What it do besties! I feel like I haven't talked to y'all in awhile. So let me give y'all some updates on my life. I have been making career moves that have kept me growing professionally and financially. Both are important for me - professional growth aids in my marketability and financial growth supports the increase in my coin. As a mom of two tiny people who cost more than they weigh, every penny earned is 32,000 pennies spent. How Sway?! And guess whatttttt? I have increased my annual salary by 45% in just under 18 months. Yes. Forty. Five. Percent in under 18 months! As Uncle Too $hort said, “Get it calculated do the math.”
I appreciate an uptick in my coin, so I am sharing how I was able to make my salary grow. These are 3 super easy things that you can do right now! You ready?
- Take Risks. Imma be honest with y'all. I avoided taking risks because I was comfortable. I worked at the same organization for over 10 years and because I received promotions and salary increases I did little to get more. I felt like I was good at my job, but there was a voice inside of me saying that I was good because of the organization, those around me, and only because I knew the needs of the company like the back of my hand. I diminished my expertise. When in fact, I was good because I was good. Yea. I said it! I was good because I was good. Once I realized that, I started venturing out to see what other opportunities were on the market. I interviewed for a position that required me to stretch my knowledge but I was confident I could excel at the job. And guess what? I interviewed and got offered the job the same day. That risk and stepping out of my comfort zone allowed for my first significant salary jump. It is important to know when to take a risk and to push yourself to the next level.
- Know Your Worth. No matter what industry you are in, you have to do self-check at least annually to assess is this where you want to be professionally, does the pay make sense for the work you are doing (not the work as described on the job description but the actual work you do daily), and what steps you plan to take to progress your knowledge. If you do a self-check, you will know what the market value of like positions are at similarly sized organizations, know what impact you have made within the company, and know how to use that information to get what you want. Which is ultimately a salary that is reflective of your worth. Let's be clear. You are the only person who can do a self-check so be honest gawt damnit. If you have not done what it takes to move your salary, then develop a six month plan and hold yourself accountable to the plan. Reassess after the plan has been seen through to decide how to proceed. Way too often we equate time dedicated to an organization to readiness for the next step in your career. Nah sis, you can be mediocre as hell and not be ready to professionally grow. So many managers don't push their employees to be better. Often times this leads people to believe that since they have been in a position for 3+ years, they must be doing well. Your career is your responsibility so proactively seek feedback so that how you see your worth aligns with your employer's.
- Negotiate. This ties into point #2 of knowing your worth. Because an offer is made or salary increase is awarded that does not mean you don't negotiate for more. Do you know that only 7% of women attempt to negotiate their salary? This is far different from men, about 57% men make an effort to negotiate. What in thee hell?! Ladies, please negotiate and start the conversations early. Don't wait until an offer is made before salary comes up. Most employers post the salary range on the job board. If they don't, look them up and get a sense of their annual budget. 501c3 organizations are required to share the 990's which provides you with easy access to their financials. You can use those numbers to get a sense of money prioritized towards compensation. Or you can be a boss and just ask. I suggest asking after the first interview. "This job is directly aligned with what I am seeking and I very excited about the potential of working here. It would be helpful to know about two things, what the next steps look like and what is the salary range tied to the position?" If the salary range is too far off base negotiating is likely a waste of time. But if the range is close to where you are hoping to be - negotiate. If you are the right person, they will either meet you at your number or close to it. Again, do your research and know what the market is for similar roles. Don't ask for $100,000 salary for a Coordinator level position because yo mama told you you were special. Fam, that's not how it works. Companies want to know what impact you will have on their bottom line and that's it. Speak to that.
Now that you have been armed with three easy ways to increase your salary, go forth and use them wisely. I will be starting a new job in a less than a week. I negotiated a three week transition instead of the standard two weeks and a higher salary. Go in and kill your interview so that way you have leverage to make those asks that align with your needs and your worth! Let's light 2018 all the way up!