Valuing Your Badassness: how to make sure you are getting paid what you should (and what your male counterpart would get paid).
Today on the blog we are introducing you to two of our new potential contributors (and internet friends of mine) to the blog, Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark (otherwise known as the duo: Alie and Georgia). They are self proclaimed “Party professionals and cocktail connoisseurs” and best friends who, after posting their viral video for a jocular cocktail called The McNuggetini, went on to create more palatable libations for both TV and the web. They followed with their debut TV series “Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia, ” and can be seen weekly on Cooking Channel’s “Unique Sweets.” They also host the popular comedy podcast “Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia.” These girls are fun, know how to make a mean cocktail, and aren’t afraid to let their inner badass out. Take it away girls.
In a perfect world, a boss underpaying you would be punishable by said boss’ worst selfies being published on the front page of HuffPo. In an even more perfect world, we would know our value and not be afraid to ask for what we deserve. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world and it can be downright frightening to assert yourself…plus your boss has probably deleted all those terrible selfies anyway.
We’ve all been in the position of knowing we deserve more (more money, more time off, more sticking to your job description, etc) but for those of us raised to not make a fuss and to go with the flow, asking for such things is akin to leaping into a shark infested swimming pool. It’s good to start off knowing that it’s very unlikely the person you’re asking is going to fire you or hate you or spread a nasty rumor that you loathe puppies.
When you remind yourself that the worst that can happen is to get a “no, ” it becomes a lot less scary to assert yourself. And to turn that “no” into a positive, maybe it’ll be just the thing you need to go forth and find a job that values you and asking for what you deserve. In the meantime, here are our suggestions for how to kick ass, take names, and get paid like a dude.
Do Your Research
Just as you would never walk into a Tinder date without doing the minimum amount of gentle stalking (Facebooking, asking friends, checking the sex offenders registry), you shouldn’t walk into a meeting without arming yourself with facts. Craigslist is a good place to start. What are starting salaries for similar jobs? Is the job description way less insane than yours? What is the minimum amount of experience needed? Now take those facts and compare them to your job. Do you have a crazy amount of experience that would be hard to find in another candidate? Have you been kicking ass in this position for a long time? Has the market changed since you were hired and the value of your position gone up?
The more facts you have, the more confident you’ll be and the more authority you’ll command. When in doubt, ask a friend in a similar position what they would ask for. Preferably a dude, because history shows us they’ll ask for more (huge eyeroll).
State the (Embellished) Facts
If your livelihood is in a field that’s less defined, or you’re applying for a job that’s newly created, it can be hard to know what to ask for. As party planners and cocktail creators, we get asked to host events and make signature cocktails all the time. Sometimes those asking don’t understand the work that goes into such an undertaking (hint: a lot). Start by stating your services and what comes with them. Be specific and detailed, so they understand how much you’re contributing and that they won’t get your expertise with a more basic option. This is a good time to brag about yourself: social media following, jobs you’ve done in the past and how you helped make them successful, and people or companies you’ve worked for. If you’re too humble to brag about yourself, ask a good friend to describe what you do and how badass you are as if they were telling someone they wanted to set you up with. It’s easy to ignore all the little things you bring to the table when they’re just part of your awesomeness, but these are assets to those who get the benefits of said awesomeness.
Speak With Authority and Without Apology
When Maura Tierney won her much deserved Golden Globe for Best Actress, the first thing she said when accepting the award was to call herself “four eyes” and apologize for her glasses. She apologized because she needed help with one of the five senses, you guys! This chick just beat out four other very deserving women and her first thought was to apologize for herself! Being humble is one thing, but putting ourselves down and apologizing for ourselves tells others that you don’t understand your own value, so why should they? When you speak with authority and project an air of confidence, you seem like someone who doesn’t need to be babysat and coddled. And who doesn’t want a competent worker? If confidence isn’t your strong suit, try conjuring up the most badass woman you can imagine. How would Angelina Jolie or Morticia Adams present themselves? Would they slouch or be too afraid to make eye contact? Probably not. Take on their persona and run with it. Nobody but you knows you’re playing a role.
Know When To Work For Less Than You’re Worth (sometimes this does pay off)
The big, bad word in freelancing these days is “exposure.” Here’s a secret that could get get us shunned from the freelance community: we’ve worked for just “exposure” in the past and also accepted way less than what we would normally ask. We automatically think of fat cat Big Business stealing from the little guy when we hear stories of higher ups asking for work in exchange for getting your name out there, and yeah, there are many examples of that being laughably audacious and straight up ridiculous. But like everything in life, there are exceptions to that rule. Here are a few:
● You don’t have a ton of experience in the field and getting your name out there will help your resume and give you some traction in the community
● You’ll get other perks by working on this project, such as freebies, followers, networking opportunities, and ins at other (paying) gigs
● It’ll give you leverage when you kick major ass and they want you to work for them again in the future. True story: we once wrote one piece for a publication for “exposure.” The next time they asked we said we couldn’t do it for free, and they offered us an amount we would have NEVER had the guts to ask for
Know When To Walk Away When You Don’t Feel You’re Being Valued
All that said, sometimes you just gotta walk away. If you accept what’s being offered, will you feel taken advantage of? Resentful? Straight up pissed off? Is every email you send and meeting you attend and alarm clock that goes off in the morning going to make you feel bad about yourself and undervalued? In that case you have our permission to “NOPE” the hell outta that job. Sometimes walking away is the only way to convince yourself that you deserve better.
Now go forth and be the badass we know you are. And tell us your own stories of badassery in the comments! Everyone loves a success story.
*** Photo Sources: Desk Photo, Alie and Georgia: Cooking Channel