Negotiate Your Salary, Please: You Owe It to Yourself

How to Negotiate Your Salary

I’m a pretty flexible person.

If you want to spend half your income on rent, then I’m cool with that.

If you have an entire closet filled with fast fashion, that’s A-OK in my book.

But there’s one thing I’m a stickler for and won’t stop harping on people about: negotiating for more money when you get a job offer.

Why so serious, Luxe?

Because a 10-minute conversation asking for more money can yield thousands of dollars. Besides investing, is there any easier way to get exponential results with very little effort? To get big results with money, ideally you’d be working all three avenues: earning more money, reducing your spending, and then investing whatever’s left over. Your salary has an overwhelming influence on your financial life. It’s hard to get any traction if you’re making 30k for eight years in a row, right? For that reason, negotiating your starting salary shouldn’t be an option; you owe it to yourself to ask for more.

How many of us have complained about our salaries? And yet, how come more than half of us don’t negotiate our initial job offers? Why bother to negotiate when we’re just happy to get ANY job offer, right? Tell me if this sounds familiar:

HR Person: We’re happy to offer you the position of X at Y salary!
You: Yes, I accept! What’s the start date?

If that’s how you roll, then you could be leaving serious money on the table.

That was me, too, at first. And then I ended up making $2,000 less than my co-worker, even though we had the same.exact.job. I never wanted to experience that self-esteem blow again.

So I started getting a little bit bolder.

You Don’t Have to Be a Born Negotiator

Before you get the wrong idea, I don’t have voodoo magic skills that you don’t. Actually, I have quite a few “disadvantages” when it comes to asking for more money:

  • I’m an INFP on the Myers-Briggs scale. This is the personality type that on average makes the LEAST amount of money. Props to Bitches Get Riches for pointing me to that stat.
  • I’m extremely soft spoken. Guys, I couldn’t have a bulldog personality no matter how hard I tried.
  • I hate doing presentations at work. I’m always afraid that clients are going to ask me questions I won’t have answers for. Being caught off guard is my kryptonite.

And yet, 99% of the time I’ve asked for more money I’ve gotten it.

So how does this extra money really affect you? Like your investments, your salary compounds, too. If you wonder how my net worth got to be in the six figures, it’s not because I’m just skipping lattes every day and buying toilet paper from Amazon. (Although let’s be real, that stuff helps, too.) One big reason is because I’ve almost always asked for more money when I’ve changed jobs. These seemingly small amounts add up over time.

Real Negotiation Results

I’m not a self-proclaimed expert at negotiation, but I’ve gotten some real results:

Real Negotiation Results
Initial Offer What I Asked For What I Received The Difference
$25/hr $30/hr $27/hr $3900
$63k $70k $67k $4000
$56k $63k $63k $7000
$75k $85k $80k $5000

And at my last job when they offered 12 vacation days, I asked for 20 days, and I got 18. Those extra days of vacation are allowing me to go to far-flung places like New Zealand. A place that would have been impossible to properly tour with only a two-week visit.

Outside of the vacation days, that’s a cool extra $19,900. Let’s imagine we invested that and never touched it for 40 years.

After growing 6% annually in the stock market, that would have turned into over $200,000. Not bad for a few hours of work, right?

Chart from

So yeah, I’m never going back to letting some HR person take control of my starting salary ever again.

Three Truths About Your Salary

I realize that some of you may have never realized that negotiating for more money is even a THING. There’s an invisible game at work and if you’re not negotiating, here are some stark money truths when it comes to companies and salaries:

You can have the same job as your coworker and have very different salaries.

I used to think that everybody on the same level got paid the same. Man, that was naive of me. Mini story: I was sitting in my boss’ office one day when a piece of paper on her desk caught my eye–it had my name on it with my salary written underneath. Then next to my name were my two coworkers and their salaries. Compare these two salaries:

My coworker: 55k
Me: 73k

My coworker and I were in the same department and had the same exact job title. And yet, I made 18k more.

People who get hired after you might make more money than you.

At one job, there was a colleague who loved to complain how a new person in his department was making more than he was. In his eyes, the new person was less experienced and didn’t “deserve” more. There are various reasons new people get paid more than you: market demand, different experience, etc. But what incentive do companies have to pay existing workers more? My coworker had been working at the company for 9 years, and never asked for a raise, ever. He just expected management to notice his work and hand over raises. The truth is, the longer you stay at a job, the more likely your salary will stagnate. This is a fact of life. When it comes to your salary, in many cases, it’s not about what you deserve; it’s about what you ask for.

You can’t rely on companies to look out for you.

It’s a mistake to assume that companies are offering you fair compensation. An HR person’s job is to get a good deal on the best talent. That means that the only person you can rely on to look out for yourself is YOU.

Why Negotiation Is Not Negotiable

In case my examples weren’t enough, here are six more reasons why it’s so important.

It sets a baseline for future raises.

Most people will decide a “good” salary bump is whatever amount is more than what they’re making now. Imagine if you settled for $40k instead of $45k. All your future raises would be lower because of that initial offer you accepted.

Waiting to negotiate until they’re actually in a job is WAY harder.

It’s much, much harder to rally for a promotion or raise once you’re in a job. Since you’re already locked into the job, your employer now has no incentive to give you a raise. You have to fight for it by painstakingly documenting your successes, schmoozing with decision makers, and going above and beyond your job duties. Oh, and if you’re a mediocre worker then forget it. Contrast that to when you’re in the job offer phase: no one at the company has ever worked with you before, and yet they really want you to accept the job. You could be a crappy worker and no one would know. So all you have to do is just ask.

You can’t bank on annual raises.

What if your company institutes pay freezes, like some of my jobs have? Having negotiated my initial salary came in handy in these exact scenarios. And while the company may promise you a raise for next year, there’s no guarantee that’s happening again in the future.

Young women earn 90 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Everybody should negotiate, but it’s especially crucial for women and minorities. Do your part to close the wage gap by advocating for yourself.

Companies EXPECT you to negotiate.

It’s part of the hiring process and companies will never offer you their best package the first time around. There will almost always be more money in the budget than they’re letting on.

Negotiating makes you look good.

If I were a hiring manager and a candidate didn’t negotiate, I’d question whether they’d act in the company’s best interests when dealing with vendors. If they don’t advocate for themselves, will they advocate for the company?

Excuses Why People Don’t Negotiate

If you’ve never negotiated before, I get it, it seems scary as hell. I’ve heard all the excuses before.

“The Salary I Was Offered Is Already Higher Than What I’m Getting Now.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through this same exact scenario. It’s like my own personal Groundhog Day hell.

Scenario: Friend or roommate gets a new job.

Friend: Yay, I got a new job!
Me: Congrats! You negotiated, right?
Friend: No, the salary was already more than what I’m making now.

This logic seems harmless for the short-term: what’s an extra $2,000? But the trick with money is you have to consider the long-term consequences, too. So if you don’t negotiate, you’re not just out $2,000 as a one-time loss. If you stay at the job for three years, you’re missing out on the extra $2,000 EVERY YEAR you work there, so now it has added up to $6,000 in lost wages.

My roommate also still had school loan debt. Imagine what an extra $2,000 could have done to fast-track paying that down.

“I Don’t Want to Seem Too Greedy.”

Negotiating for your salary is not greedy; it’s part of doing business and standing up for yourself. If you’re afraid of looking greedy then you’re most likely going to be making less money than your coworkers. What would you do with an extra couple thousand dollars a year?

“I’m Afraid of Losing the Offer.”

This is a totally valid concern. If you’ve gotten this far in the process of getting a job, you don’t want to do anything to ruin your chances. But if you ask politely and are reasonable, it’s rare for this to sabotage you. And if a company does rescind its offer, do you really want to be working a place that frowns upon you standing up for yourself?

“I Don’t Have the Personality for It.”

You know what? I don’t either. And neither do my friends. And yet, we all ask for more money every time. You don’t need to have a dominating personality. In fact, I think a softer personality actually helps. That’s because negotiations are a conversation, not a war. They’re about reaching a compromise, not one side overruling the other. It’s asking, not demanding.

You Have More Leverage Than You Think

Negotiating your initial offer is the easiest way to make more money. Here’s why:
It’s one of the few times you have leverage over your company. When you get a job offer, you have to remember: this company has vetted hundreds of resumes, spent weeks interviewing, and narrowing down the candidates down until there’s just one person left.


They chose you over everybody else. They basically have a huge, corporate crush on you.
Because they’ve invested time in you, they don’t want to start over from scratch finding a new candidate.

You also don’t even have to give the company a reason to give you more money. Often times just asking if they can give you more yields the results.

Mistakes People Make When Negotiating (I’ve Done Them All)

I’ve made plenty of mistakes when it comes to my career, but here’s the silver lining: I’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to! Here are some of the most common missteps I’ve observed.

Saying yes on the spot.

Many people do this because they’re so afraid of losing the opportunity. Feel the fear, and then go and negotiate anyway. For the reasons I gave above, there’s a very high chance you’ll succeed.

Not knowing “your number.”

One time I went into a negotiation without having done any research or asking myself what my minimum salary was. The HR person asked me what salary I wanted to make. I hadn’t thought about it and so I blurted out a number that was a little higher than what I was making. A bump is a bump, right? Well, guess what they ended up offering me? The exact salary that I told them. Later I realized if I had done my research I could have asked for more. When it comes to salary, it pays to be thoughtful.

Revealing your salary first.

If you tell the HR person your current salary, guess what? You’re on your way to getting underpaid again. Now they know they can just tack on a few extra thousand dollars to your current salary to make it just appealing enough to jump ship.

Talking too much or overexplaining.

You don’t have to justify why you need more money. At least at first. The less talking you do, the more you’ll have the upper hand. Make a statement and then wait for the other person to respond.

Asking for EXACTLY what you want.

This one is super important. A high school teacher once said, “The art of negotiation is asking for MORE than what you want.” It’s stuck with me ever since. This means that if you want 60k, you ask for 65k or more. It’s a bargaining tactic and leaves both parties feeling like there was a compromise.

The Key to a Successful Salary Negotiation

Many articles give you good tips for the actual negotiation. I know because I’ve read lots of them before I went into an interview. Then I’d go into the negotiation and somehow still bomb. I realized that I didn’t just need tips, I needed more of a framework–the how and the what, and the when. The key to combatting all the mistakes above? Preparing ahead of time and knowing exactly what you want. I know it sounds so obvious, but it’s not something that many people intuitively think to do.

Step-By-Step Guide of What to Say and Do When

This guide outlines how I’ve gone about negotiating my salary, and what has worked well for me.

STEP 1: Before the first interview, prepare your desired salary range ahead of time.

In your initial interview, you might not be asked about your desired salary range, but it’s good to have it in your back pocket. Otherwise, it’s too easy to be caught off-guard and blurt out random numbers (that’s happened to me). Have the numbers you’d be happy with ready to go.

Find lowest salary you’d be happy with. Then increase that number by at least 5k, then add 15k to get the top of the range. So if the number is 45k, tell them your range is 50k-65k. You should never be the first to give them a number, but if you get pressured into it, because yeah, that happens, then this is the number you will provide. TIP: Do NOT base this number off your current salary. You could be underpaid and not know it. The number you come up with should be based off of the actual job you’re interviewing for. To find that out, consult the following:

You want to consult a couple references to make sure your ask is reasonable. For what it’s worth, I find the Glassdoor one to be the most accurate.

The important part is to go into it with researched numbers already in mind. Just in case.

STEP 2: The day before the interview, prepare your answers for the following questions.

Again, you might not be asked for any of them. For example, no one’s ever asked me what my current salary is. But you don’t want to be caught by surprise in case the questions come up. Being caught by surprise rarely leads to good things in negotiation.

What are you making right now?
Since this is opportunity is different from my current job, I’m expecting to be paid what’s fair for this specific job and my experience.

Yes, you’ll see you dodged the question. Hopefully, the interviewer will move on. If you feel trapped, give them that number you prepared before. Tell them I’m looking for “X range”. Try not to give them an exact number at this point. Otherwise, you run the risk of them offering you that number and not a penny more.

What salary range are you looking for?
It depends on the specifics of what the job entails. What’s the budget you have in mind?*

*I’ve asked this and flipping the question around on them has worked really well for me! Each time, the HR person hasn’t batted an eye and just told me the range.

Now print the questions and answers out or write them down on a piece of paper. I prefer writing them down because the act of writing helps me remember them better.

Mentally visualize yourself answering the questions. Picture yourself in the room, sitting in the chair, facing the interviewer, being confident and smiling a lot. Imagine it going swimmingly. Visualizing success is super important!

STEP 3: Play it cool when you receive the job offer.

You killed the interviews, and you just a missed call from HR. Holy crap, it means you got the job! Remember that job offer scenario before where you accepted right away? Yeah, that’s not happening anymore. Now you’re cool, calm and collected. Not over eager.

Job: We’re pleased to offer you the job at X salary!
You: Wow, I’m so excited for this opportunity and am so appreciative for the offer. So I can make sure I’m thoroughly evaluating everything, can I have a day to look everything over?
Job: Sure, let’s chat again tomorrow at 4pm.
You: OK, great. I’ll look for an e-mail from you with the info on the health insurance, vacation days, etc.

You hang up. And then you can go like this:
Love Actually GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Next it’s time to get serious.

STEP 4: Come up with your counter offer.

Remember, we don’t care if the salary they offer is more than what we’d be happy with. We ask for more no matter what.

Your next step is to come up with specifics. It will be easier for them to say yes to you if you give them a specific number to work with.

Sit down and come up with two plans. Here’s a starter list of things you can negotiate:

  • Salary
  • Vacation Days
  • Telecommuting
  • Bonuses
  • Stock Options
  • Signing Bonuses
  • Moving Costs
  • Company Car
  • Company Cell Phone

Plan A: What You Really Want to Ask For.

Based on your initial research, you should have a sense whether or not the offer seems within the market range. When you make your ask, ALWAYS start by expressing your enthusiasm about the job.

Scenario 1: If the number is BELOW your researched number, then ask for the top end of your range.
“Thank you so much for the offer! The team really seems like a great fit and I’m looking forward to making an impact. However, after doing some research, the market rate for similar jobs is more like X. Can we work to get to that number?”

Scenario 2: If the number is WITHIN your researched number, then ask for at least 10% more.
“Thank you so much for the offer! The team really seems like a great fit and I’m looking forward to making an impact. However, to make the jump from my current company I was hoping more for X. Can we work to get to that number?”

Note, you do not need to explain WHY you need that amount. Just ask.

Scenario 3: If the number is ABOVE your researched number, then still ask for at least 10% more.
“Thank you so much for the offer! The team really seems like a great fit and I’m looking forward to making an impact. However, to make the jump from my current company I was hoping more for X. Can we work to get to that number?”

Remember, you always want to ask for more than what you actually want. That way you can settle on your real number and it feels like a compromise.

Plan B: What You’ll Accept If They Say No to Plan A.

Have a minimum offer in mind in case they say no to your initial plan. What’s the minimum salary or vacation days you’ll accept? If they say no to 20 days, will you be OK with 15 days instead of 10 they offered?

These are starting points and you can adjust as you see fit.

STEP 5: Get the final offer in writing.

Make sure to get the offer in writing, and don’t make the mistake of giving notice to your current job until you have that offer letter in hand. The new job could promise you a work-from-home day but unless it’s there in writing it’s not official.

Risks When Negotiating Salary

For the most part, you’ll find that simply asking for more money in the job offer phase will work. However, there are a few exceptions.

  1. I’ve found limited opportunities for places that have strict pay grades, like universities, government employees, etc.
  2. If it’s your very first job, you might not have any leverage for asking for more, especially if you don’t have great internships under your belt. In this case, you may need to put in a year or so and then jump ship to a new job to get success.

However, in both cases, I would still ask, because it never hurts to try.

Final Takeaways

Your first time negotiating might seem scary, but, it’s totally in your best interest to try. Remember: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s that simple. And those “measly extra earnings” you dismiss will compound over time. If you’re polite, then the worst that will happen is they say no. Then you accept, learn from it, and keep practicing. And when you keep practicing, you start winning. No one’s looking out for you more than you. So please, don’t sell yourself short. Future You is counting on you.

What are some of your negotiation wins? Any other tips for how you’ve been able to successfully negotiate?

Image: Unsplash

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  • Lauren Howard

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m 22 and while my first salary offer was way more than I was expecting, it’s nice to be encouraged to ask for more when so many people try to brand millennials as entitled.

    • Hiya! It’s something I feel so strongly about–advocating for yourself. With that said, there’s definitely a fine line between demanding more and being entitled, and just asking. First jobs are tough, but make sure you ask for more at the next job!

      • Fortissimo FI

        Massive thanks for this article Luxe! This is my second time re-reading it and I’ve shared it with a few friends and my wife. I’m currently about to go in to a round of interviews and have found this extraordinarily helpful. Good on you for sharing such pragmatic and experience-based advice. I’m looking forward to writing up a post on how the use of this framework went for me!

        • Hey!

          I’m so glad you found this post useful. It’s something I feel so strongly about, I toiled many hours to make sure I could make it as practical as possible.

          Good luck on your interviews, and definitely come back and let me know how it went 🙂

  • I’m going to need to print this out and tape it to my fridge when my contract comes up for negotiation! I still can’t believe I accepted my current job without negotiating (it was a 15k increase over what I was making, so I just jumped). Next time, they won’t get me so easily! You rule, Luxe!

    • It’s a common mistake! But yeah, if they don’t bat an eye at your ask, it’s probably too low. You’ve got this next negotiation in the bag.

  • serenity

    I fell into every trap they set for me, like how much $ do I think such job would earn and taking the job right away after they offered it to me. 2009 was some desperate times for me lol. I ended up working at a job completely different than what Was posted. I worked super hard and blew them away 😜I was able to continuously get raises and even 2 big ones because I had pushed for it. Ive been here for 8 yrs now and my income hasn’t increased for two years. Not sure where to go from here. I like the job and I like having the seniority. But I’m maxed out on the salary part.

    • Trust me, we’ve all fallen for the traps. It’s frustrating because no one tells you about this stuff until it’s too late! It sounds like you’ve been a rockstar employee in your current position, though. Nice job on the raises and pushing for more. If you’re happy with the job now, then I’ve found getting another job offer is the quickest way to get a raise at the current place.

  • Frugal Hackers

    This is SO good. As a young shy woman, I didn’t feel comfortable negotiating my salary until 7 years of full time work. I didn’t understand how companies and hiring managers thought about salaries until I got to the other side of the table. In my most recent job switch, a 15 minute phone call got me $10k more in base salary and 50% more equity compensation. I practiced that conversation a bunch of times with Mr. FH at home to build my confidence, but I still felt like an imposter asking for more.

    • Yes, congrats on that successful negotiation! I feel you on the imposter syndrome. Sometimes I felt really bad that I made significantly more than my coworker, but at the same time, I also did more work than he did. And the more you start asking the easier it gets. It’s like second nature now. I think what’s motivated me the most is not wanting crappy workers making more than me just because they’re more confident. That’s the worst feeling ever!

  • I think I’ve said this before, but I have SO much regret over not negotiating my salary. And yes, because of that, I feel it’s affected my promotion + raise and also the raise I want to ask for this coming year. Sometimes I feel my only option to get to the salary I think I could have initially gotten is to change jobs! I actually believe in SF it’s now (unofficially) illegal for HR to ask you your current salary, so at least the anchoring factor is gone.

    I love your conversation examples. I know I’m supposed to be a professional and everything, but ummm…I have no idea how to speak like a professional or ask professionally for these things without sounding demanding/entitled. “Can we work to get to that number” is GREAT.

    • Asking for your current salary is illegal here in NY now, too. But I think part of the problem is that people would end up “anchoring” themselves to their current salary, instead of researching the market salary for the new job. I usually have just changed jobs, too! It’s been the quickest way for me to just make more without having to fight for a promotion/raise. But there were other leading factors for jumpship ship, so the salary bumps were a secondary benefit.

      Ha, yeah, it’s better to not be super formal about it and just sound like it’s a normal conversation! Steer clear of “I need’ and “I want” and you won’t sound entitled.

  • My Strategic Dollar

    Simply excellent article. As a manager of people, I can tell you 1) if you ask for an increase you’ll most likely get it and 2) I respect those that ask for increases or negotiate a starting salary. I don’t want to hire someone that won’t stand up for what they believe in or fight for what they want.

    • Hey, thanks! Yep, I’m right there with you. I expect anyone I’m hiring to try to negotiate, too. If they don’t then I’m disappointed. I remember I got an offer to go full-time from contract and I negotiated with my boss’s boss. My boss pulled me aside later and was like, “She said you did a good job negotiating.” So yeah, bosses expect this stuff!

  • This is a great post, and one I’ll probably share with my wife when she job-hunts. 🙂 I’ve been lucky with my last two jobs but will need to use some of these tips for my next endeavor.

    Worst that happens is they stand firm on their initial offer, right? 🙂

    • Yeah, totally. If you don’t try you fail every time. But most of the time when you ask for more, you’ll get it! Good luck to your wife–just no accepting the job right away! You have to make them sweat a little 🙂

  • I finished reading this article and realized that I’ve just sitting here nodding my head the entire time. Negotiating salary is so important – especially when starting a new job. You only get one shot at your starting salary and that’s the dollar amount every future negotiation and raise will be anchored to. Can’t afford to miss the opportunity!

    • Ooh, I got the elusive head nod while reading. Best compliment ever. I completely agree–you only get one chance to anchor that salary and you usually will get more just by asking. It never hurts to just try!

  • Molly

    I’m so passionate about salary negotiation, so I loved this post! I’ve never actually negotiated an offer because I’m still in my first job out of college, where I accepted a low starting salary because a) I didn’t know any better, b) it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway because I didn’t have any leverage to ask for more at the time, and c) I was just so relieved to have gotten an offer. That said, I do think I was offered less than I might have been because I fell into that familiar trap of giving a range, and low and behold, I was offered the number at the very bottom of the range I gave.

    BUT fast-forward two years to my second annual review. After doing great work for two years and empowering myself with a LOT of reading about salary negotiation, when I was offered a $4k raise (already a good bump since I was told I was one of two people receiving more than a COL raise), I countered and asked for a $13k raise. AND I GOT IT.

    There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not your negotiation is successful. I was really underpaid for the work I was doing, so my $13k raise only brought me up to the bottom end of market value (and they knew it). I also know that I wouldn’t have been successful if I had waited even a few more months to ask, because circumstances at our company have changed. The point is that you will never get what you don’t ask for, and you’d probably be surprised what you *can* get if you *do* ask.

    I’m a shy person in life too, but I’ve learned to be bold when it comes to salary! You better believe I will be negotiating my next offer when I finally make the jump out of this job 🙂 And I’ll use this post for some tips! I love that you wrote out that step-by-step guide. A framework is so valuable since I’ve never actually gone through that process.

    • Hey Molly,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. As you can tell, I’m very passionate about salary negotiation, too! And I would always be so, so frustrated every time a friend or roommate told me they didn’t bother to try. They didn’t see the longterm effects. So, if you missed out on the $2k increase in year 1, if you stayed in the job for 2 more years, you’d actually be out 6k for the entire time!

      Entry-level negotiations are tricky, because, like you said, many folks won’t have leverage. But it never hurts to ask, especially if you have good experience. I’ve had interns who have had 3 or 4 internships by the time they’re sophomores in college! I also had an intern who got a job offer in another department and I was like, “I just want to make sure to ask for more $.” She did and she got it without much fuss. But she also wasn’t a stranger to the company.

      Congrats on sticking to your guns and getting that big raise! Many people in your situation would have just taken the 4k, but you did the risky thing and got rewarded for it. Your story reminds me a lot of my friend’s raise, too. She got promoted and they gave her a raise, but she knew it was under market. So she went back and forth with HR and basically exhausted them. It got the point where her boss said to HR, “Just give her the money already.” But my friend had been working at the place for 8 years, and was critical to the department, so that was her leverage.

      Anyway, I’m so happy you’ve figured this stuff out early in your career!

      Congratulations on your successful

  • When I joined my company for my first post-graduation job, it had a standard and transparent compensation scheme that applied to everyone, including the company President. So not much room for negotiation there. But, when the company got acquired and re-org’d, I was part of the group lobbying to combat pay cuts, which ended up boosting me from a 5% cut to a 10% increase from my previous cash compensation. Just goes to show: organizing labor works.

    • Yeah, in some companies where compensation scale is transparent, it can be really tough. So awesome you were able to actually increase your pay by 15%! Was this part of a union thing? Would love to know how about how this group effort thing works.

      • Not unionized. My office is just full of bunch of high-skilled professional service workers who really aren’t afraid to complain. Since we all were used to everyone knowing how much we made from our earlier transparent compensation scheme, a bunch of us shared our new salary package info with each other and used it to (1) argue that we were all taking a systematic pay cut and (2) help individuals who were being egregiously underpaid with the relevant salary info. Nobody threatened to strike or anything, but I think management quickly learned they’d see high turnover if they didn’t bump up pay.

        • What a powerful bargaining tool! Really interesting how some of your coworkers were still paid differently even with the transparent system. I kinda wish my secret superpower was seeing everyone’s salaries printed on their foreheads.

          • To clarify, what I meant was: some people who were paid the same under the old transparent system ended up being paid different amounts when we moved to the new cut-salary system (so some people got a pay cut, squared). I can’t say I know exactly why certain people were paid so much less under the new system, but it obviously didn’t look good.

  • Such a great article! I too did the mistake of not negotiating a few times an initial salary offer. Turns out I thought I was getting a huge increase… while I was not and it’s kind of impossible to get back on a *normal* salary without switching jobs after that!

    • Thanks, FFG! We’ve all made the same mistake, ha! But yeah, once you don’t negotiate the initial offer you can’t go back. Gotta jump ship or fight for a raise.

  • Piggy

    Sweet crispy jibbers this speaks to me on a DEEPLY spiritual level. And props to you for writing one of the most complete breakdowns of the negotiation mindset I’ve EVER read.

    • Hi Piggy, welcome back! This stuff is what I’m sooo passionate about, because it’s really one of those things that’s like, “If I can do it, you can too!” Very rarely is that true, but in this case, it is. And appreciate the props! I spent a lot of time on this one, because it felt like the mindset was one of the hardest things to overcome. And as your blog is always chocked full of handy facts and amazing snark, that means a lot!

  • LynnKell

    I’ve been working at the same company for the last 3 years. Switched careers and now I’m in a more responsibility and “higher pay” position. I’ve been underpaid for the last year, 6 months with my previous administrative salary and after the increase, with less amount than entry level for the industry.

    You’ve given me that last small push for me to write down all the evidence I need to re-negotiate a way higher increase at the end-of-year evaluation. Truth is that this topic has been eating me inside but I chicken out on actually making a fuzz and being “that girl” that demands more…. But hell, I’m pretty much awesome and I’ve ran out of fucks to give. Time for them to catch up and stop considering women advocating for themselves a nuisance.

    • Hi,

      Glad this post resonated with you somehow! I love your new attitude. No one should ever be worried about being “that girl.” And if so, then “those girls” are exactly the ones who are getting what they should. And there’s definitely a way to ask without being hostile and such. Schedule that meeting with your boss, and if they say no, schedule a follow-up. Don’t let them brush you off!

      Can you look for a new job in the meantime? That way, there’s almost always an easy increase. Money by itself is never the only factor when deciding to change jobs, but I’ve seen another job offer being used successfully in getting a promotion.

      Good luck!