A few years ago I was hired as one of two writers on a team. The job kept me happy, gave me confidence, and brought a sense of purpose. When the appraisal cycle came along, my manager shared a spreadsheet with some self-reflection questions to help me describe and quantify my outcome.

As I read through the sheet, I noticed another page and opened it. This page contained salary and hike information on it. It also had a detailed breakdown of the salary details of the other writer. My manager had mistakenly shared this document.😅

I perused it thoroughly. The other writer on my team was hired on the same day as me, had the same qualifications, similar work experience, and even the same level of degree from the same university as me. But they were being paid double, and was set to receive a 15% hike as per this document.

My stomach roiled and many feelings coursed through me, but the first one was shock. I was shocked that the company had the resources to pay so much. I was also angry, because the salary I was getting at that time was a non-negotiable offer, and so the thought of negotiating didn't occur to me. If the same conditions applied to this writer, it was still a fantastic deal.

As I marinated in the sorrow of this hard truth, I realised that there was one difference between us. The other writer was MALE.

My manager revoked access to the document and shared a new one without the salary info, but it was too late. My sense of purpose had already started waning. I didn't confront my manager because I didn't know how to, and frankly I was heartbroken.

Since then, in every interview I ask about salary bands in the first call. If it's lower than what I want or deserve, or has no room for negotiation, I prefer to withdraw from the interview process. I negotiate hard and get what I want. I'm known to be expensive as a freelancer and job seeker, and I don't shy away from asking for what I want. I've worked too hard to get here.

Many women believe they can never get paid as much as their male counterparts because of such experiences, and are stuck in a cycle of dependence. It keeps women from trying, and forces them to limit their aspirations. Men on the other hand are forced to shoulder financial responsibility without ever expecting anything from the women in their lives. The result is a bitter family stuck in a loop they didn't choose to be in. Welcome to patriarchy—it affects all genders. 🥲

If you're an organization, please don't hand out pink teddy bears and flowers on International Women's Day and assume your job is over. Instead, spend the year talking about pay parity transparently in your organisation, offer hikes and bonuses where it is due, consider women for leadership roles, conduct workshops on sexual harassment and inclusion, and stop looking at maternity break as a holiday. Stop offering us low salaries. Women, please negotiate, and negotiate hard.

#equalpay #internationalwomensday2024 #writersoflinkedin

How do we ask for what we want?

A few years ago I was hired as one of two writers on a team. The job kept me happy, gave me confidence, and brought a sense of purpose.