I am always reading articles and books and tweets and such about how I can Live My Best Life, particularly as a Woman in Business.
In particular, I love to learn about negotiating tactics and career development. I know not to be afraid to ask for what I deserve, but I get tripped up on this: the other side has to be open to hearing me.
There have been times when I have spoken clearly about what I am seeking, only to be labeled “aggressive” and “confident.” What he (and it’s always been a he) meant was “cocky” or “arrogant.” It was not a compliment, I felt sure.
Recently Ellen Pao, interim CEO of Reddit, announced that the company has eliminated salary negotiation from the hiring process in an effort to address the gender wage gap.
Acknowledging this is key. From Pao:
Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate.
But part of me worries that this is akin to teaching women how to avoid being raped instead of telling men not to rape. Shouldn’t we all just learn that it’s normal to have women ask for what we’re worth?
Dan* and I met through my work-study job in college. My commitment to ten hours of weekly clerical work in the Registrar’s Office was the subject of much mirth among the full-timers and more reliable student works.
It was a 50/50 proposition if I would actually show up for my designated hours, they joked. “But I always call!” I would counter. Whether it was due to classwork, hangovers, my need for a nap or simply something more interesting arising, I called in with a lot of excuses.
For whatever reason, they tolerated me.
Dan appeared on one of the days late in my freshman year when I happened to show up. His mother was one of the bosses and when visiting from his own university, he would come to the office to help out. Dan was a volleyball-playing, ROTC-committed stud of a man. When he smiled, his eyes reminded me of Patrick Swayze (!). Tall and fit, solid, sturdy and friendly, I was immediately drawn to him.