by Lawyer Working Girl
As most of you may remember, a few months ago I got a promotion. When I was in the boss's office being given the news all kinds of thoughts were running through my head, but mainly I was thinking "How much is he going to offer me??" When he told me, even though I was hoping for a little more, I didn't ask. There was something about the way he said it that made me think, "They are not budging from that number, so don't even ask." For weeks afterwards I kicked myself for not at least asking for more. After all, I will never know until I ask. Turns out though, that another (male) colleague who was promoted to my same position did ask and they flat out said no, so my intuition was right. They weren't budging. That made me feel a lot better.
Over this next year I plan to work hard so that when my next evaluation comes up I will have several reasons for why they should give me a decent raise. Next time, I'm quite certain that I won't hesitate to ask for what I think I'm worth...at least I hope. A Washington Post survey reported that women are 85% less likely to ask for a promotion than their male counterparts. In order to prepare myself and to build up my confidence to go in and ask for the raise I deserve, I think the best thing is to know exactly what goals the company has for me for the year and then exceed expectations and beat those goals. I think if I meet the goals they have set, then they have the upper hand and are more likely to deny my request for more than the standard raise. If I beat their expectations, I think I have the upper hand to say, "Look at what I did this year. I deserve more."
I'm not stranger to asking for more money. At the first firm I worked at after law school I also settled for the initial offer they gave me. Once I got in and had worked their for 9 months, I realized that I deserved more (and my bank account NEEDED more). So I sent an email to the partners stating that I wanted to meet with them regarding my salary. I wrote down a list of points as to why I deserved a raise, such as already assisting and mentoring some of the newer associates when they went to court (and I had only been at it 9 months), as well as covering my own cases and sometimes covering others cases too. I was honest with them, I just needed more money to be able to meet my expenses. At the end of the meeting, they said they would consider everything I said and get back to me soon. I thought that meant I would never hear anything about it, but surprise, surprise, about 2 days later, they sent me an email saying that they were giving me a raise. And the amount of the raise surprised me even more! It was more than I expected. I actually convinced them that I was worth them investing more money in me. I can't tell you how great that felt, and not just because I would have more money, but because it meant that they felt that they needed me and that they wanted to keep me happy. Three months later on my one year anniversary, I received another raise! I think that was a first in firm history -- getting two raises within the first year.
So now it makes me wonder, was it easier for me to go to my partners back then and ask for a raise because they were fellow Working Girls? Will I be as confident going to my current male boss with a demand for a raise? Working Girls, have you ever had to demand a raise from your boss? Did you find that it was easier to ask a boss of a particular sex? What tips do you have to offer other Working Girls who might be ready to ask for a raise?