever reads this and knows, please let me know!) The money is there, we’re just not asking for it.
… because your male counterparts are!
I was so proud that I’d managed to negotiate that extra $2. And it all honesty, it was truly a life changing thing for me. I knew it was okay to ask and most likely I was going to what I asked for (within reason).
My peer who told me about the job (male, also a web developer) told me how much he made, but he told me that it was because he was “much more senior” and I didn’t know any better. He’d been a mentor for me when I was in a web development bootcamp. Flash forward to find out my skillset was much greater. He’d managed to get $57/hour to my $52.
How did that happen? There were a lot of factors at play, but he probably asked for that amount and got it. I will not forget this lesson any time soon.
Know your worth.
I started getting better at this in my first development job. In my last several months there, I’d asked for a raise because I started doing my research in the market. I saw what other full stack and front end developers were making, and it was substantially more than my annual salary and benefits (don’t count out those bennies!).
I asked my manager for a raise so I could make market value for my job. I was an avid contributor and brought a lot of value to the team on top of the fact that I wasn’t being compensated appropriately. Unfortunately, my manager never came through. He was focused on his own success–which is another lesson in life that I will probably unleash one day.
I left the organization and have since increased my annual income by 62% in the span of one year.
Where to start? Glassdoor has a salary estimator that can help. I highly recommend reaching out to peers in the industry to get an idea of what they’re making as things can vary in the area you’re living.
My favorite book in the whole entire world is That’s What She Said by Joanne Lipman. You should purchase this book (here is a link to black owned bookstores in the US), read it, and then re-read it. THEN encourage your male counterparts to read it.
I will touch more on this book in later articles, but like so many things, we have to be our own advocates. We know that we get paid less than our male peers doing the same job, so let’s at least try to ask for what we know we deserve. It is one thing we can do for ourselves while we try to educate those around us and create change.
Yes, the conversation is awkward. But you can do it!
Money isn’t everything. Salary is not the ONLY thing that makes a job worthwhile, but don’t leave money on the table. The worst thing that can happen is that they say, “No.”