Pragmatic Solutions to Achieve Pay Equity
Some of you may follow me on Twitter. My handle is @kdb2b. That probably seems odd to you. I’m a salary negotiation coach. I write about women, salaries, negotiation, and equal pay. My clients are consumers and typically women. What does any of that have to do with Business to Business? Everything. Let me begin to explain by recounting a story.
A while back I talked with a professional who helps women reenter the workforce. Typically such reentry is after being a full-time stay-at-home mother. We were discussing my theory that if you know what a job is worth you will be unable to accept less regardless of how many mistakes are made during the negotiation process. In the discussion I mention that people work to make money. Apparently, I am wrong based on the gasp of horror I received for this statement. “My clients don’t need the money, they want to work for the engagement and the challenge.”
I understand that after living a number of years with a single paycheck a family can not only survive but also thrive on the single paycheck. I also understand that depending on your zip code, to acknowledge that the family may NEED a second paycheck to save for junior’s college or for the couple’s own retirement may be the type of thing no one would actually do. I envision the show Suburgatory when thinking of the pressure not to admit the need for more income. Although this show is over-the-top (ex. Cheryl Hines hilarious turn as a newly single crystal shop owner) it does showcase that a subtler version of this is reality for many women. I applaud these families and all families. Heck anyone who can survive living with teenagers is a superhero to me.
What concerns me is the lack of attention for the income earned. It seems as though many people are in search of something they love to do. I celebrate this endeavor, as do many people. The quote “find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life,” is well known for a reason. It’s a great quote but it never says to completely forget about the money earned. Somehow, I think some interpretations of the quote gives people permission to lose sight completely of the value of the work. This may lead to a person accepting less than a job is worth. Doing so can set two precedents; 1) the job is worth less for future employees and 2) you will not receive equitable treatment as your coworkers. Would these same people pay more for any item because extra money is not needed? Than why take a job at a salary lower than it is worth? And if you don’t know the fair market value than how can you ensure you are being treated in an equitable manner?
Also consider that although earning money may not be important to some people, it is important to your employer. There must be at least $1 more coming in the doors than going out the doors for any organization – even non-profits – to keep going. That is why at a recent National Association of Women Lawyers conference the number one tip for women to get into “The Pipeline to Equity Partnership” by featured keynoter Kim Askew was to build a book of business (aka bring in your own clients). Her reasoning for this tip was that “gender biases and firm politics matter less when women lawyers control books of business” (aka Show Them The Money).
Yes, employees are people dealing with other people (managers & employers). I am not suggesting anyone lose the humanity and common courtesy that should prevail when interacting with each other. I am recommending that you add the business perspective to your working endeavors and to start with the job search. If you add to your mindset that you are your own business dealing with another business you will increase the likelihood:
These goals are not mutually exclusive from the goals of being engaged and challenged outside of the home. These goals are the reasons I tweet as @kdb2b. I hope you will follow me.
Copyright 2012 by Katie Donovan