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Make the Ask

October 20, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that women are not compensated the same as men. But it’s also a well-known fact that there isn’t a lot of money in sports especially when you’re starting out.


Going through school I was aware of both these facts, but I had also worked in the Career Management Center in school and constantly heard how important is was to be able to negotiate a salary, raise moving expenses etc. In my mind, it couldn’t hurt to ask, the worst someone could say is no, right?


That’s the mentality I had when I got offered my first job. I was stoked about finally getting an offer, but at the same time I knew the salary just wasn’t going to cut it for me. I decided to make the pitch to my supervisor for a higher salary. I was denied. To be honest, it was a sales position so the base salary is low with the idea you will make it up in commission and bonuses. Looking back, I understand why I was denied.


I was proud of myself for making the ask and felt empowered, even when I got turned down. My boss wasn’t surprised or upset when I asked for more money, he just explained why it wasn’t possible and respected my pitch, especially since I was going into a sales position. I didn’t feel disheartened. I was appreciative that I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone so early on in my career even if it didn’t pan out at the time.


Fast forward to the next year. I got two job offers at the same time. The salaries only varied by a few thousand and the moving expenses were also comparable. I was so grateful to be in a position of opportunity like this but I knew in the back of my mind I needed to make the ask again. My parents and friends weren't exactly supportive- they knew I had been dying to get back into social media and thought I was lucky to get the offers and shouldn’t jinx it.


But I wasn’t lucky. No one gets two job offers out of luck. If I went back with a request for more money and was denied I was confident it wouldn’t be long until another offer came my way. I made the ask for a higher salary. Denied, again. But that’s not the end, my new supervisor respected my ask and expressed that he wanted me on the team and would work with me. He offered to increase my moving expense.


I have a friend who recently was in a similar position as I was a few months ago. She received two offers and was torn between the two companies. When we were talking it out she mentioned one company offered her more money but she felt more at home with the other company. I encouraged her to share her thoughts with the company she connected more with. Let them know, “Hey, this is where I want to be, but someone else has offered me more. Is there any room for negotiation on the salary?” She was weary because it is a tough spot to be in. She felt like she was nipping at the hand feeding her. I reassured her by letting her know if she felt at home there, there’s a chance they felt it too and could move some things around to accommodate her. It worked.


As women in a male dominated industry, throughout our careers we are going to face a constant uphill battle in asserting ourselves in the workplace. The women before us didn’t get here by being timid. They did things that made them uncomfortable to show they belonged and it paid off. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve, and don’t be put out if you don’t get it the first time around.


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