I became invested in learning and teaching negotiation for two (2) reasons: my need for equality and my personal interest on women’s empowerment.
Negotiation and empowerment
It has been lauded that the act of negotiation gives women agency therefore ultimately gives them a sense of empowerment and personal fulfillment.
As a practitioner and a forever student in conflict management theories, I seek out worshops and classes to learn from other professionals and perhaps even improve on my own practice. I am thrilled to meet younger women at these meetings who are determined to negotiate their salaries. This gives me hope because those women will pave the way for future women who will follow their predecessors’ footsteps. No one ever did it for me, which is how I learned how to be my own champion in every single position I ever occupied.
And yet, while the conversation around encouraging women to negotiate is extremely high, it’s very disheartening to hear that there are still a larger proportion who argue against this need and others who question if they are positioned to do so. Doubt and fear seem to dictate this behavior. In a recent panel discussion, I heard one young woman ask: “Should I negotiate now (my salary) or am I just being impatient?”
My advice is to always negotiate early for the job that you want. What are you waiting for, a sign from the gods when you’re ready for a promotion or your supervisor to tell you what you’re worth? Your boss is not a mind reader and will not know what your needs are until you tell them. If you wait for them to start this conversation you may be waiting around for a really long time. And plus one thing women need to realize is that negotiation is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s a long-winding process.
I applaud all women who fight for what they think is a fair compensation for the work that they are putting in their jobs. Especially the ones who do it early in their careers. I strongly advise women to aspire to be more than Sheryl. Sheryl Sandberg that is how had to be prompted by a family member that she should demand for more money when Mark Zuckerberg offered her a job at Facebook.
Even in my internships and my first temp job I always asked for more money and I asked it early. I didn’t wait to be higher in the ranks to make the move. Neither should you. Start the discussion talks now.