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.
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