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If there’s one thing I hate more than confrontation, it’s confrontation that has anything to do with money. I want to crawl under a rock anytime salaries, wages, or budgets are brought up. Unfortunately, I can’t turtle my way out of conversations about money, and neither should any woman. That’s why this week on The Everygirl Podcast, we’re speaking with Jennifer Justice, former entertainment lawyer for Jay-Z and Beyoncé and founder of The Justice Dept.
Jennifer has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of women who are underpaid and overworked in male-dominated industries. She has a wealth of knowledge (pun intended) about wage negotiation tips and tricks. Why should we be making the conscious, informed choice to negotiate our salaries? Read on for Jennifer’s answer, and check out this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for more.
Why you should be negotiating your salary
Advocating for your own worth makes you a better asset to the company
When you’re offered a new position, it’s a big deal. Odds are that the company you are negotiating with has sifted through several candidates in order to land on you. According to Jennifer, one of the main reasons why salary negotiation is so important is because once an employer has decided they want you to be a part of their company, they are going to want to do everything possible to make sure that the deal is sealed. “Hiring people takes a lot of human capital time and effort,” Jennifer said on The Everygirl Podcast. “If you’re not advocating for yourself, are you going to advocate for the company?”
The wage gap is real: negotiation is your way to help close it
PSA: Women are 200 years away from closing the wage gap. Of course, much of this unfortunate statistic has to do with systemic sexism; however, Jennifer advocates for salary negotiation because she knows that when individual women fight for higher wages, the more capable they are of changing that system. “We’re not asking for enough, and we’re being underestimated and underpaid,” she said.
When you advocate for higher wages for yourself, you have more opportunities to support other women, buy women’s products, and put money back into what Jennifer refers to as the matriarchal economy. Salary negotiation is about more than just your own finances; it’s also about closing the wage gap, one step at a time.
Jennifer Justice’s top negotiating tips
If possible, negotiate over email
According to Jennifer, asking for more money face-to-face, or even on a Zoom call, can make you lead with emotion. Her recommendation is to discuss potential options and offers over the phone with your employer, but if negotiation is needed, tell your employer you need time to think about it. Then, actually do take some time to think about it, and communicate your thoughts in a well-composed email so you can lead with logic rather than emotion.
Act as if you are negotiating for someone you really care about
Sometimes, it can be easier to advocate for others than it is for ourselves. Jennifer suggests imagining yourself negotiating on behalf of your friends, family, significant other, or even your pet. “Ask yourself what it is in your life that you love more than yourself. For me, it’s my kids,” Jennifer said on The Everygirl Podcast. “When someone is trying to take advantage of you or get too much out of you, they’re really doing it to that person you love so much.”
At the end of the day, if you are being underpaid for the work you are doing, you will have less time to put into the things and people you love. Whether that’s time with your family or resources for your kids (or pet, or even your passions!), being underpaid will affect many areas in your life. Remembering this while you go about the negotiation process can help put things in perspective.
Ask for all the things, not just a higher salary
Unfortunately, higher wages are not always something that you can count on during a negotiation process. Budgets are budgets, and as much as you may want to break the glass ceiling with your salary, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. Jennifer recommends presenting an alternative to higher wages, such as higher benefits.
Jennifer even suggests asking for a different title as a trade-off for salary when negotiating. “You need the title for wherever you’re going next,” she explained on The Everygirl Podcast. “That actually speaks to what you’re going to do, versus the salary, which the next company’s not going to know about.” Getting a better title for your job, even when you might not receive a salary increase, can set you up for success in the long run. As Jennifer points out, negotiating is all about creating a brighter future.