If there's an internal debate going on inside your head over whether you should ask for a raise or not, you're not alone. With the gender pay gap, society's expectations of women, and fact that women are less likely to get raises, it can be incredibly nerve-wracking to ask for a pay increase.
According to a 2018 report by Pay Scale, the gender pay gap continues to persist — women earn 77.9 percent less for ever dollar earned by men, which means that even today, a woman's median salary is approximately 22 percent lower than the median salary of a man. Additionally, while men and women tend to enter industries at the same level, by the middle of their careers men are 70 percent more likely to have gained executive roles than women. Additionally, a report by the National Women's Law Center shows that women of color make substantially less than white women, contributing to an annual net loss of approximately $23,000. These stats are unacceptable, as they suggest that society does not intuitively recognize a woman's value and contribution to her field.
This year's national Equal Pay Day takes place on April 10, 2018, a date which symbolizes how far into the new year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Now, more than ever, it's so important to ask for what you deserve. It's time to change the narrative that asking for a raise is a bad look. Ambition is not something to shy away from, especially if you've been putting in the hard work to get where you are today.
"A raise can start accelerating your career," life coach and career expert Nina Rubin tells Bustle. "Asserting yourself highlights your leadership qualities." So instead of psyching yourself out with false expectations of what it will look like if you ask for more money, go into the situation both confident and prepared. So here are the myths to stop believing — and how to make your case.
Myth #1: Ask And Thou Shall Not Receive
"One myth is that the very act of asking for a raise will prevent you from receiving it," Rubin says. "The truth is that you value yourself and your work and it's OK to ask for a raise. When asking for it, go to your boss with documentation of your successes."
So don't let your inner doubts hold you back from asking for the raise that you deserve. Go into the conversation prepared, with the knowledge that you've earned it.
Myth #2: You'll Appear Money Hungry If You Ask
"Another myth is that you'll look greedy," Rubin says. "But the truth is you look ready to advance your career. People who ask for what they want have more opportunities to discuss promotion and various options available to them."
Do some research and see what other jobs and positions you would be qualified for. Know your own worth, and be ready to negotiate!
Myth #3: Asking For A Raise Is Too Pushy
"There's also the suggestion that you'll seem too aggressive," Rubin says. "Asking for a raise reminds you of your power. Your assertiveness is what will shine when asking for a raise. You will take your work more seriously, as will your supervisor."
Don't be afraid to assert yourself — nine times out of 10, your bold and forthright nature will pay off as confidence.
Myth #4: You Already Know You're Unlikely To Get It
People often talk themselves out of asking for a raise by telling themselves they already know it'll be a "no".
"Either you'll get it, or you won't. If you get it, great! It was worth asking. If you don't, you'll know what you need to do in order to get the raise," Rubin says. Do not stop yourself from learning how to swim by insisting internally that you might drown. Dive in instead!
Myth #5: Your Boss Has Never Liked You
"A popular myth is that your boss hates you," Rubin says. "The reality is, asking for a raise shows your boss you care about your work and you want to do well for the company. Having one-on-one time with your supervisor is a chance to amplify your skills."
Build your relationship with your manager by being honest and direct them about where you see yourself in the company. Be respectful, but assertive.
Myth #6: Your Boss Is Intentionally Not Promoting You
"It is very possible that your boss is not aware of your specific strengths and accomplishments," Lucy Guida, Senior Analyst at Lausanne Business Solutions tells Bustle. "For this reason, it is wise to prepare extensively before you meet with your boss to request a raise. You will need to showcase your specific achievements and abilities in order to convince your superior that you deserve more pay. Additionally, managers always like to see their employees express passion for their work and for the company."
Don't automatically assume that your boss has fully understood your worth, and decided not to promote you anyway.
Myth #7: You Should Wait To Request A Raise At Your Annual Review
"In fact, this is the worst time to request a raise because the budget for the year will already have been determined and you boss may not have flexibility to offer you more money at this point," Guida says. "A better time to ask for a raise would be several months before your annual review. Alternatively, begin negotiating after you complete an important project or resolve a difficult problem for the company." There's no time like the present to make a difference in your own life and create the change you want to see.
It can be very intimidating walking into a room with someone you respect and ask them for more. But remember, the only way to permanently remain at the level you are at is by not taking a risk. Go for it and show off your ambition. You deserve it — now it's just time to believe it.