Do This When You Find Out Your Coworkers Make More Money Than You
Ahhh, the murky world of salary negotiations. Chances are you’ve scrolled through entry level salaries for jobs you want, read up on tips for how to get a raise and honed your brilliant elevator pitch. But what if, even after you’ve done all that, you find out a coworker is making more money than you for the same or a very similar scope of work? Whether you suspect the gap has something to do with your gender or not, chances are you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. That’s why we asked an expert to weigh in. Alexandra Dickinson is the co-founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting firm that helps women ask for what they deserve — which in many cases is, well, more money. Here are her best tips for what to do if you feel like you’re being paid unfairly.
1. Take a beat. Alexandra says that if you’ve just found out a coworker is making more than you for doing the same work, and you’re feeling more than a little upset, that’s completely understandable. But make sure you sit with those feelings for a bit before doing anything about it. “You might feel angry, jealous, offended, confused or even sad or humiliated,” she tells us. “Allow yourself to process this new information and experience your reaction to it before taking any action. Most people have a fine-tuned sense of what is fair (think back to sharing your toys on the playground), so finding out that someone who does the same job as you makes more will violate that sensibility.” She recommends giving yourself a night to sleep on it, and then reassessing your plan of action in the morning.
2. Do your research. “Find out what the industry standards are for jobs like yours. Salary.com, Glassdoor, Idealist, SimplyHired and Fairy Godboss are all good starting places. But dig deeper: Start talking to your friends who work in the same industry, former colleagues who’ve moved on to other companies and second or third degree LinkedIn connections to get a sense for what’s reasonable. The more credible information you can bring in with you, the stronger your case will be,” Alexandra says.
3. Know your BATNA. Alexandra says that stands for “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” and is the path that you could take if you’re not able to reach another salary agreement. “Strong BATNAs don’t just jump out at you; sometimes you have to work to create them. Maybe you get a competing offer from another company, or you start freelancing on the side. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business. Decide what your most viable option is — the knowledge that you have a plausible alternative will give you more confidence to have the conversation with your manager.”
4. Negotiate smartly. It might be tempting (and rightfully so!) to march into your boss’s office and yell about how unfair this treatment is. And, of course, it is unfair, but you’re more likely to see the results you want if you can take a step back and negotiate well. “When you’re negotiating, make sure to ask questions to understand your counterpart’s point of view and demonstrate that you care about organizational relationships,” says Alexandra. “Considering your counterpart is something that’s easy to overlook, because you could get caught up in your own goals, but it’s essential as a female negotiator. You’ll have more success if you can explain why your requests make sense in terms of their priorities.”
5. Be brave. “It can be scary to contemplate bringing up something as sensitive as your salary, let alone that you’re underpaid,” Alexandra admits. However, she “would encourage anyone who doesn’t want to rock the boat to reconsider. Staying silent with the knowledge that your coworker makes more than you for doing the same job will breed resentment and decrease your motivation.” In other words, put on your best #girlboss face, and start negotiating.
Have YOU ever found out a coworker made more money than you for doing the same work? Tweet us about it @BritandCo!
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.