In the comments to an…

In the comments to an earlier entry, Shmuel says that he didn't think there was much to the _Why So Slow_ book, and A. then offered link to a thorough positive review of the book. That's a great review, A. -- does a good job of covering much of the same ground as the video, though of course it misses a lot of the fascinating details.

One of the areas that I found most startling myself was the brief bit about negotiating salaries -- how studies have shown that women who negotiate salaries are likely to be much more successful than men who negotiate salaries.

My understanding of why this turns out to be true is that women consistently underrate their financial worth, and employers (both men and women) do as well, so women tend to be paid less than their worth is work (and therefore less than men doing the same work). Which means that when those women go in and try to negotiate a higher salary, they can very quickly and easily show evidence that they're being underpaid and should be paid more.

Whereas most men actually *are* being paid what they're worth (or a bit more, because men's financial worth is consistently overvalued), so the ones who go in and try to negotiate a higher salary are far less likely to have an actual case for it.

Personally, I absolutely hate arguing about money, so this one really struck home for me. In the various freelance writing negotiations I've dealt with, I've generally taken whatever was offered, and when Kevin kept telling me that I was being underpaid, I wasn't willing to try to talk them into a higher pay rate. This is one of the reasons I love having an agent, so I don't have to think about money and what my writing is worth.

And if I were offered an academic job, I'd be really scared of negotiating for more money, and would be inclined to be grateful for whatever they offered me. I thought this was just my own neurosis, but perhaps it grows out of a pervasive gender schema. If that's true, then it's easier for me to tell myself that I really shouldn't give in to it. It's based on a faulty cognitive process happening somewhere in my head, and I honestly believe life is better when one is thinking clearly. :-)

3 thoughts on “In the comments to an…”

  1. There is a fascinating positive feedback process here, too…people tend to be judged at work by how much they earn, so negotiating for more money in the long run has a positive effect upon a person’s image in the mind of superiors and coworkers. This may happen even in situations where coworkers do not know one’s salary. I do not understand how this works.

  2. I don’t like negotiating for money either, but in part that’s because I’ve been at this long enough that my salary is substantially higher than what I “really need”. For sufficiently high values of X, it seems silly to me to dicker about whether I’m being paid 2X or 2X+5 — I always like more, but it doesn’t really matter in the end, and I’m perhaps a little scared to sour the deal by making it about money, especially if I make it sound like I won’t accept a lower figure.

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