Stop Being Afraid to Negotiate Your Salary

You can decide what you spend your money on, I might not agree, but I will accept your spending habits. If you want to spend the majority of your income on travel if you’re buying all the new gadgets. Okay, your choice is fine by me.

But there is one thing that I will tell absolutely every single person: negotiate your salary to the max at your job!

This is money earned the easy way. You don’t have to work any harder, you don’t have to pass some kind of test, and you don’t have to put in more than 10 minutes of your time. All you have to do is ask.

This will have such a big effect on your life. It’s incredible. If you want to shortcut your way to financial freedom, you have just found something very significant! If you want to reach financial independence shortly, you would have to work on the following:

If you don’t negotiate your salary, you’re missing out. You owe it to yourself to ask for more!

It Doesn’t Have To Come Naturally

I understand if you’re thinking: I don’t want to do it. I truly do. But if I can do it, you can!

When I grew up, they told me; don’t ask for anything. When I was young, my mom always told me: ‘Children who ask get skipped’ (this is the translation of a Dutch proverb, I hope it is a-okay to use it like this in English). It implies that kids who ask for anything are rude, so yeah, I never asked for anything.

I didn’t ask when I didn’t understand something at school (high school & university), I didn’t ask when I wanted something to drink, and I didn’t ask when I wanted something in general.

Also, I never spoke up when my teachers asked a question in class when the teacher asked who wanted to present today or when a situation required me to speak up.

What Turned Me Around

Then I did an internship at a Big Four company while studying. They paid me €450 euros per month, while a lot of others got around €750 for the same job. They insulted me, but still, I didn’t ask for more.

Luckily I have more outspoken friends, who told me that I was crazy for not saying anything and that I go more against what people told me in general. So right then and there, I vowed that something like that would never happen to me again.

Since the intern situation, I’m always asking for more money. Despite the way my personality is shaped and how shy I was in the past, I’m still asking for more money. I’ve negotiated my salary ever since.

I’m telling everyone to ask for more money; my friends, my colleagues, everyone who wants to hear it!

Reasons To Do it Scared

I don’t care if you’re scared as hell, so was I when I did it both times: do it scared!

Here are some reasons to feel the fear and do it anyway:

1. You may have the same job as your coworker, but you’re having different salaries

The intern incident got me realize that you can do the exact same job as your coworkers, only you get paid less.

Storytime: The other day, I discussed with my colleague how his performance review went. He told me that he was promoted – very excited, so then he told me his old salary. I found out that we started out with very different salaries. I earned around €200 more per month at that time than he did.

We’re in the same company, both just graduated, and we did the exact same job. Yet I made 2.5k more yearly.

2. It sets the baseline for your career

Continuing with the example above, about me and my colleague. After his – and my – promotion. I asked for more again. He didn’t. Now my wage is around 5k more yearly, still in the same job and with the same job title.

Woman Wearing Glasses Holding Phone Focused
Image credit: DepositPhotos

This is mostly because I already started higher than he did. So when I got promoted, I already started higher than he did, so my steps on the next salary scale are higher than his.

3. Companies won’t look out for you

What companies want is the best person for the job, with the lowest wage possible. They will try to get you for your minimum amount.

That is the quote from Rich Dad Poor Dad: Companies will pay their employees just enough so that they won’t quit. Employees will just work hard enough so that they don’t get fired.

This implies that you should look out for yourself when you’re starting a (new) job. No one will do it for you!

[Read the article about 6 Lessons You Need to Learn from Rich Dad Poor Dad here]

4. Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Everyone should negotiate their salary, but especially women and minorities should be on the lookout for this. Women earn on average 80 ct for every dollar a man earns.

For me, it’s really important to address problems like these, as is a real problem with a real solution. I want to motivate you to do your part. Help others by helping yourself, and negotiate your salary!!

5. What is the worst thing that could happen?

Ask yourself: what is the worst thing that could happen?

Probably the worst thing that could happen is that they would say no. Well, I have some news for you; when you don’t ask for a higher salary, you’re already fulfilling your worst-case scenario. If you’re not asking, you’re sure as anything that they will say no.

Mistakes I’ve Made When Negotiating My Salary

Saying yes right away

A lot of people say yes right away because they are afraid that the opportunity will be lost if they try and negotiate. I also made these mistakes.

Very unnecessary if you ask me as there’s a very high chance of success if you just ask. If you’re not convinced yet, go back to the point above and try to read them again!

Not knowing what you want to earn

When I went to one of my first real job interviews, they asked me what I wanted to earn. I hadn’t thought about it, so then I just said some salary that someone told me was average for recent graduates.

It sounded good to me at that time, but afterward, when I checked on Glassdoor, I could’ve asked for much more for that position.

Ask exactly what you want

The thing is that you need to ask for more than you want to earn. If you want to earn 50k, you ask for 55k or more. Mostly they meet halfway, so if you’re asking exactly for what you want, your salary will come out much lower.

If you ask for a bit higher, both parties are compromising and happy if the outcome is somewhere in the middle (exactly what you had in mind!).

Are you going to negotiate your next salary? What are your main takeaways?

4 thoughts on “Stop Being Afraid to Negotiate Your Salary”

  1. Great advice. I started with a high salary offer out of college and aggressively negotiated future raises. I had doubled my starting pay within my first four years in my job and saw it increase to 24 times my starting pay by the time I retired slightly early. If you do not ask for more then you deserve what you don’t get. My go to tactic was telling my boss the exact amount other companies offered me to come work for them. I cultivated relationships with recruiters and fed them the names of potential candidates, and in exchange they brought me job offers I never accepted but used to leverage higher pay at my employer. I stayed at one company my whole career and turned down dozens of offers to leave but got a raise almost every time I passed on info to my management about an offer. They needed me and were more than willing to pay what it took to keep me. You’d think that might cause a stressful relationship with my employer but I never threatened to leave, I trusted them to do the right thing with my pay and they always did, even if it took a year or two sometimes. It was way less stressful than strewing over being under paid, and way more profitable. I stayed over thirty years and loved my jobs there.

  2. Hi Steve, thank you for hanging around here!

    Wow, I love your story! And 24x times your starting salary is insane!!

    Contacting the recruiters is very smart, I’ve also put my LinkedIn on available to show them that I’m interested and got some good deals. BUT of course not the kind of deals you get when you’re have a good relationship, like you had!
    Sounds like a good company and a good boss you had, I have to agree that it’s much less stressful to go about it that way.

    I might borrow your tactic and see what it brings to me,
    Hope to see you around more!

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