How Your First Salary Negotiation Can Literally Change the World
I won’t be the first to tell you that women don’t like to negotiate for themselves. We prefer negotiating on behalf of others and we’ll do anything to avoid appearing greedy or selfish. I want to turn that thinking on its head and show you why negotiating for yourself is the least selfish thing you can do.
Imagine you’re a recent college grad living at home, and employed in a clothing store making $10 per hour, or $1,733 per month. After six months on the job you’ve been tagged as someone with mad skills. You go to your manager and ask for $15 per hour with a promise to mentor new hires, and your manager agrees to $12. You’re now making $2,080 per month.
Since you’re living with your parents, that little bump might mean the difference between just meeting expenses and paying the monthly nut on your college debt, and saving enough to move out into a shared apartment in a year or so. It might also mean that you agree to meetup with friends for a bite to eat once in a while and not feel so guilty about it.
Another six months go by, and you’ve been promoted to manager at $16 per hour. You’re now making $2,773 per month.
Suddenly your savings get a wee bit more real. This additional cash seems to unlock your capacity to visualize your future. You see ways to parlay your experience into roles that make use of your education AND your job experience. You land a job as a customer service manager making $43K per year. You move into an apartment with a roommate. Your parents are relieved that you’ve finally launched. You’re relieved that you’re literally and figuratively out of the basement.
You start reconnecting with friends and growing your network. You volunteer on the weekends to walk dogs at a rescue shelter. You even donate $50 to Heifer International. And you start to invest $100 per month in an IRA.
(BTW, According to the Motley Fool, if you start saving at age 22, and you invest your savings in the market until you're 67, that $100 per month—assuming a 7% return—will be worth $1,657,765.)
You're now imagining your future with both blue-sky thinking and strategy.
In case you missed it, your first ask and subsequent asks benefitted you, yes, but also your parents, your friends who have missed you, and the future of the furry friends you are so passionate about.
In case you missed it, your asks (and your parents' generosity) allowed you to avoid adding to the burden of the welfare system, and yet your tax dollars supported that same welfare system for folks who need it.
In case you missed it, that tiny donation you made to Heifer International just made it possible for a family to move out of poverty.
Now, extrapolate a lifetime of asking and here’s what you get: everything that money can’t buy.
Vision, significance, accomplishment, contribution, joy, passion, community, connection, responsibility, collaboration, change, strategy.
Above is a list of your values. A lifetime of asking allows you to put your values and into action and turn them into strengths, and those strengths deployed benefit you, your employer, and everyone in all your circles of influence.
Negotiating your first salary (and any future ask) has nothing to do with selfishness or greed or even money, and everything to do with the possibilities that money unlocks.