BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

3 strategies to get the pay you deserve without being greedy or pushy

Posted by ptanji on May 31, 2012

By Patty Tanji
First published on the Next Steps Follies

Getting paid what you are worth is neither greedy nor pushy but rather earned and must be expected.

Do the Research

1.  Before asking your boss for a raise ask Mr. Google: Determine if you are being underpaid, overpaid, or somewhere in between. You must find out what people in other companies are paid who do your job and also those in your current company.

What do other companies pay?  Mr. Google lists many sites. Salary.com, payscales.com, glassdoor.com, simplyhired.com.

I did a quick search on “dog kennel maintenance wages’ spurned on by a teenage friend’s story. Turns out she is paid 30 cents/hour less than her colleague, a male, her age, same grade (11th ).  Check out the results here: http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-dog+kennel+maintenance

The salary range is daunting but can be made more accurate by putting in more data like age, experience, education, etc. Do not think of the lowest range as a place to start. Determine the level of skill, responsibility, education, years of service, etc. before coming up with your own range from which to begin negotiation.

What does your boss pay? Asking what others make inside your company is a little more tricky and often frowned upon by employers. And, like the example above, where my teenage friend learned she was getting paid less than her colleague, the information can be learned quite by accident. She was verifying hours worked with her team member who showed her his pay stub.  So, employees do learn what others make but mostly by accident.

Another way to find out what your boss pays other employees at your company is to ask, at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner. As an exploration of  what your quality of life will be like in the future if you stay employed there. You might try asking:

How does my salary fit with how others are paid in the company?

Is my salary at the top of the pay scale?  Is there room for growth?

Am I paid more or as much as others?

In case you are worried that your boss will fire you if you ask your colleague what she is getting paid, check out this article. Seems the National Labor Relations Act say otherwise:  http://www.askamanager.org/2012/01/can-an-employer-require-you-to-keep-your-salary-confidential.html

So now you know what you should be paid. Go ask for it!

Money is a Funny Word

2.  Now lets talk about the words “greedy” and “pushy”.  In her book “Earn What Your Worth”, Nicole Williams lists the following words to determine how you feel about money. Then, of course, the rest of the book she tries to convince you that money is not a dirty word.

So, what do you think about these words?  Smart, strong, attractive, weak, greedy, efficient powerful, cutthroat, spoiled, innovative, deserving, cruel, self-centered, peaceful, selfish, generous, inspiring, ugly, disciplined, desirable.

Do these words describe how you feel about money and the people who have it? If so, lets do a little mindset shift shall we? Money is your friend. It is an indication of positive flow of energy in your life. It is the method through which you can fully show up and give your greatest gifts. Always being worried about where you next meal is going to come, or how you are going to pay for your child to play on the soccer team next season is not going to help you live your best life. You deserve it.

I am an advocate for strong pay equity laws in my state of Minnesota.  As result of our laws, women are sometimes given raises, the result of mandatory pay equity audits. These audits reveal that women are sometimes underpaid, according to their skill and responsibility levels. However, because these raises are very public (http://brainerddispatch.com/news/2011-01-25/equity-law-leads-pay-raise) there is often a sense of guilt that accompanies them possibly because they think they are taking away money from taxpayers. A very limiting view of money indeed.

Your Best Advocate

3. Think like an advocate. I am an advocate for fair pay for the public at large.  You are an advocate for yourself.  No one is going to negotiate a better salary for you than you. Unless you work in a unionized workplace, which is rare these days, you’re going to have to step up! Your boss or the human resource professionals at your company have been trained about compensation and benefits and many of them have graduate degrees on the subject. You must too. Know what your family’s needs are today and in the future. College expenses, increased car insurance once your teen starts driving, sports programs, retirement. Determine what you want and ask for it.

Your turn! Have you asked for raise at any time in your career? How did it go?

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