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July 19, 2010

52 reasons people don't ask

I had a conversation this weekend with an enlightened negotiator -- Vickie Pynchon, one of the teachers of the seminar I enrolled in which starts tomorrow. For some mystical reason our paths crossed a few months ago, and I've been grateful ever since.

By chance, she showed up in San Diego and we had a fantastic conversation over lunch.

She told me that in the seminar, she asks women to share the reason why they haven't negotiated a higher salary. Two of the myriad justifications she's heard: not having the right credentials and not being experienced enough. "Every woman has a different reason for why she's not worth more," she told me.

I thought about this long and hard over the past 24 hours, and I considered all the times over the years I've been reluctant to ask for more money during salary or rate negotiations. Thanks to this project, since 2008 I've gotten over that fear every time, but the derisive demon called Doubt still follows me to this day.

I also remembered the reasons people of both genders have given me, over the years, when I suggested they ask for a raise or negotiate hard during the job offer period.

As a result, I give you:

52 Reasons People Don't Ask

I'm not experienced enough

I'm experienced overall, but new at this industry/type of project/firm/market

I don't have the credentials

I have credentials, but they're not in this field

This isn't my niche/specialty

I'm too young

I'm too old

I really love this project/client/line of work

I like being generous and giving discounts

I'm not worth that much, who are we kidding

This job isn't really that hard

It's a down economy

It's a competitive industry

I don't know what to charge

I don't know I don't know what to charge

Salary never came up in the hiring conversation

The salary is advertised as $13, so why would I ask? Clearly that's what they can afford to pay

The HR manager who interviewed me said it's nonnegotiable

They told me take it or leave it

It's humiliating to ask

I have no practice

I have no one to practice with

Asking for too much money (or asking to pay too little in a purchase transaction) will compromise the deal

Asking is greedy

Asking is needy

Asking is selfish

The other party told me they can't afford more than X

The other party looks like they're on a budget

The other party is spending so much on rent, salaries, bills, they can't afford my services too

The other party is doing a public service, so asking for more is exploitation

The other party will pay me more later

I need to prove myself before asking for a better salary

Doing this type of work is good for my portfolio

Doing this type of work really helps people, so money is beside the point

I don't really 'need' this particular income if I have other cash coming in

It's just $3 an hour/$100 a month extra

I don't want to start off on the wrong foot

They're giving me a flexible start date/free parking, so I don't want to seem ungrateful

Vanessa/My sister/my coworker didn't ask and she's doing the same job

I saw the other bids and they're all lower

I really need this gig. No matter what

I wanted to ask but then I got too nervous

Asking for a raise will be easier

Next time

Whitney Johnson: "Fear."

IGC: "Afraid of getting fired for asking."

IGC: "Scared of my boss."

IGC: "I'm not really doing such great work."

ICG: "Company has a salary freeze."

Martha: I'm scared of more responsibility"

Martha: "I'm scared they will let me go next because they will see me as not committed and/or assume I am looking for a new job with more pay"

Priya: "Your boss asked for their own raise and was refused"


Actually, those are 44 reasons. Can you help me come up with 8 more? Because, I dunno, 52 is a cool number. And especially because I want to tap into your wisdom! I'll add all contributions into the body of the post. Thanks to Whitney for being the first to speak up -- about fear. That's courageous! :)

Let's see what else we can come up with!?


(PS: a subsequent collaborative post will be 52 responses to each of these flimsy reasons. Since this blog is about solutions, not whimpering. Yeehaw!)

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