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An imperfect life guide for women
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Working It: New Year, New Salary

As 2016 draws to a close, many of us are making New Year’s Resolutions. For some, these resolutions involve taking up barre classes, travelling to new places, or perhaps finally buckling down and saving for the future. Problematically, however, many popular New Year’s Resolutions are expensive AF. The upshot is that a raise may be a necessary precondition for realizing your dreams.

Money isn’t everything, but it is a tool that helps us achieve certain life goals. With that in mind, this week’s column is all about how you can negotiate a better salary in 2017.

Of course, the prospect of renegotiating one’s salary can be daunting. We’ve all read think pieces that suggest women are worse negotiators than men before offering up poorly substantiated theories as to why. Well, today I’m here to tell you negotiation is not, in fact, anathema to womanhood. Negotiation is a skill, and there is no reason woman-identified people cannot possess it.

With the help of some fabulous women I know, I’ve prepared a five-point plan for how you can bargain with your employer for a better salary in 2017! It’s time to make it rain, ladies!

Pick The Right Time

We all appreciate how important good timing is when it comes to romantic relationships or landing the punchline of a joke; however, timing also matters when you’re looking for a wage increase. Asking for a raise isn’t something you should do on a whim so you can take advantage of a seat sale on the Air Canada website. Instead, pick your moment to your best advantage.

Says Georgia Tsao, a Senior Manager in Talent Attraction for KPMG Canada, “The best time to ask for a raise is when you have your year-end conversation with your manager.” This provides the opportunity to dovetail on a conversation you are already having. It doesn’t feel abrupt or forced, and therefore your supervisor is less likely to feel ambushed out of the blue.

Do Your Homework

According to Jaclyn Parsons, a Toronto-based life coach who helps clients find professional fulfillment, you must do your research about “compensation models within your industry.” Know what is competitive so it doesn’t look like you’re pulling salary numbers out of thin air. Parsons says, “The more informed you are about various pay scales, the more convincing you will be in negotiations.”

Ask For More Than You Want To Walk Away With

Negotiation is a process that involves both give and take. Your employer will expect you to initially ask for more than you need, and will aim to meet you somewhere in the middle. Parsons advises you to “calculate the salary you would feel good about and then ask for 20% more.”

Highlight Concrete Accomplishments

Georgia Tsao advises women seeking raises to “be prepared to share examples of how you’ve accomplished and surpassed your goals and stretched to exceed expectations.” This means that now is not the time to be self-deprecating or to succumb to Imposter Syndrome. Compile a list of all the skills you possess, and the value you bring to your workplace. Study it in detail so you can cite concrete examples of your work achievements from the previous year.

If All Else Fails, It Might Be Time To Look For Another Job

Just like a toxic significant other, some bosses are never going to appreciate you. If you’ve tried the above techniques and a raise still isn’t forthcoming, it may be time to move on. Lydia, a successful lawyer friend of mine, escaped a static salary by dusting off her CV and seeking better compensation elsewhere. She believes that “sometimes the best negotiations take place with the next employer.”

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