So yesterday, my friend who we’ll call Moira, gchatted me with a question. She’d received an offer for a new job that she was super pumped to take but the money was not what she wanted, and based on her research, it wasn’t comparable to other similar positions. She asked me what to do, and I told her to ask for more, because that’s the best advice anyone has given me in these situations.
I like this conversation because for once, I got to play the helpful mentor role instead of the “shit, how do I ask for a raise???” role, which I have played many times (and published here). I have done this successfully exactly once, and it was hellllla hard, so it felt really good to be able to take my learnings and pass them on.
I share it with you now (with Moira’s permission) because I think it illustrates so many of the common issues that people (especially ladies) face when they go to have this conversation. In general (massive generalities coming…) we want to be liked, we don’t want to rock the boat, we don’t want to be thought pushy or, God forbid, bitchy. Research shows that women who act aggressively at work are actually penalized. In other words, being personally disliked by coworkers doesn’t hurt men professionally, but it does impede women’s career progression.
So, the question remains, how to do it? Here’s one example. Kids, this is as real as it gets, proven by my poor spelling and lack of capitalizations:
Moira: hey Happy Monday! How are you?
Moira: Would you happen to have a moment to answer a question?
me: sure, what’s up?
Moira: So, I’m super-excited about this new job
and like, ready to take the offer
but I’ve read so much about women being silly about negotiation
me: ! yes, i know right!
i feel that way too
Moira: that I was trying to figure out if I should put out feelers about the salary offer
before taking it
me: yes, you absolutely should
me: the worst thing that happens
is that they say they can’t do it
but no one is going to take the offer away
it’s really scary but it’s SUCH a good thing to practice doing
me: when i tried, with my first job at this company
they said no, but they offered me a performance review after 3 months, to reevaluate
and i got a small raise at that point, that took me to my initial request
me: but definitely ask for it
they expect you to
is it better to do that by phone or by email?
i think email is easier
Moira: I do, too
me: and then maybe end your email with “feel free to give me a call to discuss further”
or something like that
Moira: Okay. What language did you use to discuss specifics? It sounds like you made a specific counter-proposal
me: I think I said something like “thanks for the offer, blah blah blah, i’m so excited blah blah blah. I’ve reviewed the details of the offer more since we last spoke/emailed…
“Given my skills xyz, I’m looking for something closer to the X-X range. Based on my research, that seems comparable to similar roles available.”
“I’m extremely excited about hte chance to do blah blah blah, and I think I’m a perfect fit for this role”
and then finish with the invitation for a call to further discuss
that is super-helpful
me: also, for what it’s worth, go look up some salaries for analysts or whatever role
Moira: well the thing is I’ve been contacted by several companies
who named ranges up to 20K higher
Moira: i mean, who knows
so aim high
Moira: but that’s where I’m getting my numbers
THE NEXT DAY
Moira: It worked
that is amazing
Moira: They upped it by almost 10%
you are AWESOME
thank you so much
me: i am so proud of you and me together
me: so cool!
Asking for the raise in your first negotiation is one piece of what sets you up for financial success down the line. Not only is it good practice, but it literally translates into higher income in your future. Imagine you are offered $40K, and you take it. Another newbie (perchance a dude), gets offered $40K as well. He asks for $50K, they scoff, but offer him $44K. He’s making $4K more than you, simply because he asked! And when your first round of performance reviews roll around, and you both ask for a 10% raise, you now make $44 and he makes $48.4! The gap only widens!
Related Post: How to Ace an Interview
Related Post: How I got my raise.