Remember that catchy phrase that was making the rounds a while back?
Know your worth, then add tax.
I have to admit, that drove me a little crazy.
I love the sentiment, and I obviously think we should all have a clear sense of what our work experience is worth. I also want to see women get paid fairly, and am constantly frustrated by how many of us are are making far less than what our work warrants.
A few weeks ago, I shared the story of a woman who tried to negotiate her job offer, and not only did she not get the salary she wanted, she actually had the entire job offer rescinded.
She told me it had a huge impact on her confidence, and made her question a lot of the cookie-cutter advice she’d been following about how to succeed as a woman in the workplace.
“I had a job offer rescinded when I negotiated, and it was devastating!”
“I’ve not done well negotiating and it’s been very painful. I learned a lot each time but I still don’t trust my ability to effectively advocate for myself. It’s tiring.” --@foodrefuge
“One time I asked for more, they improved the offer but not what I was hoping for, so I asked one more time and they shut the door.” -- @millennialboss
“I’ve had an employer who offered me a job ghost me after I attempted to negotiate. I’ve also had an employer make me a serious offer for a full time position of $15,000 annually — I have two graduate degrees and over 10 years experience in the field. I obviously did not end up in either of those positions!” -- @kristanwcurry
“I was verbally offered a part time recruiting position that they wanted me to start the following week. I asked to go up an add’l $5 an hour. 2-3 weeks later I received an email, after I sent at least 3-4 follow up phone calls/emails, that they were interviewing other candidates. I responded with this is where we left off in the process, if you can’t give me the extra pay, I will take the original offer. I heard NOTHING!” -- @stellastiletto
“One time a HUGE makeup brand tried to get me to MOVE TO CHICAGO for a 1 year CONTRACT POSITION that would “have the potential to turn into a full time job” for 45k. They wanted me to make the move ASAP (two weeks before our wedding) but with NO RELOCATION FEE to help with the break lease or move, or even a signing bonus. They even tried to convince me that I needed to start the Monday after my wedding. The recruiter even said “I went right back to work after my wedding weekend!” in an effort to guilt me into starting fast. When I tried to negotiate they said “oh but you’d be living in the suburbs of Chicago so the cost of living will be cheaper anyway” 😂 I stayed firm on my salary requirements and reiterated that if they wanted me to start that soon they needed to give me a relo package and they completely ghosted me 💀” -- @unitedstatesofsuki
“I haven’t had an offer rescinded but I have felt the pang of having 12 years of experience and not being valued at the 12 years of experience as far as pay goes.” -- @alliehorner
It’s heartbreaking how many of us have stories like this. I’m constantly getting messages, emails, and comments from women who tried to negotiate -- and paid for it.
And it’s more than just paying for it by losing the job offer or the opportunity. It’s also about the emotional price.
I’ve spoken to people who said they completely lost faith in any kind of career advice, or they were hesitant to try to negotiate again (which can have a huge impact on someone’s lifetime earning potential).
One person told me: “I felt like I was playing by the rules by asking if there was wiggle room in the offer -- and then they just took the rulebook and threw it out the window.”
This is why I’m so committed to talking about the ENTIRE experience of negotiating, not just the “tips and tricks” but the emotional context and the subtle penalties that we pay for asking.
Just because we know what our expertise and talent is worth, doesn’t mean it’s easy to get that worth reflected on a paycheck.
Do you have a story to tell about how asking for more has played out in your own life — for better or for worse? Let us know in the comments.
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Image: Fiordaliso/Moment via GettyImages