Know Your Worth: Getting The Pay You Deserve
Am I the only one who feels like when your young; people have a hard time paying you what you are worth? Whether it be in corporate or the freelance world, it happens. And it's extremely frustrating, especially when your trying to establish yourself! I've had experience with this in both settings. At my first job I was paid hourly, at the "trainee" rate. Which by no means was glamorous, but we were supposed to get a raise every time we reached a new phase in the program. Which was suppose to be every 3 months. Well, that did not happen. I was basically working six days a week, and running an entire store practically on my own.
Every time I would email and meet with my Area and Regional manager, it was always an excuse about why I couldn't take the test to move to the next level. But there was never an excuse from me about doing back end work, managing staff, making schedules, and handling payroll. All while I was technically still in a "trainee" position, with the same pay rate. I eventually got fed up, and went to them with an "ultimatum" raise my position and pay or I'm leaving. At the end of that conversation we could not come to an agreement, and that made it crystal clear for me. I won't stay anyway where I'm not valued.
So, I did the only thing possible to do. Leave! When I started out freelancing, I felt free. Because I could set my own prices, and services according to what I was willing to provide. Don't get me wrong, I still have to deal with with price negotiations but not at the same level. Moral of the Story: Don't let anyone, or any company short change you. Your better than that.
Am I the only one who feels like it's hard to negotiate a salary offer? When I got my first full-time position I was so happy to finally have stability for a while that I was willing to take any offer that the company gave me. And I did. It wasn't until I started realizing how much experience I brought to the table and after I added up my bills and expenses, I knew something had to give. Since then I've never made the mistake of settling for less. Here are a few key things I keep in mind when negotiating my salary or a pay raise:
1. Do your research! Look up how much the average person in your position makes in your city, your state and across the U.S. Websites like Glassdoor are good resources to use when you are looking to negotiate a raise.
2. Think about what you bring to the table! Keep track of everything you've done for your company or during your past experiences that would validate your stance for a salary increase. This is your time to pat yourself on the back and show why you deserve some extra coins in the bank.
3. If all else fails, show them your bills! I know that sounds a bit vulnerable and forward, but be honest. If you work hard everyday and can't afford to maintain your household, you may want to ask for that raise. Give them proof! If you can't live a comfortable lifestyle that can affect your work ethic, which in the end isn't good for the company either.
4. Keep your experience in mind! I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that as young professionals we may not have the years of experience needed to get the salary we desire. Remain humble and remember that we may have a lot of years ahead of us before we get that six figure salary.
Out of all of the tips above, I have to constantly remind myself of number four. Remain humble. Everyone before us worked hard to get to where they are now; so we aren't exempt. It may take us a little longer than what we expected to get the pay we want, but it's coming!