Guest post by Debra Shigley (learn more about Debra at the end of this post)
For the first time in history, women are on the verge of outnumbering men in the workplace—but we still earn less. How can women strive to close the gap? In researching my new book The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide, I spoke with hundreds of women who are getting ahead—and earning their worth. Here are some of their strategies:
Start asking for more money now.
Or you might lose out big over time. A study showed that women who consistently negotiate salaries earn at least $1 million more over their careers. By not negotiating a first salary, you can lose more than $500K by age 60. And statistically, women lag far behind men in how often we negotiate. How can you get over your fears of asking for more money or better terms of employment? Begin to train yourself to ask for stuff you want and negotiate in everyday life, even if it’s just what’s for dinner. Then, when you go in to ask for a raise or promotion, you’ll have had practice.
Find a “new girls” club.
Professional relationships can help you get ahead, and in the end, make more money. If you can’t break into the “old boys club” or don’t want to learn to play golf (!), find a “new girls network” of like-minded women who also want to get ahead.
Think about “work life triage,” rather than “balance”.
Go-Getter Girls I’ve interviewed say that work-life balance doesn’t really exist—and that “you can’t have it all at the same time.” They’ve come to think more in terms of “triage,” not balance. In other words, a constant reprioritizing of what sphere matters most at the moment—and these priorities change throughout the day, month, even years. Early in your career, the emphasis may realistically be more on the “work” than the “life.” Sometimes you might have to put other things on the back burner to seize critical opportunities for your career.
About Debra Shigley
Debra Shigley is a journalist and author of the book The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide (St. Martin’s Griffin). She completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard and her law degree at Georgia State, the latter while working full-time as an editor for Atlanta magazine. She has been featured as a lifestyle expert on national outlets such as The View, CNN, ABC News, and been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AJC, Redbook, and many more. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Fast Company, Allure, Daily Candy, and Heart & Soul. Please visit her website, www.debrashigley.com, and her blog, www.thegogettergirls.com.