“I don’t really care about money.”
These are six of the dumbest words I used to say in job interviews. I even said it during a pay rise negotiation. This was particularly clueless given that money is the whole point for negotiating a pay rise. If I really didn’t care about the money, then what were we meant to be negotiating?
I’d like to say that those self-sabotaging words just popped out of my mouth without thinking. But I said it deliberately; I even thought it was a good thing to say.
Part of it was my overwhelming desire to be a people-pleasing good girl. I might offend my employer if they thought I was demanding. They might not like me if I gave them reason to think me greedy or ungrateful for the opportunity.
I’d somehow made it all the way to my mid-twenties without joining the dots on money, power and security. And it took a boyfriend to sit me down and tell me all the reasons why I should care about money before I realised my mistake.
After he explained that I was negotiating a financial transaction and not a social relationship – and that paying me for my skills and labour was a requirement and not a favour – I stopped giving my employers another reason to pay me less than my male peers. My salary skyrocketed.
My one consolation is that many smart women make the same mistake I did when it comes to negotiating pay.
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