This day symbolizes a lot of things for me - how hard a woman has to work and what a woman must do in order to earn the same amount as a man. To give you a better picture, on average, a woman makes 81 cents for every dollar a man makes (this number is even less for women of color). Our antiquated system tells us, "You can be a wife, but you can't have a career. You can be a mom, but you won't be able to make money." It's always a dialogue of if this or that vs. why the heck can't we do both?
Today, I'm going to share with you my own personal story in hopes of letting you know that you're not alone.
A few years ago, I was working as - an executive assistant/digital brand strategist/every other role you can possibly imagine - for a married couple who was well established in the Youtube space. For the first couple of months, I was their only employee until they decided to scale the company and brought on two more team members (one guy and one girl). After taking on several responsibilities and roles, I figured it was time to ask for a pay raise. No one was more excited than me at the time for this opportunity. I prepared a deck, practiced my pitch and come time when I had to deliver it to my bosses, they told me, "No." I asked them, "Well, how come?" And the only thing they could say to me what that I needed to work harder and that I haven't quite earned it yet. For some time thereafter, they "rewarded" me with more projects, more responsibilities, they even had me download an app to track my productivity down to the tee every day. I shut my mouth, never once brought up the idea of vertical mobility again and like a lot of you, I decided to work in silence.
Time passes and I later learned that not only did they give my male coworker a higher pay, they even asked him if he wanted a raise. As in they've reached out to him and asked him if he's okay with them paying him more. The irony was that he wasn't doing more of the work, his roles haven't changed much, we had the same work schedule and was asked to work on the same projects.
I was offered a position to work for a great company and the recruiter couldn't have been any less welcoming; I was ecstatic, to say the least. Before I accepted the job, I learned that my colleague offered the same role (there were a few openings) but with a higher base salary.
Reluctantly, I started to question myself. 'Did they not like me enough? Or did they see more value in him?' I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. On paper, names aside, our accomplishments were quite similar. We both graduated from prestigious universities, we both have the same years of experience, we were expected to complete the same daily functions, held to the same quota---the only noticeable difference was our paycheck.
But this time, unlike the first incident, I called my recruiter back and laid everything on the top. I would only take the position if and only if I am able to receive the same equal salary as my counterpart. PS This is one of the most ballsy things I've done in awhile. I held me breathe while waiting for a response and fortunately enough, my recruiter said, "Let's do it."
As a millennial, I'm not asking people to go easy on me. I'm not asking for opportunities to be handed on a silver platter either. I'll work for it, every last bit of it. All I ask is for people to see and acknowledge that women clearly have the skills and competencies to succeed at any level. We'll earn the rights to lead, but we need to be treated on common benchmarks. Judge us by our work ethic, character, performance, and integrity.
That's all I have for you today. Thank you for reading. Fight On!