Sheconomy – 02.12
Negotiate your salary or rather go to the dentist’s?
Many people – and unfortunately predominantly women – react with a pained expression on their face at the mere thought of negotiating a salary.
Why is that?
Three factors seem to me to be the main reasons behind this dismissive attitude:
- the desire for harmonious relationships
- understanding the financial situation of the company
What am I really worth?
Let’s be honest, many of us don’t want to face the salary negotiation because we are secretly afraid that we are not worth our salary demands. Maybe our own contribution was not that important to the company after all? Probably the new employee, who ‘throws herself’ into the tasks and completes everything in no time, is much better and possibly even cheaper! Maybe some of my colleagues complained about the extra work they had to do when I was absent for four weeks due to a surgery. So, is it better to leave it alone and put it off?
- The first important and probably most difficult step is to separate the evaluation of one’s own work from one’s self-esteem. That’s all well and good, but how do you go about it – after all, you can’t chop off that part!
And yes, of course, you know that too many emotions are damaging in the workplace. So, what to do?
First of all, relax and calm the autonomic nervous system – whether with jogging, yoga, music, reading, theater, breathing exercises, or cooking doesn’t matter – the main thing is to feel good and relaxed while doing it.
- Be aware that everyone has an inner critic who wants to protect you from danger, but usually exaggerates his work beyond measure. It can’t hurt to read a few articles about this.
- Avoiding an excess of emotions is most likely to succeed if one prepares for the salary negotiation as meticulously as if one were finishing the tax declaration, furnishing a new apartment, applying for a job somewhere else, or planning a big celebration.
- Research the market value – because it’s not about me as a person, but about my job in the company: read the collective agreement to see if you are correctly classified and make salary comparisons in online portals. Karriere.at, glassdoor.com, kununu.com, stepstone.at, Statistik Austria and the portals of the newspapers provide valuable tips on what you should earn in your job. Just please note that Vienna pays differently than Burgenland and that the individual industries also pay differently.
- Ask acquaintances which salary they would ask for in a comparable position and how they would approach it. And consciously look for those who don’t react completely the same as you do – because that makes it difficult to step out of your comfort zone and grow professionally.
- Why not ask several men, because it’s refreshing to get to know other points of view. And often you will realize that the first step doesn’t have to be such an insurmountable hurdle.
Harmony in the workplace is extremely important to me
- Should you demand more than your colleagues earn? If they’ll find out, do you get picked on? Excuse me, has anyone ever been bothered when a person in the team takes on more responsibility or takes on new challenges or manages critical projects on their own? And why shouldn’t this person then also earn more?! Because added value is also worth more money!
- What if my supervisor doesn’t see my added value the way I do? This is certainly the biggest fear that many people have before entering salary negotiations – because then, after such a misfortunate conversation, one will not only feel like a loser in negotiations, but also in the job. But beware: there is a very simple antidote to this: agree with the boss months before the salary interview on the topics and goals that need to be worked on or achieved for the company.
- And another thing to take the emotion out of it: don’t put yourself under pressure. In every negotiation, you learn to create a win-win situation with other people – and if it didn’t work the first time, at least you got valuable ideas for the next negotiation. Carol Dweck talks about the fact that successful people don’t think in black and white categories, but tell themselves: ‘Not yet …’, i.e. it can still be done. With that in mind, keep at it and keep practicing. After all, the employer doesn’t want to lose its motivated employees – a replacement is usually incomparably more expensive than a salary increase – and a new employee would have to be paid the market salary for the position anyway.
My employer cannot afford a salary increase now.
- If this is the case, you can at least fix the increase now for the moment when things look better again financially – and ideally retroactively as of today.
- Or you can agree on an extraordinary bonus that will become due in 6 months – under certain conditions.
- Be sure to put it in writing and don’t get involved in verbal promises.
- And frankly, should your salary request be considered justified, but there is no money to pay it, then perhaps it’s time to look for alternative employments.