It's Them, Not You: Salary Negotiation

I'm going to be honest here.  

But wait, before I do that…

Sigh. Much better. I just burned a little bit of my bayabas (guava leaves) lavender wrap and turned on the kettle for some tea time. Bayabas are a sacred plant in the Philippines and when burned, it cleanses negative energies from the environment.

I don't know about y'all, but the energy has been feeling ripe over here. I've been working on a salary negotiation course for QTBIPOC that I plan to launch on April 1st, the first day of Financial Literacy Month. When I see the words “salary negotiation” what comes to mind, always, is “know your worth."

Now here comes to honesty.

QTBIPOC individuals do know their worth. It is the rest of the world that does not.

This is why the empowerment pump up in most salary negotiation courses miss the point completely.

I had a very traumatic salary negotiation experience. The TL;DR is I was offered a promotion with the expectation to keep doing my other position. I saw this as an opportunity to negotiate. I followed the playbook, made my pitch, and felt incredibly confident and proud of myself for “knowing my worth.” A week of silence goes by, which I didn't think too much of. Silence is golden! This was written in the playbook. I was totally going to get this promotion and maybe not the salary, but more equity, or vacation days, a bonus!

What came next was not at all what I expected from a woman owned company. I was told that the promotion was put on “pause,” that I put a bad taste in the executive teams mouths, and that I came off ungrateful.

I smiled, said thank you for the feedback, and walked out the office to the bathroom.

I spent the next 10 minutes sobbing my eyeballs out wondering what I did wrong. Did I not say I was grateful enough? Should I have smiled more? Did I self sabotage? Should I apologize?

 I looked at myself in the mirror and gave myself this look that essentially said, “This is not you.” Because it wasn't me. It was them.

I shared my experience with many other women and QTBIPOC friends in my life. I was not the only one with that kind of experience.

“I'm tired of these salary negotiation workshops telling me to ‘know my worth’ when I have each and every time. They don't know anything about my experience as a queer woman of color,” a friend shared with me this week.

I checked the numbers, already knowing what I'd find. There is an insane racial pay gap, gender pay gap, and LGBTQ+ pay gap. Within these pay gaps are also opportunity gaps. QTBIPOC individuals are less likely to be promoted than their white colleagues.

The issue is clear: it's them, not you.

You didn't self sabotage. You were grateful. You ARE worth it. And never, ever apologize for being worth it. Because you are.

Salary negotiation, or even pricing your business, is not just about knowing your worth. 

It's about finding those that do. I promise. They are out there.

My homework assignment of the week is to write "20 Reasons Why I'm Worth This Much Money.” I'll admit, I had a meltdown about this yesterday. I had already thought through my own numbers only to be told I was still low balling myself by not one, or two, but THREE people.

I know my ancestors sent those three people to deliver this sweet nudge to me. Sheesh, I hear y'all.

So now I call upon you, to deliver that sweet nudge too. Write those 20 reasons for YOU. It will serve as a reminder that you do know you worth.

Now go find someone, a client, a company, and/or opportunity that does, too. 

Until next time.