Last week I signed paperwork for a new sales position I was hired for here in Southern California. Getting back to work after my break was an exciting event in and of itself, but how I handled the negotiation is what grew me the most.
A few years ago I read a book by Suze Orman called Women and Money. I loved how informed it made me feel about financial terms and investments, but the most impactful thing was when she explained how differently men and women react to money.
She said women tend to put themselves on sale, empathizing with the payer, and not wanting to ask too much. Whereas men will ask for what they feel they deserve. Men will name companies after themselves and ask for raises, but women will deflect from themselves when it comes time for a business name, and instead of asking for raises in their jobs, they will work hard hoping to be recognized by their superiors.Because of Suze’s book, I named my blog after myself, Absolutely Tara, and when it comes time to ask for a salary, I don’t put myself on sale. I go for the biggest job I can stretch to qualify for, and then ask for the amount the position should pay, regardless of my previous pay. But when I was offered much less than my asking price for my most recent job, I found myself slipping. The owner explained his side of things, and I started empathizing with the company, recognizing that hiring me at the rate I was asking for would be a large investment for them, and I started feeling guilty. But I kept thinking about this book, and how Suze said women empathize with the company and men don’t, which is why men make more.
So I called Dan and said, “I’m thinking like a woman! How would you handle this?” He gave me some great advice. Stick to my guns! I was worth what I was asking, and if they wouldn’t pay it, I could get it somewhere else. This reassured what I had been thinking, but had been to empathetic to execute. So I wrote them an email explaining all I was bringing to the table for the company and then said I needed him to meet my asking price or it simply wasn’t worth my time.
And guess what? He met my price, which was 42% greater than his original offer! And now I am employed at the rate I wanted, so I won’t feel like I’m slaving away for less than I’m worth. And I got a great position that I am excited about. Now I’m even more motivated to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, because I have a feeling it has a lot of this kind of advice. And I don’t know the parts of my behavior being defined for me until it’s pointed out to me one way or another, so the more I can rid myself of the thinking that’s standing in my way, the further I will be able to go.
This is the outfit I wore to sign when I signed the papers. Polka Dot Blouse: Forever 21 (no longer available but here’s something similar), Skinny Pants: H&M, Mustard Blazer: American Rag from Macy’s (no longer available), Black Heels: Sam Edelman