No proof needed

Image by Thorpe Mayes

Image by Thorpe Mayes


why choosing the right time for negotiations matters.

And the final pillar of the trifecta that’s needed for women to be successful at advocating on self behalf is:

Proving Self.

Proving self addresses the question of “What do we have to do in order to prove that we deserve more?” 64% of men decide that they need to prove that they deserve to be paid more during negotiation of an offer, that’s when men decide they need to highlight what sets them apart and why a higher salary is warranted. Women on the other hand, 83% to be precise, take the route of accepting the offer with a plan to prove that they deserve a higher salary while on the job. Women tend to think that we have to first prove ourselves on the job to show our skills, talents, capabilities, before asking for higher pay.

Even though women might get past the point of worth and entitlement, the timing of when women decide to prove that they are worth higher pay is essential and drastically different from men’s practices. Consequences? Not only does that mean lower financial benefits short term, but it might cripple women to ever level out the playing field. Once we accept a job at salary X, it’s a lot harder to make a significant jump to salary Y without a promotion, which rarely happens within the first year, and that’s not taking into account company’s ability and position to offer such promotion.

Image by Averie Woodard

Image by Averie Woodard

When I think of proving self, one particular story comes to mind that truly illustrates that you are better off proving yourself during negotiations rather than on the job.

I was 15 when I first came to the United States. My parents in Russia didn’t have any money, which in turn resulted in us having no connections, the idea of me going to college was nothing short of a distant dream that would never materialize. So, when I received a scholarship to come and study in the US, I set a goal to see if I could get into college here. I grew up hearing about the US as the land of opportunities where people can build their own lives from nothing, and when I came to the US, I first hand saw that middle class in the US was more than a dream, it could become a reality that was within my reach. Two weeks into my stay with the host family, I walked out of my room one night and asked my host parents if I could talk to them. I am not sure what they were expecting out of the conversation, and I have never been taught on how to start a difficult yet delicate conversations, so I just came out head on and asked “I’d like to go to college in the US, can you help me?” My host parents looked a bit bewildered and didn’t have an answer right away, but a couple of days later they came back to me with a proposal. “If you get straights A’s in school, and save $3,000 during this year, then we will sponsor you for a student visa to go to college.”

There are a lot of factors that played into me going to college in the US, it wasn’t as easy as getting straight A’s or saving $3,000, although that was the deal. But here is what you need to know, the timing of my ask was critical. My host parents have made a commitment to carry out their part of the deal if I carried out mine. It was early on in our adventure as a family unit together, and I have negotiated (although in a very raw form) my terms early on, and they have agreed. If I were to make the same ask 6 months after staying with my family, I might not have been able to achieve 4.0 GPA since I would have let a semester of school go by, I might not have been able to save $3,000 that they set as a goal. While one might argue that the goals might have been adjusted, I would also argue that it’s absolutely true but I would be in a lot worse position 6 months down the road. Why? Because by then my host parents would also know that I wasn’t very diligent about cleaning my bathroom, and I talked back on quite a few occasions (hello teenage bliss years). I have overslept on more than a few occasions and missed my school bus requiring my host mom to pile my 2 young host siblings in the car to give me a ride to school.

The point is, timing of the negotiations matters.
Image by Phil Desforges

Image by Phil Desforges

Negotiating your offer before accepting the job is always going to give you a better outcome than waiting to ask for that same raise a year into your job. Company’s budgets might change, and we all make mistakes while on the job, which can be used as leverage against your ask later on.

You are always going to have more leverage at the time of the offer, and that’s the time to prove to your employer that you deserve more. You shouldn’t sell your skills, talent and value short.

Strive to claim what you deserve! It’s not easy, and it’s not always comfortable, but you are worth it!

*Source: "Gender differences in negotiator’s beliefs about Requests for Higher Salary" by Lisa A Barron