When a friend of mine completed a grueling two-year graduate program, she celebrated her subsequent promotion and first ever salary negotiation by buying herself a designer bag. When she brought it to work, proud as ever, the first comment she received was: “Well look at that, we are definitely paying you too much“. Although the comment was (I assume) meant as a joke, all her fears related to the salary negotiation immediately reappeared.
In the book “That’s What She Said”, Joanne Lipman explains how men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise – and when women do ask, we typically request 30 percent less than men do. Luckily, she says, this gap appears to be closing somewhat among younger women, such as my friend. Still, women are far from parity when it comes to negotiating pay.
Thus, the next time you see a young business woman carrying a designer bag, I urge you to either congratulate her on negotiating a good salary for herself, or acknowledge her conscious financial choices that has allowed her to save up for it (that is what I call priorities!).
Or, you know, maybe she received the bag as a present from her generous parents… I guess most of us rarely know the exact financial situation of our colleagues (or friends, even). Thus, don’t judge a book by the expensive watch or designer bag on it’s arm!