Friday, June 29, 2007

I Did It!

I've been told it's a woman thing, but it's always been really hard for me to ask for a raise.

Think about the ridiculously low prices women's work has always commanded--church bazaars, fund raisers, bake sales.

Think about all the free patterns available online. Buy a pattern from Simplicity or McCall's and you're easily looking at $12-$15.00. Look at the price of knitting books too. I'm not against free things--lord knows I'm always looking for a bargain--but let's be sure it's not because we undervalue our worth.

When we got married, I gave the pastry chef some of my recipes that I wanted made up into our wedding cakes. Price? Fifty dollars a piece. It made me think better of the cakes I give as gifts.

In the past two years, I have successfully lobbied for a raise twice. I knew I wasn't being unreasonable. The first time was purely based on the number of credit hours taught. The second time was a situation where I had been hired to do one thing (data entry), but the job had quickly morphed to require much more technical skills.

I've also gotten better in the past year at telling dance groups that I won't be driving five hours each way for a mere $100.

In all cases, I've conveyed the conviction that I was willing to walk away if I weren't paid fairly.

So this television thing pops up and they want me to name a price. I hate, hate, hate this part. The band had pulled a high number out of the air and pretty much been laughed at. I thought long and hard about how much I make per hour at a really well-paying gig and went with that number.

It was fair; I wouldn't sound like I'd pulled it out of my ass. I also told them that I wouldn't be helping them out until we'd settled on a number.

Today, they went for it. No problem.

I wish I'd learned this skill along time ago. Maybe I'd be rich by now.


Carrie said...


Good for you!

Rachel said...

Way to go!

Shady Grove said...

Congratulations. That's a great lesson for all of us. It's such a difficult balance to strike -- women don't want to be considered "difficult" on the one hand, or dismissed on the other. Sounds like you found exactly the right way.

Larry said...

Good for you, Deborah! I wish you good luck with the filming, and many more such gigs in the future!