I recently read something which says women still don’t get paid what their male counterparts do in many cases and it’s because we’re just not as competitive here in America. And someone’s solution to that was women should have to take a class in negotiation at school so they can haggle their own salary when the time is right. I was thinking about that and I was thinking it’s so much more than negotiation.
What Are We Worth?
I can negotiate with the best of them. As a matter of fact when it comes to matters of negotiation my husband actually defers to me. He would pay what they tell him to, but I learned differently. I can’t tell you how many negotiations I sat in on with my father as a child trying to get the right deal for a car or furniture or anything else which required negotiation. I will say I did learn from the best. My father has walked away from deals at the final hour just because he didn’t get everything he asked for.
So I’m pretty hardcore at negotiating. Quite frankly, my mom ain’t too shabby at it either. The most important thing when going into a negotiation is knowing what something is worth. Because if you know its worth, then you know you don’t want to go anything over that. So you start out low balling it based on its actual worth. But you never accept a deal that’s more than its worth.
So while the person who suggested we should negotiate our worth is right, the key to these negotiations is knowing what our worth is to a company. And that’s where things get sticky. How do you put a value on yourself?
That’s where I run into trouble. How do I value my work? I want people to hire me for what I do, but there are 50 other moms out there who do what I do. So I look at what they’re charging to try to be competitive. And truth be told depending on the job offer I have adjusted my worth because in all honesty at this point in time I’m just happy to be making anything.
Isn’t it funny, I wouldn’t settle for a price on a car that wasn’t fair, but I would settle for less than what I normally get paid to do something. The thing is it’s just really hard for me to sell things I think. I’m a much better consumer than I am a salesman. The fact that someone could walk away from my bottom line in a situation where I’m the one receiving the money is something I’m not comfortable with. I’d rather be the one who walks away.
So I have created a situation for myself where if it’s relatively decent pay I’ll take it rather than negotiate a better price. My thinking being I get my foot in the door and hopefully they value what I do and see that I’m worth much more than they’re paying me. Of course what they’re actually thinking is I’ve got myself quite the deal here and I’m not letting this one go. At some point it will boil down to ask for more money or leave the job. But I wouldn’t do it until I had something else lined up.
Bottom line is first things first is we need to decide on our worth and not waiver on it. After that negotiation is a breeze. Honestly, I might even be a step ahead of my husband in the negotiation portion of things. I don’t know how he would do negotiating a salary at work, this has never come up for him before. But considering I do the bills and he doesn’t know a whole lot about our finances I don’t know how well he would do at negotiating pay.
What do you think women need to make the same amount of money as men? The ability to negotiate? Understanding their own worth? Or just something else entirely?