Fair isn’t good enough!
DO YOU DESERVE TO BE PAID WHAT’S FAIR? OR DO YOU DESERVE TO BE PAID MORE? STRIVE FOR FAIR AND YOU WILL LEAVE VALUABLE DOLLARS ON THE TABLE, AIM FOR MORE AND YOU WILL GET ON PAR WITH MEN. OUR GOAL IS SIMPLE: HIGHLIGHT THE DIFFERENCES AND PROVIDE YOU WITH A TOOL TO ADDRESS THEM.
Have you ever figured out how much you are worth and then thought to yourself: “I can’t possibly ask for that much?” That’s because your sense of entitlement is saying “I don’t deserve that much.” Entitlement is tricky. It is the notion that a person has a right to something. When it comes to negotiations, women and men differ quite a bit on what we think we deserve. How? Men think they deserve more than average, and women tend to gravitate towards what’s fair. There is a stark monetary difference between what’s fair and what’s more. When we think of fair we tend to focus on average numbers, however, more is clearly a lot greater than average.
A few months back I had a happy hour with a friend of mine, she just accepted a new role, and we were talking through how it went. She opened up and told me that when she first got the offer, she went on glassdoor and looked around how much similar positions were priced at in the market. She then proceeded to tell me that she just took an average number and countered with that. I wish we’d had this discussion before her negotiations. I wish she would have researched HER worth before seeing the initial offer, but most of all I wished she wouldn’t settle for fair. I didn’t want her to resent her decision for not asking for more. I did tell her that she was worth a lot more than average. Knowing her ambition, her tenacity and creativity that she incorporates into her solutions and vision. She is a high performer with talent, ambition, and achievements that showcase how she has the capability to take a losing line of business and turn it around, she can rally people around her, motivate them and never backed down from challenges. That description is of someone who deserves more than average. Why are we settling for ‘average’ when so many of us clearly deserve more? We have our society to thank for that, years upon years of gender stereotyping beating into us that women ought to focus on serving others, not self. We have all encountered situations where women serving self-interests are viewed as witches with a capital B.
When we try to position ourselves to ask for more than average, we go through a mental struggle. I am here to tell you that we don’t need to strong-arm our mind to accept and feel confident of askin for more. We just need to do 2 things! Follow the 2 steps, and you will see how all of a sudden your thinking will start changing from ‘I just want what’s fair’ to “I deserve more than fair, I deserve more than average, I deserve more because I have earned it”.
TWO MAGIC INGREDIENTS ARE: COMPARISON INFO AND PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK AND I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET THEM IN THAT ORDER.
Comparison info is just what it sounds like. Start connecting the dots in your network and reach out to people who are: a) held your position in the past (it’s a small world after all) b) your current co-workers c) people with similar responsibilities that are in the same industry (your peers). Ask them if you could grab a cup of coffee with them and during that networking event explain to them what you do, how you saw the connection, and how you are trying to get a better understanding of what a typical salary range is for the responsibilities that you both share. Surprising fact: most people are more than willing to share that information. They might not give you the exact number of what they are making, but they will give you a pretty tight range.
Caveat: make sure to ask at least 5 people, and make sure that 50% of those respondents are men! Why? Women are very comfortable talking to women, but keep this in mind, women in general are getting paid 80 cents of what men earn. So if you are comparing yourself to 5 other women, you are getting information that is STILL going to land you in the ‘underpaid’ portion of the statistics.
I am willing to bet that once you talk to 3 men who are on par with you in regards to position, experience and responsibilities, you will notice a change in your thought process. You will start saying “I definitely deserve more, not fair.”
Once you do that exercise, then move on to the performance feedback. I encourage you not only to look to your supervisor for performance feedback, but also reach out to your mentors, cross-functional leaders who have seen the caliber for your work, and colleagues. In many occasions when I get to this point with women I work with, they don’t even need to reach out to anybody for feedback, because they have all heard it…and plenty of times. I ask you to mentally go through that feedback and write it down, because once you do write it down and look at it, you will think “Wow, I contribute a lot of value, and people notice.”
After going through comparison info and performance feedback, go back and reassess what you deserve. Look at the number that you came up with as your worth and ask yourself if you deserve more than fair? I bet, your answer will be “Absolutely!” And rightfully so, because you have earned more than fair. And the time to prove your worth is at the negotiation table….which we will address in our next blog!