I did it! I did it! I asked for more money!
Remember when I wrote this post about how women almost never ask for more money? Apparently we don’t. Apparently we often keep quiet instead. And I understand why. I mentioned that the thought of asking for a raise is really scary for me. That usually when someone pays me for work I’ve done, I am thinking, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much!” as opposed to “Seriously? I am worth more than that!” Even if I’m worth more than that. It’s hard to tell, sometimes, how much I’m worth in money. I mean, maybe I think I’m worth a million dollars, but I’m a writer. No one is going to give me a million dollars. No one is going to give me very much at all. So it’s more a “every little bit counts” type thing than a “I can’t believe they don’t value me more” type thing.
That is no excuse not to ask for more money.
But even after I wrote that post, I didn’t notice that I had an opportunity to ask for a raise, in my own life, right then. I was thinking more abstractly– like, women, out there in the world– other people– you guys should think about this…I should probably think about it too, later…
And then something funny happened. I found out that someone I know who does work for one of the same companies I do was being paid more than me. She mentioned it casually, and suddenly I was furious. And embarrassed. Here I was, writing about raises instead of asking for them. I felt like I was falling behind. I felt like I’d been sleeping and oblivious and possibly still wearing suspenders that had gone out of style five years ago (what? Are people not wearing suspenders these days? No one?).
I took a lot of deep breaths. I composed five versions of an email. The last one said “I think my work is high quality.” Sound confident. Sound like you think you deserve it. I thought I deserved it. I hit send.
They gave me a raise. It wasn’t what I asked for. It still wasn’t very much money. But it was more money. I thought that maybe I should fight for more– push them. But then I accepted. Enough for one day. The “thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” was coming back.
Bear bragged about my raise to his family. I kept saying, “Not that it matters! It’s not like I make enough money for it to even matter!”
But it does matter. Being able to ask for a raise is a big deal. It’s scary. It’s vulnerable. It’s important to learn how. Maybe one day I’ll even have to try it face to face. And after I die of awkwardness and fright and pee my pants and make the wrong facial expressions and clear my throat fifty times, maybe I’ll give it a shot.
I think this is progress.
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What have you done that’s really brave recently? And if it was asking for a raise, do tell! And if it wasn’t, tell me anyway.
Unroast: Today I love the way I look in this picture:
Even though I sort of look like I’m from another planet. I miss my buzz cut sometimes.
P.S. Someone told me they asked for a raise after reading my post about it. HELL YEAH.