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January 03, 2011

12 things every woman should ask for in 2011

How were your holidays?

Mine were lovely. Friends and family visited... I ate way too many stuffed grape leaves (a Romanian Christmas tradition)... caught up on sleep I didn't know I was missing... spent a couple of days at a cabin working on a writing project that has me captivated and obsessed -- you'll hear more about that, later ;) -- and at the turn of the decade, celebrated with Mr. A at a blacklight eurotrash party.

And now, for the list.

I've been writing this list in my head for weeks, wondering what's essential and what's dispensable. I feel I finally have it right: The 12 things that you really must ask for this year. I wrote it for the Forbes column I contribute to, She Negotiates, and today they published the first half.
Asking is the first step in negotiating.
Asking identifies a need or want and locates a resource or opportunity to measurably better your position in the universe. Asking isn’t selfish, unless you do it selfishly. It’s not reckless or callous, unless you walk all over people to get to what you want. And it’s not a zero-sum game, unless you treat your request as the end of the conversation rather than the beginning.
Responsible, thoughtful asking gives you an equal shot at happiness with all the other askers out there. Because believe me: there are a lot of us, and our ranks keep growing.
Whether you’re an experienced negotiator or just starting out, this list (together with six more tips I’ll post later this week) is designed to help you define and meet goals in your financial, professional and personal lives. Try one item per month, or get a head start and tackle a few at a time.
1. Ask for a raise.
Asking for a raise in a down economy is hard — but then, who says it’s ever easy? According to a plethora of blog posts and articles on this subject, now is as good a time as any to reevaluate your compensation and make sure you’re being paid fairly. Executives have had no qualms about boosting their pay, and you shouldn’t either, particularly if your company has downsized and you’re picking up some extra slack. That makes you even more valuable.
2. Ask for recognition.
“You did a great job,” someone will say, and the answer from too many women is, “It was nothing.” Or my favorite response, “It was a team effort. Peter and Danica were so innovative.” It’s even more frustrating when I hear myself doing this despite knowing how damaging that is.
Please, do us all a favor. The next time someone compliments your hard work, great idea or contribution, smile and say thanks. Then zip your lips. By the way, if you’re not getting recognized, check out this site for concrete suggestions about how to elegantly turn the spotlight on your achievements.
3. Ask for a break on one major annual recurring bill.
If you can shave off $18 off your $118 Time Warner cable bill, that’s enough cash for a little bauble from Nordstrom Rack or, if you add up the savings across the year, a student loan payment. When all it takes is a phone call, there’s no reason not to try. Look at your monthly expenses and pick the one bill that makes the biggest dent.
The rest of the list is at Forbes.

In other news, I have some professional and personal askings to recount from the past weeks... and a contribution by Mr. A.

More on that, in the next day or so.

Wishing you a whatever-your-heart-desires 2011,


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