it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

I was job hunting for a few months, largely because I was vastly underpaid for my qualifications, experience, and the work I was doing. After months of radio silence, I got an email from HR for one of my applications to set up an interview. One thing I want to mention is that the email was in my spam folder. Folks, make sure you check your spam regularly when you’re job hunting!

In that initial email, they asked me what salary I was looking for. Prior to reading AAM, I would have given a number that likely would have undersold myself for fear of being screened out if I went too high. Instead, thanks to years of reading your advice, I said, “It’s difficult to come up with an exact number, since my salary expectations depend heavily on many factors, including job expectations and additional benefits and compensation (e.g., vacation days, sick days, health insurance, etc). Would you be able to provide your budget for the role so I can see if we align in our expectations?” They came back with a 10K range, and even the bottom of the range was aligned with my expectations!

After going through a series of interviews, I received a job offer (in large part thanks to all of your interview advice!) The offer was in the middle of the 10K range they had cited, and had a start date of about 3.5 weeks away. Again prior to reading AAM, I probably would have taken that offer, even though the start date wasn’t at all ideal for me.

Instead, I asked for the higher end of the salary AND a start date a month later than what they had given me, and they said yes to both! My wording I used is below:

“I was hoping the salary would be higher. I’m really excited about the prospect of working for [company], so I’m willing to be flexible, but the number I had in mind was $X. I think I’m worth this because of my strong background communicating data and research to people of all skill levels, and my experience building trust in data in others, along with my abilities in survey design and quantitative data analysis.

In terms of start date, due to a few factors with my current employment and booked vacation, August 8th is my earliest available start day. I do also need to take a vacation day on Friday, August 11th, so I am also willing to start on Monday, August 14th, if that would make the most sense on your end.”

I am a young woman with major imposter syndrome, but despite that, I’ve grown very comfortable advocating for myself in the workplace because of AAM. I’m only a month and a half into my new job, but so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s fully remote, the work is new and interesting, my team is wonderful, and I’m making almost double my previous salary. Thanks for the work you do Alison! I can’t imagine being where I am in my career without you!

{ 25 comments… read them below }

  1. Ex-prof*

    Good for you! I hope everyone job-hunting bookmarks this; it’s excellent advice.

    As a bonus, you got an empoyer who sees women who advocate for themselves as a Good Thing.

    1. Old Coot*

      For me, the willingness to be flexible statement gives them the opportunity to come back with an amount between the original offer and the amount LW asked for. Which might be fine but I’d rather avoid the compromise if possible.

      1. Smaller Potatoes*

        I would have read the willingness to be flexible statement as an opportunity for them to offer more vacation/benefits if extra salary wasn’t an option.

    2. kalli*

      I thought it was odd after ‘oh I dunno, it depends’, but generally outside of the context of an existing discussion where ‘flexible’ means within benefits range of $X, it’s fine.

  2. Throwaway Account*

    I love all of this!

    Kudos to everyone who puts the advice here to such great use, but also, so many kudos to Alison for the impact she has had and continues to have on so many people!

    1. RedinSC*

      can’t agree more!

      Congrats LW for a great outcome and thank you Alison for the wisdom and creating a space to learn and grow!

  3. Observer*

    I love this. They sound like they were pretty reasonable to start with, so I can see why you would have gone with their initial offer. But I also think that it’s great that you felt comfortable to ask for more. And it’s really good that they responded well.


  4. SunnyStreets*

    Congratulations! I also appreciate you sharing the language you used to ask for what you wanted. Very helpful as I think of how to approach this kind of conversation.

  5. Antiqueight*

    As someone who has been both well able for my role and a disaster in my role, I am always worried that if I value myself highly I will screw up entirely. So I am always delighted to hear it going well for others – if terrified of trying it myself.

  6. ProudLWFriend*

    Wooo! Congratulations!

    I was reading this so happy for the LW, when I realized this is my close friend! We both read AAM (she got me onto it) and for some of these we discussed the wording e-mails. Don’t hesitate in asking friends for advice (as I also asked her when I received my own job offer a few weeks later). This stuff can be scary – reach out and bounce your ideas!

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