When I began this blog, like many people, I had a pretty good idea on the sorts of content and ideas I wanted to focus on and found the idea of that focus to be incredibly uplifting (and it is!).
However, I have been finding myself with the urge to write about certain things and shying away from it because it wasn’t my intended focus or mission. But sometimes you can’t help thoughts, no matter how little you want to publicly hash them out.
Let’s talk feminism.
I don’t mean ‘let’s debate the merits of feminism.’ No, not at all. I’m talking about work and employment. I’m talking about having the confidence to ask for what you are worth. Everyone has heard about the incident with Jennifer Lawrence and how she was paid significantly less than her male colleagues in American Hustle and she felt too uncomfortable and afraid of coming off as a brat to ask for her worth.
I went to a job interview at a law office recently. It was my first legal interview and all of the attorneys were men. Needless to say, I was incredibly nervous and not feeling too confident in my experiences. The interviewer was remarkably kind and I found myself shaking my head thinking how silly I had been. That was until he asked how much I wanted to get paid.
How is it that an open ended question can create such internal worry? How? I ended up telling him that for this position and its qualifications that $13-15 an hour was fair to me. These guys drove fancy cars and wore expensive suits, they were a small firm. Why was I cutting myself short? I’m not saying that because of someone dresses to ask for $40 an hour, but really? I felt so ashamed of my response all day into when I came home because I thought to myself: you were afraid of being a brat and asking for sixteen, or eighteen. I only stayed at amounts I had been paid previously instead of truly valuing my time, energy, college degree…
When talking with my boyfriend driving along the highway home from the interview, he even explained how in his industry, which is mostly women, the pay is freakishly low. Not because the work is not valued but because women don’t ask for enough. He even stated that his supervisor, who is a woman, told him to make sure to ask for what he is really worth because when wages stagnate for women who settle, it hurts everyone.
I looked him in the eye and asked, “You don’t have this problem, do you?”
He said, “Not really. I’m putting in all of my time to a job, I have a college degree, I did an unpaid internship that lasted months… I know what I’m worth.”
These thoughts about money and compensation have been rather pervasive. I feel a certain breed of pressure whenever I am asked this question from a potential employer, man or woman, honestly because I don’t know what I am worth. I am used to having employers tell me what I am worth, or falling so far into my own depressive holes that I really do not think I am worth much.
I read an article this morning that the most shared tweet of the year was from Hillary’s concession speech. The tweet reads:
“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.”
Many readers have read this. Too many of us truly need to feel it for ourselves.