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Negotiating your salary

Negotiating your salary

by Anonymous

My experience of negotiating was uncomfortable yet exhilarating. It was nerve racking yet I felt courageous. I was trembling in the inside yet I felt liberated. Without a doubt it was one of the most nerve racking things I have ever done because I did not want to be perceived as difficult. My fear lay in how I was going to be perceived by others. My fear was not in the potential decline or refusal of my negotiation but it was in being seen to be ‘difficult’ ‘proud’ or ‘arrogant.’ I feared that if I asked, my colleagues would not like me anymore.

But I pushed through these fears because I was convinced that I was asking for a just thing. I also felt that the pay being offered did not reflect my value and the impact I have made through the school over the years. But it was my strong conviction that helped me endure my whirlwind of emotions.

Be aware of the following whilst negotiating:

Subtle emotional manipulation. During the process of negotiation one of the interviewers said to me ‘we don’t do what we do (teach) for the money.’ Although this is true we do not, this had nothing to do with my request. I was not asking because I was greedy for money I was asking because the money offered did not match the school context, responsibility and increased accountability. But when I heard that, I started to feel bad and question myself. At that moment the confidence that I spent so much time in increasing by psyching myself up plummeted. I then had to remind myself why I was asking.

The uncomfortability. It is an uncomfortable process, it made me squirm. Therefore, always have a strong why to anchor you through the whirlwind of emotions that you will feel. Looking back the process was so worth it. Even if my request was not successful I wouldn’t have felt like I lost. In fact, I gained something so much more than an increase of salary and that is boldness and confidence. That process literally killed the people pleaser in me.

The thing in me that avoided confrontation died. My internal limitations within died. I almost felt like a new woman.

Human nature. Human nature by default is selfish. The position I went for was an internal position. Therefore when I was faced with some resistance in terms of my request I was shocked. I was disappointed as I thought the person would understand why I was asking, as we have a good relationship. But she could only see from her perspective as a leader. Luckily, I am very light hearted so I took no offence to it but it did open my eyes to the fact that ‘everybody is out there for themselves.’ Some people may perceive your request as a personal attack. Again the emotional manipulation of ‘you should be grateful for this opportunity, especially because you are young’ may ring to your ears but cling to your anchor!

People will feel threatened by your boldness in negotiating but when this happens do not shrink back! Don’t be surprised if the threat comes from another woman! I could see in one of my leaders' eyes regret! That she wished she had the boldness in negotiating her pay, as my boldness and reminded her of her shrinking back. But I felt that her admiration formed into jealousy and therefore I felt she gave off some forms of hostility. Not too long prior, she had accepted a role and was offered a pay that was not aligned to the job role. Although she tried to negotiate she did not push as hard as I did and as a result I could see she had regrets.

Negotiating pay was such a liberating experience, that I will continue to do it as my career progresses. Thinking about it now gives me an adrenaline rush, whereas, before negotiating, the thought alone would make me squirm.

So, woman you have nothing to lose but everything to gain! Yes, my request had been granted but I had gained something way more than my request and that was confidence. Be brave. Be daring. Be bold. You will surprise yourself.

Lastly, I want to thank #WomenEd. Without #WomenEd I wouldn’t have even known to negotiate my pay, I didn’t even know that that was possible, I was completely oblivious to that opportunity. I also want to thank @ViviennePorritt for helping me improve my negotiation letter.

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The Headteacher in me.


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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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