If there is something, jumping into the workforce by the age of 17 has taught me is to speak up for what you want.

A little back story: As soon as I graduated high school, that summer, I decided that I wanted to make my own money and I also discovered my true love for clothes. I did not have a car, I didn't even have a savings account, I just had my body and my mother in the back of my head telling me to focus only on school. The problem is that what I wanted out of this, the learning experience and all that jazz no one could give me but myself. So, I walked blocks to get the nearest bus stop and clock into my shift at Banana Republic. There I learned what busting your butt really was. I also learned what I brought to the table and how I could use that to my advantage for personal growth and income. With that being said, all the hard work and sacrificing was not done in vain. These small learning experiences prepared me for higher paying jobs, how to play the game and win.

See, negotiating pay is very nerve wracking, not going to lie, I played every kind of scenario in my head. For example: “what if they tell me to leave and replace me?” “what if they say no?” Now working successfully in the corporate world and having negotiated a couple thousands in the last 4 years I feel like I would share my tips on how I got there.

Every employee no matter what the title is or what they do is important. Work environments are made of many different components and everyone is there to meet the common goal of making the company succeed. What makes you unique? Is it the way you manage projects so well that mistakes are nearly impossible for you? Is it how you make the work space a comfortable place to be in? Let’s be real, anyone with your similar experience can do the job, but they are not you. I like to think that the reason why I stay at jobs for a good while and get a pass on some things is because of my personality (I have actually been told this). Heck, at my job interview for my current job we even forgot we were at an interview but we were cracking jokes left and right. Perhaps luck? No. It’s called being yourself. Know your value and use it for greater good.

This is something very easy to do if you are in sales, marketing, legal field.. Ok.. what am I doing, this is something easy to do for everyone! Make a powerpoint with graphs and call a meeting if you have to. It shows that you are a hard worker, determined and most importantly, serious about your craft. Save every email, note, voicemail anyone has ever left you in which they appreciate you and your hard work.  I have a friend that actually drove to the main headquarters of her employer (which is in a total different city.. Like hundreds of miles away) just to discuss her raise and evaluation. It worked, she got a healthy raise. Ladies, being assertive in what you want does not make you a bad person. You will be shocked at how many women, myself included, have been terrified to demand decent pay when your male counterparts are walking in there with a number in their head and not leaving with anything less.

The internet is your best friend here. Research research research! See what others are making for that same job title. Upon searching for salary ranges you will typically look for salaries within your city/state. There will always be a low, average, high salary you can base yourself from ( I will be inserting an image for you below). I would say to always base yourself from the average salary. Of course, this depends on experience too. Your current salary could be in the “lows” so you will probably want to aim for the “average” or worst case scenario $2-4k less than that amount. If you are in the average salary, try to aim for halfway to the high, and if you really are at the comfort zone you want to be in, aim for that HIGH! There are many factors here; ex. How big is your company? Can they afford you? Do you have a degree in this field? If you don’t have a degree, is your experience up to par? Only you will know what direction to take this. No matter what, make sure it is a number that you are comfortable with.

This one is important and perhaps plays a major role when asking for a raise. There can be many conflicting things happening all at once. Perhaps you are thriving at your job and you feel like it’s time, but, the company is not doing so well. What do you do? I would say wait it out. If you truly love your job and the people you work with, wait a couple weeks or 2 months max. If you feel like you cannot wait any longer, have a talk with your boss and see what they can do for you, i’m sure there is a solution. If there isn’t, I would suggest to expand your wings and start applying elsewhere. At my last job, my previous boss flat out said she would not be giving raises that year and that was my cue to start searching. I was so amazed when I found my current job with a starting salary of $7k more than what I was making! Always keep your options open and know where to look for a plan b. Let's say you get a "no", ask why you received that answer. Perhaps it's a somewhat reasonable one and you can strike a deal with your boss to revisit this talk in 3-6 months. Typically upon starting a new job and not getting what I have wanted in the past, I suggest to revisit the conversation within that time frame. Many jobs give 6 month and 1 year reviews, anyway! Don't be shy to ask.

If you have made it this far, thank you! My goal here is to share my personal experience with you and hope that it helps you! Are you currently in this situation? Have you been? Tell me about it! I also love learning from you guys! Two minds brainstorming are better than one, in my opinion!

xo, Michelle

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