Tomorrow, April 9th, is Equal Pay Day. As readers of my blog well know, I believe that it is imperative for every woman to actively become involved in her income decision by negotiating her pay. This step is essential if we are ever to achieve true Equal Pay. I come across many reasons why women decide not to negotiate their income. Here are the top reasons and why these reasons should not hold someone back.
I Don’t Work for the Money
Sure women may be out to save the world by working as doctors, nurses, teachers, and in non-profits. Before anyone got to the decision of what kind of work to do came the realization that one needs to have a job to have a roof over head, food on the table, and the occasional mani/pedi treat. It’s so elemental a reality that most of us forget about it. You truly are NOT working for the money if you can honestly answer yes to the following questions:
- I (and my spouse) have saved enough to cover 6 months of living costs should I lose my job, get sick, or other emergency occur.
- I (and my spouse) have saved enough to put each of my (our) children through college for four years.
- I (and my spouse) have saved enough to live in retirement for 20+ years
- I (and my children) can live on my savings should my spouse no longer be part of the family unit through divorce or death.
My guess is very few of you can answer yes to all of the above (me included) since the average savings Americans have is $3,800.
I Thought Pay was Based on Ability
The decision to hire and promote a person is based on ability. The decision on the amount to pay someone is typically based on the lowest amount of pay that candidate will accept. I know it’s a rude awakening for most people yet the discovery opens so much opportunity. People can decide what they will and will not accept. Realizing your manager is looking to get the best for the lowest pay enables you to jump into the negotiation game. Think this might not be the reality where you work then why did they ask you for your salary history or desired salary? That’s how hiring managers and human resources start to gauge an acceptable offer.
I Am Replaceable
Everyone is replaceable just ask Pope Benedict. Salary negotiation would not exist if we all waited until we were irreplaceable. You may be replaceable but you are valuable. The minute you resign, get laid off, or get fired, the company will figure a way to work without you. Until then, don’t forget to remind them of the value you bring and whenever possible do it in terms of the company’s financial gains.
I Did Not Know Negotiating Salary Was Part of the Process
We write resumes, practice interviews, buy interview outfits, clean up our social media footprint, and write thank you notes for interviews. Somehow many believe the job offer is the end of the process. No, the process now moves the decision making to the candidate. My negotiation professor grad school taught us that the moment between job offer and acceptance are the most powerful for any candidate. Don’t throw away the power by accepting the job without negotiation.
Review the offer, negotiate, and finally decide on the revised negotiated offer. You’ll know you have the best offer in front of you after you negotiate the first offer.
I Do Not Know How to Negotiate
Negotiating is a skillset that we all need to add to our portfolio. There are many ways to learn the negotiating including books, blogs, classes, and coaching. The key here is to decide to learn regardless of the method. You are 80% of the way to successfully negotiating pay that is on par with the men by making the decision to learn.