Nice girls finish last

In a world where I’m hard-pressed to name a single female millionaire who didn’t inherit her fortune from her daddy, the WaPo article on “Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling” (via Tiff) reminds me that we will work until we fall into our graves, and we could have at least afforded to live better, if only we asked.

Although differences in starting salaries are usually modest, small differences can have big effects down the road. If a 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman are offered $25,000 for their first job, for example, and one of them negotiates the amount up to $30,000, then over the next 28 years, the negotiator would make $361,171 more, assuming they both got 3 percent raises each year. And this is without taking into account the fact that the negotiators don’t just get better starting pay; they also win bigger raises over the course of their careers.

The overarching messages of the article, though, is that women who negotiate more are viewed less favorably than men who demand a bump in pay. Meaning, *gasp* people won’t think we’re still NICE if we want to be paid what we view is a fair price.

One thing I’ve seen with all the dating-service surfing is that men my age tend to be in a higher income bracket. Now, of course, I don’t know what they really do for a living, and in this Internet age, they could have multiple streams of income. But when they’re younger than me and making more, well, I just hope they’re lying. 😉

But especially after having been without a job for awhile, I tend to be more of a “What? You’re not firing me? Awesome. I’ll take whatever.” But then I also know to never ask what anyone else is making because I’d probably go nuts if someone who worked fewer hours and produced less quality stuff would get compensated better because they’re supposedly part of the swinging dicks club.

Chew on this:

Women working full time earn about 77 percent of the salaries of men working full time, (Carnegie Mellon’s Linda C.) Babcock said. That figure does not take differing professions and educational levels into account, but when those and other factors are controlled for, women who work full time and have never taken time off to have children earn about 11 percent less than men with equivalent education and experience.


I vaguely remember meeting her at a cocktail party or a fund-raising event. I knew I liked her for a reason. 🙂

Anyway. I only did salary negotiations once in my life. And I was labeled a pain in the ass. (I believe that was the formal title.) I was SO underpaid, even for the industry, and they pretty much earmarked me as a problem child from that moment going forward. Meanwhile, I was professional about it, did my research, dressed up for the discussions, etc. And got screwed with my panties on, thankyouverymuch. I had some amount of victory, as I did get $2,000 more than they were planning on parting with. But I walked out feeling like everyone wanted a thank-you gift, like it had come out of their personal pocketbooks.

I had an informal discussion about my salary demands going forward at a different job, and while I thought I was shooting for the moon with my initial request (given how poorly I’d been compensated till then), the joke was that, “Hey, that’s ALL she wants? OK, then!”

So girls, strap on a set and ask them for more money, just like they would have no problem asking you to come in earlier, stay later and work weekends. So what if they don’t like you? You’re not in this to make friends; you’re not in this to simply make ends (try to) meet. “They” say not to make your life all about your work, but that IS what determines what level of comfort you can afford.

It’s days like today that remind me why the feminist movement is still necessary in this country.

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