Asking for What You Deserve: How to Negotiate for Yourself
“Women do not negotiate for themselves as often as men or as effectively as men.” says Sheryl Sandberg. Women experience a “taboo” about asking for a bigger salary, better bonus, special project, promotion, or flexible work schedule, whereas men don’t hesitate to ask for what they deserve. This panel features real-word advice from experienced women and men on how to ask for AND get what you deserve.
The session was
fully packed in a huge Ballroom. I personally am at that point in my career
where I could relate a lot to this session. Angela started the discussion with
1. Describe a time when you
should have negotiated and you did not?
Jane: By the year 2000, I have been in this
industry for a long time. I had a 6 month old son, and was pregnant again. I
was working based out of Boston which happens to be the city my family settled.
My work involved a lot of travel and at that point of time, I couldn’t travel
anymore, and wanted a position in Boston. This desperation made me negotiate my
salary $50,000 less than what I should have been making. Adding to this, I did
not care to negotiate my title. So, I was hired as the Head of IT. I later
realized that I should have negotiated. So, I went back to my manager and
negotiated, and got the title as the CIO of the company. The main lesson I
learnt here is not to let external factors such as pregnancy impact you when
making career choices. Always consider misc. costs such as student loans,
travel expenses like car mileage, gas etc. Understand your benefits package
clearly and calculate the details of the entire package when you negotiate your
Justin: I started working for HP right out of
college. I later got an offer from Intel. Back then, HP had no concept of
stocks while Intel, on the other hand, offered 1000 stocks. So, I called my dad
(my chief financial officer!!) and asked him for advice. My dad advised me not
to get stocks and to ask for an additional $1000 in salary either!!! Few years
down the lane, I realized how much I lost because of that decision.
2. Is there a right way or a
wrong way to ask for more?
Mercedes: There isn't. You should be very clear
upfront about what is that you want and by what time. Be very prepared before
you have that conversation with your manager or HR. Make yourself invaluable
for the employer. Decide on what is your [x] factor and what is it that you
care the most about. Is it the title? Or the pay? Or the location? Or the
domain? If you hear No for something that you asked for, you still know that
you've asked enough. Follow-up after a few months to check the pulse of the
Jane: You need to ask! It is well known that
men usually come and ask for a raise, while women ask their managers to offer
help instead. We need to realize that work is more objective than school. If
you feel you cannot negotiate yourself, get an outside council for
understanding how to negotiate yourself.
Stephany: Well! I can definitely tell you what
not to do- "The company needs to do right by me" - Do Not show a
sense of entitlement when you speak to your team, especially your manager. It's
not ok to say "I deserve it". Be humble because bad behavior will
never get rewarded in this corporate world.
Mercedes: I would like to add another thing to
this discussion. Do not go in with your personal problems. Have that
professional etiquette when having these negotiation discussions. Don’t get
emotionally tied to an outcome. If you don’t get what you deserve (say a
title)- don’t get attached to the outcome. Practice to speak the right words
before an interview/ review discussion. Use the resources availabe on
Glassdoor.com, salary.com, getaraise.com to do the research and math. Talk to
other people in the industry above you and around you, and ask them how they
3. What are some effective
strategies that you used or people in your org have used to negotiate?
Jane: My advice on this front would be- take
your 10% and focus on you and your career, and think about self-promotion. Let
people know what you're doing and the success of that project. As women, we
tend to say "we" a lot. Start saying "I". Start
making/having advocates who can negotiate for you in your organization.
Stephany: Gain visibility. Do something every
day early on in your career that goes beyond your comfort zone. For example,
sitting down with people who you do not know. Volunteer for something even if
it is outside your territory. Be thoughtful and have clear and clean data that
backs up your claim.
4. What are some ways through
which we can start to cultivate some culture at work where women are
encouraged to ask more?
Stephany: Culturally, sometimes you might feel
that the company is too fast to slow down. Be the thought-leader and do some
research on what other companies are doing. Discuss with your peers if you are
unable to bring it up directly to your manager.
Justin: In technological companies, it is about
the technology. Have an agenda as to why are you doing this job. Many people
usually let their careers be managed by events. Most people who
change/influence the world have an idea and follow that idea devotedly. Once
you have an agenda and follow it, promotions and salary raises will follow when
as long as you are on that path.
Stephany: Map out your careers including the
money you want to make when you are say 40 years old. In the early stages of
your career, tell your Director/CTO/Manager that you are young and hungry and
would like to learn more. Ask them if you can shadow him/her. But make sure
that your day job gets done. Start observing everything that he/she does. Take
advantage of the 1:1 times you have with them like travel time, lunch time and
get acquainted to them. You will notice that this will have immense benefits in
the long run.
5. Can you share some tips on
the words I should be using while negotiating?
All the panelists:
Be confident. Relax and have your shoulders back. Keep a constant eye contact.
Know in your heart what you are supposed to say. Have the explanation of why
"me". Be energetic and enthusiastic. If you get a 'No' the first time
at the gate, schedule another meeting and follow-up. Publicize the work you've
done. Tell your manager, "I'm very much excited to join the team, but can
I get a $1 more".
Hope this discussion
helped you prepare yourself for your next big interview/ review meeting.