I Negotiated, and It Worked out Better than I Imagined

Recently, in an effort to pay off some debt, save for big purchases, and keep something on my stay-at-home mom resume, I got a job subbing at a child care facility.

I’ve worked with kids before in many different capacities and I have two kids of my own, so I’m highly qualified for this job. It’s also one I’m excited about because it has the best perk: I get to bring my kids with me if I need to (and I do…at least the younger one).

I know the people who work there, and they are great, so I knew going into this that I’d be working with a great staff.

This job checks a lot of boxes: it’s highly flexible, childcare isn’t an issue, and it may open other doors for me in the future. The only thing that wasn’t great was the pay.

You can negotiate successfully, and it might turn out crazy awesome.

Somehow, in all of the conversations I had with the great woman who manages the childcare, we both failed to bring up what the job pays. So even though I knew it wouldn’t be much–this is subbing in child care, after all–I was a little surprised at just how low the pay was, despite my qualifications.

So I asked, “Is this negotiable?” And you know what? It was.

It turns out that I was the FIRST PERSON who ever asked, but when I did, the answer was “yes.”

Negotiations scare the hell out of me. I can look back at jobs I had in the past where I failed to negotiate at the beginning, and I kicked myself for it later.

I’ve read some crazy statistics about women and jobs, and that motivated me to negotiate for myself. This article in The Atlantic  is especially illuminating, citing that women apply for promotions that they are 100% qualified for, while men will apply for a promotion that they are only 50% qualified for.  

It’s something called “the confidence gap,” and as I read this article, I found myself nodding agreement at all the anecdotes and statistics–I’ve had too many experiences of talking myself out of applying for a job or asking for more pay in the past.

I’m 100% qualified for this job.  There was no way I was going to talk myself out of asking for my experience and capabilities to be acknowledged through my paycheck.

So even though I had dreams about how this might play out for a few nights leading up to the meeting, I did it anyway.

As one of my favorite bloggers, Ruth Soukup, would say, I did it scared.

But the point is, I did it.

I went in knowing that a huge pay hike wasn’t realistic. I wasn’t asking for something crazy. I was asking for my previous experiences to be acknowledged by getting paid more than the base pay.

Because, damn it, if a man can apply for (and get) a job that he is only half qualified for, then ask for more money to boot, I surely can ask for a bump in pay when I KNOW that I am very qualified! 

As the conversation went on, something equally crazy and awesome happened.

A dear friend who also subs at the same place began to be mentioned. No longer was I the only one recognized as highly qualified for the job–she was, too.

So when the conversation was over, not only had I negotiated a pay increase for myself, but I had also managed (inadvertently) to negotiate the same pay hike for my friend! Say what?!

That, my friends, is serious girl power.

I did it, despite feeling nervous.

I kept telling myself that the worse anyone can say is no.

But they said YES–and it worked out better than expected because our amazing staff acknowledged (without my prompting) that there are other highly qualified subs on our staff.

I don’t think that it is usually a good idea to try to negotiate on someone else’s behalf, but it goes to show that you never know what will happen if you try!

If you’ve never negotiated for a pay raise, what has held you back?  

Read on, my friend...

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