Get paid for what you’re worth

A few years ago an ex-boyfriend’s sister  entered contract negotiations for a new position she had been offered.  She felt bad/weird/afraid/strange asking them for more money.  Her mom, who I still think is pretty awesome, convinced her to fight that fear.  “Men,” her mom said “have no problem asking for and getting paid what they want to get paid.  Women tiptoe around their value and are often sold short.”

It didn’t happen then, if fact it didn’t happen until recently but I vowed to take work that pays me what I’m worth.  One of my previous employers paid me a crazy amount of money because that’s just how they roll.  That job, however, made me realize that I’m worth a whole lot more than I realized.  When I quit my position with them and moved across the country I decided to suck it up for a bit, get experience in the field of experiential education, and be underemployed.  That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I knew that I’d be taking a pay cut when I moved to the PNW.  I also knew that the skills I would develop combined with my previous salary  would set me up for life.  It has.

A few weeks ago I applied for a job with a company.  When finished, I looked at the application and thought, “Wow, I look really good on paper.”  The guy I was dating at the time said, “Yeah, you do.”  That’s when it dawned on me.  I’m really good at what I do.  Really good.  Any company for whom I work will benefit greatly from my personal growth and professional experience.  I am no longer afraid to ask for the money I am worth.

As a young girl from poverty, that means a lot.  Though I escaped the impoverished fiscal status.  I still battle the mindset of buying what I want over what I need, although that will be a lifelong battle.

I often come across people who tell me it’s not about the money.  While I understand this sentiment.  I also understand that for me it is.  It is all about the money.  Does money define me? Absolutely not.  I grew up not having much.  My maternal grandmother has a third grade education.  As a black woman I am, according to Zora Neale Hurston, “de mule of the world.”  It is easy for people to tell me that when they haven’t endured the same hardships as I have.  I’ve been given so much in my life.  It is my duty to give back.  Giving back means putting myself at a place, financially and otherwise, where I can offer comparable assistance to those who need it.  So yes, it is all about the money. It is also, however, all about what I choose to do with what I have.

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