Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Women Can Ask for a Raise Like a Man - Part 1

The number one thing I wish I had someone tell at the beginning of my career instead of later is this: that every time I was made a formal offer of employment, I do have the formality to come back with one counter offer.  

Looking back I pretty much shot myself in the foot the moment I stepped out of college.  While my external offers were huge increases in previous base pay, I could have asked for a little more of my offers.  Most of the time that I was interviewing externally, I simultaneously made it to final rounds at two companies and that really could have gotten what I needed or more.  

It never occurred to me I could ask for more after getting an offer.  No one told me this. I had never seen salary being approached like how I would negotiate for car!  

What made it even more baffling is that not even my husband, dad, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, or uncles told me anything about counteroffers and negotiating--and they do it all the time.  I learned that men negotiate, women do not--but the question in my head was how come the men in my life didn't tell me this when I interviewed for my first job, and subsequent jobs after that?  

Why didn't my closest male relationships, the ones who provide, honor and protect me, teach me how to ask for a raise like a man?

A gender and leadership expert, Jeffrey Tobias Halter answered that question that kept mulling in my head for months.  He flat out explained that men do not connect the dots that the women they work with at the office is also another man's wife, mother, daughter or sister and I believe this is the case why didn't I get any advice or support.  It wasn't their fault, they just hadn't thought of it.  More on that HERE, it is a must read for any man that has daughters.  

Who then taught me this?  Other moms that worked. Not all of them though, because most of them leave before they leave.  Read "Lean In" to understand this concept more, it is honestly a fantastic and helpful book.  And "Lean In" was where I learned only 7% of female graduates counter offer their first job.  (My reaction when I read that statistic "Whaaat?  You can do that, ask for more money than what they tell you??  Darn!!")

Not long ago, I talked to a friend who's a working mom and shared some insights about salaries and raises, because I used to work at her current employer and remembered how much I got paid (peanuts).  It definitely was unsolicited advice, my bad habit, I try to mitigate it with a blog. 

A few weeks later, she followed up with me.  To my greatest surprise, she told me she had thought A LOT about what I said.  The result was that she went to her boss and ended up getting a raise and a promotion!  The thing that kept me up at night though was what she said after that:

"I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't reached out to me"

That time around, another woman received advice from another mom that worked.  This made me shudder.  
I wasn't told about it until I heard it from another mom, and my friend didn't know either until I told her.  I even confided in a colleague more senior than me asking if she ever asked for a raise or counter-offer her promotions.  Not even once. It had never occurred to her either that she could ask for more.    

I decided from there  I would go out of my way and reach out to other women, primarily mothers who work and/or graduated from college to not make the same mistakes I did with negotiating salary.  I would share anything and everything I've learned about salaries and negotiation.  

Why? Because chances are that no one told them yet either and they'll remain underpaid until another woman goes out of their way to tell them about it.  

While I work on Part 2, I want to ask these questions, no need to respond.  
Did anyone tell you about it?  Was it a man or a woman?

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