I remember the first and last time I ever asked for a raise. I had accepted a promotion and moved overseas to manage a web development team in Buenos Aires. After two years in Argentina, my responsibilities (and stress) had increased exponentially but my salary remained the same. I scheduled a meeting with my boss and wrote my own performance review, outlining my added responsibilities and accomplishments. Then I made my ask.
My boss was not receptive. In fact, he was entirely dismissive and almost scornful of my request. I felt disrespected and hurt. At the time, I was the glue holding the entire Buenos Aires operation together. How could he not value my contribution?
I planned my exit and left the company a couple of months later. I decided to begin my career as an entrepreneur, because I didn’t want to have a boss tell me how much I was worth ever again.
I’ve since learned that this experience is not uncommon. I also learned that as an entrepreneur, I have to negotiate and stand up for my worth even more often than before.
Enter Ashley Paré, CEO of Own Your Worth. Ashley works with women to help them negotiate raises and feel confident asking for what they want. Ashley is leading a workshop on career negotiation here at Groundwork in March, and she took a moment to answer a few questions about her work:
What motivated you to start working with women to advance their careers?
After many years working in corporate Human Resources I realized that I wasn’t making the type of impact I truly desired in my career. Being in HR, I supported the growth of many employees and leaders over the years but it wasn’t until I hit my own roadblocks that I realized how our systems aren’t necessarily set up to support women and minorities in advancing and earning equal pay. Ultimately, through my own failed attempt at negotiating for fair pay, I realized my passion was to empower others to successfully navigate the corporate world while also owning their worth, being confident, and following their dreams and passions.
What do you think are the main things that hold women back when it comes to negotiating a raise?
Ah, this is a biggie! The main thing I see in my work that holds women back is fear. Fear of hearing “no”, fear of hurting the relationship with their boss, fear of potential negative consequences for speaking up, fear of asking for too much, and fear of saying the wrong thing or not knowing what language is appropriate in their “ask”.
Ultimately, what holds many women back is lack of self-trust. I see many women, myself included, that have a hard time fully trusting in themselves that no matter the outcome, even if the outcome is a fear come true, they will be okay, they will persevere, and they will be resourceful and find a solution that works best for them.
When it comes to negotiating a raise within your current organization, the stakes may feel higher because you have already built relationships with your co-workers. However, the longer you wait to ask for what you want the more you begin to build resentment and frustration. By taking action and making the ask you receive the information you need to make the best career decision for you. Your contribution is important– give your company the chance to show up for you.
Can you share a negotiation success story from one of your clients?
I believe you have the most leverage to negotiate before you accept a new job offer. I’ve seen clients increase initial job offers up by $30,000! Once you’ve been working with a company for a couple of years the negotiation process can feel more political and it may have real constraints around timing, budget etc. Whenever I work with a client who is negotiating an internal raise or a promotion we devote a lot of time to building a case and considering the timing of the ask.
A client of mine based in San Francisco had taken on additional responsibilities over the previous six months so she initially planned to ask for a raise. After building her case and recognizing her worth in the marketplace, she decided to ask for a promotion and raise! She was working on a few different projects that would complete over the summer so in late spring she approached her boss and proposed a promotion plan.
Together they agreed if she met certain objectives she would be promoted with a $30,000 pay increase in the early fall. It worked! She prepared her ask and enrolled her boss in helping her achieve her objectives in support of not only her career growth, but the growth of the company. She was promoted to Senior Product Manager in October of 2018.
Join us for a special evening with Ashley on March 6. She’ll lead an interactive workshop and teach you tactics to successfully negotiate and advance your career. More info and registration >