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I Was Underpaid

Written By: Lauren Howard

I was underpaid.


And I had no idea.

Literally no idea. Why?

Because it never occurred to me to find out.

I didn’t even know how.

Because I stumbled into the world I was in and made everything up as I went, and I thought that meant my skills weren’t worth anything.

Even though I had a ton to show for it and outcomes galore.

Even though I was working harder than any human should be able to and I never asked for anything.

I just assumed that people were doing right by me.

I assumed we were all paid the same. I assumed a lot of things.

I thought I was lucky to have a job to begin with considering my untraditional path to get there. I didn’t realize how far off the mark I was until I talked to someone who was after me for a new job well into my time off. He asked me about my salary requirements.

I confidently (read: felt like I was going to vomit) told him where I needed to be. I ADDED $20,000 over my old salary. I hesitated because I thought he was going to laugh in my face. There was no way anyone was going to pay me that.

He literally gasped. “Holy sh*t you were unpaid!”
“Our starting for this position is literally almost double that.”
“You need to raise your ask. No one should get you for that.”

This guy barely knew me. It never, never occurred to me to look up what I should be making for the position I was doing. I just thought everyone would take care of me because I always took care of them.

You might be lucky to work where you do, but your employer is also lucky to have you.

Know your worth. And if you don’t know it, ask someone else. Let someone who knows your field tell you what you should be making, and believe them more than you do your Imposter Syndrome or the negativities in your head.

Ask me. I’ll find out.

Don’t let the excuses we make about our aptitude, which are almost never true, put you in a situation to receive less than you deserve. Women are more likely to be underpaid, and we’re also less likely to stand up for ourselves when we are. There is more out there. Go get it.

Image by Simran Sood via Unsplash


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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