How Women Can Negotiate Better

Woman holding coffee cup and another woman holding a notepad

I still remember my first real job after all my training. 4 years college. 4 years of medical school. 4 years of surgical residency. 1 year of surgical fellowship.

Salaries were predetermined according to your post-graduate level for residency and fellowship. But, my first job – that was the first time I was given an offer letter. I had no clue what to do with it. My brother urged me negotiate the salary, but I wasn’t sure how.

So, when I met with my chairman, I pulled out the letter. “Ummm, I think maybe I should get $10,000 more?” I stammered. I threw it out there like a shot in the dark.

I had done no research. I had no idea if all newly trained pediatric ophthalmologists were offered the same base salary (they were). I hadn’t discussed salary with my friends who were also on the faculty in the Ophthalmology department at Boston Children’s. And, I didn’t realize that there were other things I could have tried negotiating, other than salary.

My chairman gave me a half-smile and quickly informed me that the base salary was the same for everyone, but could be increased with the annual bonus which was dependent upon revenue generated. I fumbled through that because of lack of experience and training.

How can women become negotiators? Negotiating strategies aren’t just for when you are negotiating your first job contract, they are also instrumental for when your priorities in your life change. These tips are essential in allowing you to job craft – alter your responsibilities at work in line with what’s important to you.

In this episode, I’m joined by attorney and mediator, Hope Bennett, who specializes in assisting women narrow the gender pay gap and serves as President of the AAUW Honolulu. She shares her tips for effectively getting what you want at the negotiating table.

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