Guest Blogger Luyba Zeylikman: How Embracing The Awkward Completely Changed My Career

I first met Alex at a networking event in NYC. She had a short presentation during this event where her main message was "embrace the awkward"— the idea that it's beneficial to openly talk about salary, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

I knew I would soon be coming up for promotion, and one day my manager called to tell me that I had finally been approved for the new level and that she had good news to share about my compensation. However, as she proceeded to let me know, I felt immediately deflated. My new salary was way below my expectations. Earlier, I had put together a cheatsheet with my past percent increases, typical salary for my new role and my recent accomplishments.

Well, I took a deep breath, embraced feeling uncomfortable and decided to ask for it —  "Thank you for sharing. I am very excited that my promotion has gone through, but this package was not what I was expecting." Phew! I then proceeded to build my case, citing the key facts I had put together for my cheatsheet.

My manager reassured me that my compensation was competitive and matched that of my peers — but she agreed to double-check for me since it did not meet my expectations.

A few days later, I got another phone call — "I am so thankful you said something! It turns out that there was a clerical error in the HR system, and they had you in the system at the wrong level! If you had not brought this to my attention, I would have never known or thought anything of it."

Wow! Thanks to Alex and Ask For It — I ended up not only getting a raise, but one that ended up exceeding all my expectations.

Want to share your own negotiation story? We'd love to hear it! Contact Lily at to learn more about guest blogging. 

Luyba Zeylikman is the NYC Chapter president of the United Women in Business Foundation.


Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.