Knowing Your Value and How to Get a Raise:
I shared a powerful story with my girlfriends yesterday on our ride back from Palm Springs (take me back!) They suggested I share it on the blog. It’s about knowing your value, how to get a raise and not taking no for an answer.
Years ago in my early 20’s, I was working for a company that was way undervaluing my worth. They were paying me well below what I should have been paid, but the job was fun and I had a lot of perks so I just went with the flow. I loved the job and often took on tasks in other departments to learn all aspects of the business. After 3 years of working there, the low pay started to wear on me. I went into my bosses office for a review, asked for a raise and was denied. I was so upset and felt so undervalued at my company that tears escaped my eyes right there in her office no matter how much I tried to fight them. The rejection overwhelmed me and I felt defeated.
A few weeks later, I read the book: KNOWING YOUR VALUE: WOMEN, MONEY, AND GETTING WHAT YOU’RE WORTH by Mika Brzezinski and it forever changed my life. It is a bestselling self-help title about women and negotiating. In the book, Mika talks about how knowing your value is the key to making it in any industry. A company doesn’t have to give you a raise or a bonus, but if you’re able to point out your value and how your skills can be used elsewhere, that company takes a chance at losing a valuable employee. I also remember Mika discussing how men are more likely to see asking for more money as a business transaction and less as an emotional discussion (like I did.) That part has always stuck with me. Treat a review and asking for a raise like a business transaction.
After reading the book I took the time to write down all of my skill sets, the additional tasks I had taken on, and the value I was bringing to the company. I sat down with my boss again and this time had a much more business (and less emotional) conversation. I pointed out my value and her response regarding any higher compensation was still “no, not at this time.” I didn’t get upset, I simply and confidently said “okay.” She asked me why I wasn’t getting upset like last time and I told her, “because if this company can’t offer me the money I know I deserve, there are other companies that will.” Plain and simple. At the age of 25, I was willing to walk if my value wasn’t acknowledged. I didn’t feel tied to job and financial security like so many people do. A dangerous trap that makes so many people stay in a position that makes them unhappy.
One week later, I found myself in the CEO’s office with a $10,000 raise and a 25% bonus, a handshake and the phrase “we really value you at this company.” Had I never asked and been willing to stand my ground on what I was worth instead of taking a back seat, none of that would have ever happened.
It also raises another important question in relation to the gender pay gap. Are we teaching our daughters and young women to demand the money they are worth? Or are they taught to just accept what is handed to them? We need to be sharing this book and its knowledge with all women. You never have to accept the first amount you’re offered. When a company initially hires you, more often than not they are prepared for you to ask for more and meet you in the middle. It’s the art of negotiation. Why settle for the first number? Stand your ground and know your value. We as women can birth a human for God’s sake. What is so scary about asking for more money? The worst thing they can say is “no.” Stand up tall, be confident that you know your worth and go in there and get that raise/job/bonus!
Thanks for reading. I also shared another book here that dramatically changed my life. Have any of you read either of these books? Would love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below!
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LACE TOP: // SKIRT: SELF PORTRAIT // BAG: SAINT LAURENT // BOOTIES: KYLIE AND KENDALL // SUNGLASSES: UNKNOWN
Photos by Felicia Lasala