Why do we as women under value ourselves?
This question came up the other day while chatting with a girlfriend. Keep in mind, she is in her early 60’s and still works harder than most 20 year olds I know.
She started a fairly big operation for a college. It was her idea. Her vision. And her sweat and tears that went into it. Now it’s a huge success. And she still finds it hard to ask for a raise.
At the beginning, they told her it was a start-up. There was no guarantee of success. They didn’t want to invest a bunch of money into something just off the ground.
That was years ago.
Now they are making plenty of money off of her.
And she is still underpaid.
I can relate.
So why does she stay?
Why do we all stay in jobs and working for bosses that don’t appreciate what we bring to the table?
In my opinion, it just boils down to one thing – we are afraid to ask for what we are worth.
We feel uncomfortable asking for a raise, because somewhere along the way – at least for the generation 40 yrs and up – we were told we “better just feel lucky to have a good job.”
I even remember my grandma in my 20’s telling me, ‘“Have a grateful heart Nicole and don’t make any waves at work. Just keep your nose down and do a good job.”
This comes from a woman who lived through the Depression, so it makes sense looking back.
I am not alone.
And think about this, in most cases, men are our bosses.
Perhaps women are not sure how to explain our value to someone else, when we can’t see it in ourselves?
Our lack of demanding what we have earned comes from generations of women before us, “taking one for the team.”
Women have always been great helpers.
Just refer back to the bible. To Adam and Eve.
Eve was created, biblically speaking, to be a helper to Adam.
But allow me to dive in deeper.
She was made from his rib … which is from his SIDE.
He is not ABOVE her, or BELOW her … which you could argue makes them equal.
But fast forward to now – HOW FAIR DO YOU THINK WOMEN ARE BEING PAID AS EQUALS IN THE WORKFORCE?
No where close to where we should be.
We get to work early. We stay late. We stress about work while at home. We answer emails and take corporate calls after hours.
We do the same things men do.
And we are just as smart as men.
Yet, we are afraid to assert our self worth.
We are afraid we will get told no, or maybe they will find someone younger and cuter and cheaper.
This is a sad reality I see way too often, especially as a 42 year old woman with many female friends in corporate America.
Do you ever think any man would ever say, “I feel embarrassed or awkward asking for a raise?”
NO. NO. And NO.
Ladies, this is not skill issue.
THIS IS A CONFIDENCE ISSUE!
We must get more confident, and that in turn will allow us to truly SEE our worth and what we bring to the table.
And when that happens, we can all expect what is fair.
Years ago, I had a boss tell me I couldn’t get a more than a 1 percent pay raise, because “your husband is successful and makes a good living!”
I swear to God.
How does this have ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOW I CONTRIBUTE to my company?
And yet I didn’t quit.
That is my fault, just as much as it was my bosses fault at the time.
I share that story so you guys know you are not alone.
I would argue every women in America can relate to something in this article.
But we must break this cycle for our daughters. Our nieces. Our female cousins. And our granddaughters.
I would love to hear your opinions in the comment section as to what we as women can do to change and level the playing field.
This is a discussion worth having. NOW.
And for the men out there reading this, I would also love to hear your thoughts. This is a safe zone to talk candidly and openly.
I will say I find it hopeful that reports say millennials are only staying at a job for 2 or so years before moving onto the next great opportunity. Is the mindset shifting for the better, or do we just have a generation of quitters? I wish I knew the answer.