Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bargaining Power

I'm not very good at bargaining. In fact, I'd say for the most part I avoid it when possible. I never try to bargain while shopping, and have recently told a friend that he's going to have to buy my next car for me because he's so good at it, and I'm just not. Historically, I have never tried all that hard to negotiate a higher salary. In some situations, it had to do with not feeling confident enough in my skills to feel I was worth more, and in some situations, it had to do with not wanting to hear someone say "no" and feel they were refusing my value as a human being, rather than my work value.  

Today I had my first job interview since the slew of fellowship interviews I had in April/May. I found the job posting online last week and it was the first posting I had seen since starting to look that I actually got excited about. So I updated my resume and cover letter (hadn't written a cover letter since 2002!) and sent it in.

A week later, I found myself squeezing in an interview between two babysitting gigs (thank goodness the woman's schedule was relatively open). As the last time I had applied for a job (a "real" job, anyway) was in 2002, I realized just before walking in that this is the first interview I've had where I've been totally confident in my skills to do the job. It made me much more confident and willing to say things that I would not have said 6 years ago.

For example, after the woman told me more about the job (including the fact that none of the other employees with the same position have masters degrees), she looked at my salary requirements. 

"Oh," she said, "I see you've put down X for a salary requirement. Did Sue tell you that the salary is actually a bit lower than that?"

"Yes," said I, "I am wondering, though, if the salary that you are offering is factoring in my MSW?"

So of course the salary wasn't factoring in my degree, and the woman tried to point out that an MSW was not a requirement for this position. She then tried to argue that I didn't have any experience as an MSW, and I countered that my two years of internships were absolutely MSW experience. 

I didn't make a big stink about the salary or my experience, but I did stand up for myself in a matter-of-fact, I-know-what-I'm-worth kind of way (well, as much as a social worker can do that - of course we're (almost) all worth way more than we'll ever get paid).

I left feeling good about the interview, and confident in my professional skills and abilities in a way I haven't felt in a long time. 

Graduate school tuition: $49K

Confidence in your professional knowledge, skills and practice: Priceless


Pete said...

Congrats, Fibby!

Anonymous said...

Beefs, way to go! Not enough people - and definitely not enough women - advocate for themselves. You're totally worth it. EFS.