Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Knowing your value

Have you read Mika Brzezinski's book "Knowing Your Value"? If you are a working women I highly recommend it. It was something D bought for me when I was thinking about how to best move forward in my career and it really helped me put things in perspective.

Mika's story is that she discovered that she was making significantly less than her co-worker, for doing the same job. Instead of blaming the company she decided to look at how she had found herself in that situation. In both her self-exploration and her research into woman in the workforce there seemed to be a common thread of women under-valuing themselves. Of course this isn't true for everyone, but women tend to not ask for competitive salaries. They don't ask for raises. They don't feel comfortable negotiating. They have trouble standing up for themselves. And I certainly fall in this category. Asking for a raise is something I dread doing. But it's so important.

Even though I read Mika's book years ago now, there are things she said that have really stayed with me. One is that managers are looking to get their employees for as little money as possible. Helping the company make better profits is part of a manager's job. So, if a manager can get you for a lower salary, they will. Therefore you need to be your own advocate when it comes to your compensation. The other thing she noted is that if, as a woman, you are the breadwinner of the family, then what you make directly impacts your family's quality of life. If you don't ensure you are making a fair wage, then your family's finances are not as strong. As the current breadwinner of my family I think of this a every time I think about my career path. Mika also touches on tricks for negotiating which I have used myself. 

I think this book is a must read for any women, even those that aren't working. It touches on some of the key differences between men and women and how that can effect our social interactions. Valuable stuff to keep in mind!

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