Mary is about to finish her master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. "I have a question about women negotiating salaries," she says. "Do you have any advice?
Cathie says some women do not put themselves forward enough when it comes to pay. "Gloria Steinem, with whom I worked many years ago at Ms. Magazine, used to say that women had a terminal case of gratitudelike, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' as opposed to saying, 'No, I deserve more,'" Cathie says.
Before asking for a raise or negotiating a salary, Cathie says you should think about practical factors, such as how much pay the job merits. "People will respect you for negotiating. You don't have to arm wrestle about it. But you can negotiate and say, 'I think for the following reasons [I deserve an increase]," Cathie says. "It's not like, 'I need more money.' Needing more money is not your company's problem."
If you don't get the raise you want, Cathie says you can ask to discuss it again in a few months. "You can follow it up in a letter to say, 'I really appreciate the time we spent. I'm very serious about wanting to get ahead from a job standpoint and financially. And as you said, I'll come back and we'll talk about it again in March,'" she says. "So it's not being too pushy or too aggressive or too over-the-top, but it's being smart and being confident in your own abilities."