Monday, May 05, 2008

I Will Not Get What I Do Not Ask For

Wow--I totally got what I wanted. I got more than what I wanted. My request for an accelerated salary review at the beginning of June turned into a $2,000 raise, no questions asked, effective immediately. I win at negotiating!

See, okay, I'm a nonconfrontational person by nature. I'm also, despite current appearances to the contrary, really not that great at advocating for myself. But I'm definitely better than I used to be, and improving all the time, because over and over and over I learn that I will not get what I do not ask for. And you won't either.

I think a lot of people, especially young women, are scared to be seen trying. We think that if our merits are apparent, the people in charge of evaluating us will see and will reward us, and if they do not see and reward us, we are not displaying merit, and we will look like stupid, stupid fools if we start talking about our merits to people who clearly have already decided that we have none (or at the very least, not enough). So we sit still and we keep quiet and we cross our fingers. As a strategy for getting oneself where one wants to go, this sucks. I've just had that demonstrated for me very powerfully. So I'm going to keep trying. Visibly and otherwise. I succeeded this time, but I definitely have a ton of failure in my future--I think I'll come out ahead for it.

36 comments:

Kap said...

Congrats! And Wow! - your paragraph about young women being afraid to be seen 'trying' describes me exactly. Thanks for the wake-up call.

feministfinance said...

Congratulations! Way to advocate for yourself.

said...

Love it!!! Girl Power, well WOMEN POWER!!!

SavingDiva said...

Congratulations! That's huge!

Working Rachel said...

Awesome post--absolutely describes me, too!

I'm planning on doing some difficult negotiation tomorrow so this is great inspiration. Congratulations!

stackingpennies said...

Congratulations!!

I completely agree with your thoughts on young women.

calgirlfinance said...

That's great! Some of my prior regrets are related to not negotiating what I was worth. I think it's almost important to note that sometimes you'll get shot down. Maybe there are some external forces at play or maybe you need to put in a little more effort. But as long as you keep on doing your best and asking for recognition, you'll get it most of the time (but maybe not all the time). But asking is the important part since that's the part women tend not to do.

Anonymous said...

So, any advice for those of us who are heading into negotiations? What ducks should we be getting into a row? (I've already written the title of this entry on a sticky note and stuck it in the file with the resumes)

GradGirl said...

Wow! Congratulations!

Having followed your past few weeks of negotiating and deciding, I was already impressed by the decisions you'd made and the way you'd handled yourself. Now I'm impressed with your superiors for noticing.

Way to go!

Kim said...

Good for you! This is definitely something we should always be reminding each other of!

...and please excuse my ending the sentence with a preposition ;-)

Strange Bird said...

Wow, that's great! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

very cool, congratulations! A very cool learning experience to read about from the blog-reader end

Single Ma said...

Very impressed. Congratulations.

Laura said...

I am really happy for you, but I just wanted to mention that this is a tactic that some companies use to give out smaller raises and you should be aware if they are using it to screw you out of money rather than give you a raise. Essentially some companies give out unrequested raises pre-emptively, and the amount of the raise is smaller than you would probably ask for if you were to propose a salary review, but it's just big enough to shut you up so you don't ask for more. I hope this is not what happened to you, but it kind of sounds to me like that is what they are doing.

Taylor said...

So...what are you going to do with the extra income? I always love seeing how you plan for your future with unexpected windfalls - it would be great to read an article about it.

English Major said...

Laura, since the $2,000 raise they gave me is the best I could have expected out of an early salary review, I'm confident that I'm not being lowballed.

Thanks for your congratulations, folks!

And anonymous, I'm hardly an expert--part of the reason I wanted to ask for a review next month instead of an immediate raise was that I wasn't confident I'd been doing great work recently--but the things that I tried to keep in mind were what I'd contributed to my department and how I'd be difficult to replace well in a timely fashion.

PiggyBankBlues said...

you rock :)

Jimbo said...

Congratulations! I'm 48 and still find it hard to bargain for more money.

So you are well on your way to a successful career.

Laura said...

That is awesome, EM :) Congrats!

story girl said...

Congratulations! You are inspiring me, also a non-confrontational young woman, to speak up!

eking out said...

Awesome! Congratulations!!

I'm also not my biggest advocate, but I somehow managed to muster the courage to ask for a 35% raise last year. I didn't get it, but I did get a 25% raise for my "audacity." :) It just goes to show, you won't get what you don't ask for, but you might get most of what you do!

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

Whooot! That is so awesome!

jsavage said...

Is there any way you can head Laura's concern off at the pass? Like, did they put in writing (or say verbally) that you would still be considered for a promotion and the regular bonuses that entails when it comes time for your regular review?

Anonymous said...

You are too concerned with money.

Katie Gregg said...

Too true! When I started my current job, I asked for $2000 more than they offered--and got it, just like that. It pays to be gutsy!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! In the spirit of asking, I (a university student) brought my midterm exam to my TA and due to his hasty grading habits successfully contested a couple of questions and obtained a few extra points.

noma said...

It was helpful for me to think of asking for a raise this way. Imagine if just by having a conversation you could make a couple thousand bucks? This helped me put things in perspective and work up the gumption to ask for what I got.

The Conscious Snob said...

Congratulations! It is very inspiring to hear people actually do this, so it motivates myself and others to push for change as well. This is awesome.

imtheirishone said...

That is awesome. Congratulations! You didn't jump at the first thing that came up and asked for what you wanted. You are a good role model!

Serendipity said...

Holy crap! You just described me to a T! I learned from some bad experiences that had to advocate for myself, so I'm glad you learned from a good experience. Can you imagine being told, "You're doing awesome work. But we're giving the raises to the lowest performing department members"? Infuriating...

Rocko said...

Congratulations on stepping up and trying to improve your situation! That's more than most people will ever do (I know that's definitely a tactic I still need to learn).

Sistah Ant said...

well, since you commented over at Single Ma's i know you're still alive! please post soon. miss you.

thebaglady said...

Hey, I just caught up on this. Congrats! I've learned to ask for raises, too. I also keep a notebook on all the things I have done for the company so I can fill up a performance review and negotiate better.

Bryan said...

Good philosophy, and congratulations. This is very much like the bible's saying: "Ask, and ye shall receive". I like how James says it: "Ye have not because ye ask not." Often times we wallow in the fact that we aren't getting what we think we deserve, when we aren't even trying to ask! :)

Tanya said...

Hey! I'd love to hear how this worked out... and how Brooklyn's treating you, I'm moving there in Sept.

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