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.
The squeaky wheel gets the raise
Statistics show that you are more likely to get a raise if you ask for it than if you don’t.
So if Sarmishta in development actually asks for a raise this quarter and you don’t, odds are she is getting that raise and you are not. Not necessarily because she’s better at her job than you are at yours. Not necessarily because she worked harder, brought in more money or clients, or saved the company millions of dollars. Because she fucking asked for it.
While you were sitting around pining away for a raise, she was acting out the corporate equivalent of the romantic ending in a Cameron Crowe movie.
We’ve talked about this harsh reality before. Your employer has very little incentive to promote you or give you a raise. Sitting around doing nothing to funnel those extra dollars toward your bank account is basically a way of signaling to your boss that you’re perfectly happy working for your current measly salary.
So get busy, bitch.
The sexist red herring
But misogynists love nothing more than delegitimizing misogyny. Actually, they love nothing more than their privileged position within our patriarchal society, which is why they’ll stop at nothing to maintain it. But delegitimizing misogyny is a close second, as evidenced by the dudebros on our Tumblr who helpfully explained at us how we are perpetuating the vicious feminist myth of the gender wage gap.
The argument against the gender wage gap is that it only exists because of the choices women make, not because of any kind of systemic sexism.
Hear that, ladies? As usual, it’s all your own fault! If only women would ask for raises as often as men do, or work as hard as men work, or angle for promotions as often as men do, or go into higher paying professions like men do, or not get pregnant and have babies like men don’t, they’d be making just as much money as the men!
These are certainly contributing factors, but not the root cause of the gender wage gap. They act as a handy excuse to not fight for income equality between the genders.
Because by this logic, short of forcing women to make better choices in the work place, these things will just keep happening.
So if, according to these emissaries of the patriarchal status quo, the wage gap is “only a thing” because women never ask for raises… well then honey, you need to ask for a goddamn raise. It is your feminist prerogative. You’re letting down your sister misandrists every time you don’t ask for a raise! Think of how angry the misogynists will be if you take away their sexist red herring and force them to recognize systemic inequality!
In other words: one way to smash the patriarchy is to ask for a fucking raise, you glorious pearl of ambition and success.
Your lame excuses
“But asking will be so awkward! I’m afraid of rejection! I don’t want to look like a greedy bitch! Other people deserve it more! And I know the company is going through a really tough time right now and there’s no room in the budget for me to get a raise!”
Hush my dear. Your excuses are a boring method of avoiding conflict. They make you look like you actually enjoy impotent martyrdom. None of these concerns are actually your problem.
Asking for a raise is hard. It’s unpleasant. If you’re like me and you have the daily anxiety level of a wounded wildebeest within sight of Pride Rock, the thought of asking for a raise can be physically nauseating.
But if you don’t ask…
So you owe it to yourself to overcome your fears and excuses. You owe it to yourself to not contribute to damaging statistics about income inequality. Look at all these articles we’ve written to make it easy for you!
- A Millennial’s Guide to Growing Your Salary
- Salary Range: Are You Asking for Enough?
- The First Time I Asked for a Raise
- Stop Undervaluing Your Freelance Work, You Darling Fool
- Santa Isn’t Coming and Neither Is Your Promotion: How To Get Promoted
- What to Do When You’re Asked About Your Salary Requirements in a Job Interview
- 1 Easy Way All Allies Can Help Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap
You’ve fucking got this! Your fears are the only thing holding you back from having more money so you can reach your financial goals faster and easier. Here’s a straw. Now suck it up.
The absolute worst that can happen is that your boss says no. But that’ll only happen if you give them the chance to say yes.