Skip to main content

How NOT to Determine Your Salary

Last week I was chatting with a rad young lady who is about to start her final semester of college. When the subject of careers and negotiation came up, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm. (“Teaching young people how to negotiate their salaries” is what I write down on the religion line on surveys.)

I asked what salary range she was asking for, and she quickly answered: “$37,000.”

It struck me as an unusual number for two reasons:

  • First, it seemed mighty low. Many people live happy, stable lives on as much or less—but she was a high-achieving college student entering a STEM field in one of the ten most expensive American cities. I expected double or triple that amount.
  • Second, what’s with the non-round number? Usually when people talk about hypothetical large numbers, they do so in intervals of fives and tens. It’s why the JonBenét ransom note haunts us all to this day! (And by “us” I mean rubberneckers who were alive in the 90s and/or true crime nerds. Surely everyone belongs in one of those demographics.)

So I dug deeper. “Why that number?”

She explained that she sat down with a notebook and wrote down all the expenses she might have in a given month. “Rent, internet, groceries, student loans, car insurance… I added it all up, multiplied by twelve, and added 10% for savings. It came out to $36,200, so I rounded up just to be safe.”

My nurturing altruism joined forces with my baser capitalist instincts to manifest a camera to do a dolly zoom on my horrified face.

Read More
Masterpost 2: Career Advice

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Getting a Job, Raise, or Promotion

You were told never to enter the crypt… told that the sacred knowledge buried there would break the minds of the weak-willed. You were told… and you disobeyed.

Now, as you creep your way forward, guttering torch in hand, you wonder if you’ve made a fatal error. The cobwebs hang thick before you, obscuring your view down the dank and musty corridor. As you descend into darkness, your courage wanes, your resolve falters. Perhaps you are not ready for the secrets buried within the Crypt of the Bitchy Ones. Perhaps no one is…

For in this ancient sepulcher lies the key to all career wisdom, the key to getting ahead and navigating the workplace as smoothly as a serpent along the dusty stones your feet now tread. And no matter the risk, no matter what haunts the hidden crypt, you will not stop until you have attained this knowledge.

When at last you enter the cavernous tomb, your torch illuminates an ancient stone plinth. Upon it rests a dusty tome. You open its cracked leather cover and begin to read…

Welcome, fellow traveler!

One of the most important factors in your path to financial independence (or at least stability) is your income. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and a trust fund worth a tidy million or two… that means you’re going to have to work for your money.

We Bitches know about work. We’ve been cogs in the machine of production and profit for years now! And as depressing as that sounds, what it means is that we’ve both learned a thing or three about navigating the job market.

This means job hopping when necessary, competing for promotions, and yes (OH BOY, HERE COMES MY OLDEST FRIEND, ANXIETY), even asking for a raise once in a while.

We want to share that knowledge with you. It’s what we’re here for! So below is our complete catalog of knowledge on getting a job, getting a raise, getting a promotion, and staying sane at work.

Use it wisely.

Read More
I spent my toddler years in Army daycare, and look how I turned out!

Workplace Benefits and Other Cool Side Effects of Employment

You just got a job offer! Condragulations! Now it’s time to negotiate… for your life.

But before you start throwing numbers around, there’s something you should understand. Salary—the thing most think of when they are considering the terms of a new job—is but one item on a long list of negotiable items. And while it’s wicked important, your potential employer might not have as much room to adjust there as they do in other areas.

So aside from salary, you need to think about what you need to be happy and comfortable in a new job.

What is going to improve both your financial situation and your overall life? Because if an employer can’t budge on the salary, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something more to offer you in other areas.

So let’s talk benefits, shall we?

Read More

Sometimes I'm fucking appalled by what I see.

Something Is Wrong in Personal Finance. Here’s How to Fix It.

We recently wrote an article about how raising awareness isn’t enough. Our thesis was that you need to pair awareness with some kind of action. Well, good thing we practice what we preach!

Last time we talked about some of the many ways being white brings unearned financial privileges. We got a ton of great responses from readers—many of them white—who are happy that the talk is being talked within the personal finance community.

Now let’s tell you how we think you can walk the walk. Here are our suggestions to make the personal finance community more realistic, more inclusive, more ambitious, and all-around better.

Let’s get to work.

Read More

Friends, if you're going to jump, jump like there's no ceiling.

The Fascinating Results of Our Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty Poll

Guys, Bitches can’t thank you enough for stepping up and volunteering your salary histories for our recent article on job hopping. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out and feel free to skip straight down to those juicy, delicious, nutritious comments.

We discovered some really interesting trends, and we’re going to break them down for you now!

Overall, commenters were big fans of a hybrid approach. Job hopping was universally endorsed as an essential move, regardless of career path, even by serial job monogamists. But occasionally stopping to rest once you’ve landed in a good position was also extremely popular.

Here are some of the factors that made people stay… and go.

Read More

Boing boing boing, bitches.

Job Hoppers vs. Career Loyalists: I Want to See Numbers!

Recently a little conversation sprang up on Twitter on the topic of changing jobs frequently as a strategy to increase your salary, i.e. job hopping. Respondents tended to fall into one of two camps on the subject.

One camp is the job hoppers. Desirae over at Half Banked had three jobs within her first five years out of school. Not to be outdone, Cameron at Save Splurge Deny Debt has had four career changes since graduation. Both gave a thumbs-up to the strategy.

The other camp is career loyalists. Included are Felicity at Fetching Financial Freedom and both Mrs. And Mr. Adventure Rich, who’ve held steady for six, five, and ten years respectively. As one user put it: “Lots of opportunities at my current job. For now, little reason to look elsewhere.”

This boggles my mind.

And kinda makes me want to do… this:

Slapslapslapslapslap.

Read More

You Need to Ask for a Fucking Raise

A new whiskey distillery opened near my office. And because we work for a publishing house and some stereotypes exist for a reason, my coworkers and I went for happy hour the day it opened. Which is how I found myself drunkenly badgering three of my female coworkers about their income (if this is shocking to you, you must be new here).

At issue was the fact that none of them had ever asked for a raise. Ever. And as I listened to their lame excuses I felt the worst kind of déjà vu. All of their reasoning and fear sounded so familiar to my own personal experience.

Because if you recall, I too had once waffled about asking for a raise. And I think of the whole miserable time just like the Alamo: NEVER AGAIN. (That’s how the saying goes, right? … right? Right.)

Apparently not, because if my coworkers are still struggling with all the same hang-ups about asking for a raise that I once had, then chances are some of you are too. And it is my sworn duty as a personal finance blogger and Loud Internet Woman to type words at you until you get the hell over it! So here goes.

Read More

Riddle me this: when is your time worth more than your money?

Should You Increase Your Salary or Decrease Your Spending?

When it comes to advice on how to become financially independent, there are two schools of thought:

  1. Increase your salary as much as possible.
  2. Decrease your spending as much as possible.

There are personal finance gurus who scoff at the idea of cutting out lattes and other minor unnecessary expenses as a path to wealth and security, instead advising you to spend your time making as much money as possible. Then there are others who extoll the virtues of thrifty living and frugality in the extreme, championing a spartan lifestyle in which you can retire early by spending minimally.

So who’s right? Which method will lead most quickly to financial independence and a life in which you no longer have to worry about money? Which tactic for peak prosperity should you pursue?

Read More

PEOPLE DIE OF EXPOSURE.

Stop Undervaluing Your Own Work, You Darling Fool

Like many Millennials, I’ve got multiple income streams. At my day job, I work for a salary that I negotiate upwards every so often. But as a side-hustlin’ freelance editor, I set my own rates and negotiate directly with individual clients for each new job.

This means I’m in a position of awesome power with every customer. Like Ursula the Sea Witch, I can name whatever price I like, and if the client wants both legs and a hunky prince, they’re going to have to give up their beautiful singing voice or THE DEAL’S OFF.

But what if the client can’t afford my price? What if they find my rates completely unreasonable and expensive compared with industry standards? What if they’re bargain hunting and willing to work with someone less qualified for a steeply discounted rate? What if they’re really nice and I feel uncharacteristically sorry for them?

What if instead of their beautiful singing voice, they’re only willing to part with the sound of their burps, the noise they make right before yakking up last night’s vodka tonic, their impression of Marlon Brando in The Godfather? What then?

When you set the price for your own work, there are innumerable reasons you might be tempted to lower it. This is a way of undervaluing your own work, and trust me my beauties, it is not worth it.

Read More