Women have a very strange relationship with money and I really wish we would start acting like men -- yes I said it -- I wish women would start acting like men when it comes to demanding that we get paid what we are really worth.
Although women have made great strides bridging the wage gap, we still have a long and winding road ahead of us. Did you know that women who hold MBA's leave approximately $1 million on the table in the course of their careers? That's right, 1 million dollars! Imagine what you can do with that kind of money -- the list is endless.
This significant loss of income creeps up on women. It begins when we get hired right out of business school. We are paid perhaps just a little less than our male counterparts -- which the young female hires may or may not be aware of. If the women don't know that their newly minted MBA male counterparts are being paid more, of course they cannot do anything about. But sometimes women do know about this inequity, or find out about it shortly after they begin their new jobs. And with this discovery what do many women do? They ignore this pay inequity by chalking it up to the following sentiment(s): "Oh well, its not that much more money so it's no big deal"; "I don't want to be seen as being ungrateful or anything." Or: "Well maybe he has some skill I don't have (which he more than likely does NOT) so I don't want to say anything." In other words, women allow this paid difference to go uncommented on -- even though it directly impacts their bank account! Honestly, this blows my mind!
Having worked with male and female executives for over two decades, I can honestly tell you I have never, and I do mean never, heard a male worker express the above thoughts when faced with the knowledge that a colleague (of any gender) was getting paid more than they were for doing the same, or very similar job. Furthermore, I cannot image a male worker ever even having this type of mindset!
As male and female workers continue to climb up the corporate ladder, the wage gap widens with each promotion and/or assignment. Why? Because women allow it -- often by silently sitting back and refusing to say anything that will rectify the situation. Sure, maybe you complain to your spouse and/or your girlfriends, but you wouldn't dare speak up for yourself to your boss or the appropriate personnel in HR because, well, you know, you don't want to appear as being too greedy or too pushy or have them think for one second that you don't appreciate the salary you do collect! So the inequity continues to grow until it reaches $1 million dollars over the course of your career!
NEWSFLASH ladies -- M-O-N-E-Y is not a four-letter word! We are all working for financial compensation. Which is not to say we are not working for a myriad of other reasons, perhaps all of them quite altruistic and/or self-serving, but don't kid yourself for one minute -- we should be getting paid what we are worth! And unless we come up with a better arrangement, that worth takes the form of m-o-n-e-y!
The next time you think you are underpaid or want to ask for a raise, do your due diligence and then strategically go to your boss and request one -- without apologizing. If you begin to worry that you will be seen as being too greedy or aggressive, remember two thoughts. If you don't truly believe your work is worth the raise you are requesting, you surely will not be able to convince anyone else of it either. So be damn certain you have the mindset you need to state your case with the facts and figures, at the appropriate time in the appropriate manner! Secondly, remember what I said earlier -- I have never met a man who thought he was overpaid! Yet, you and I both know plenty of them, don't we?
Take a page out of the guy's playbook and advocate for yourself to get paid what you are worth!
Dr. Patty Ann Tublin