When I shared my goals for 2011, many of you commented that you would also like to be more assertive. It's hard, isn't it? For me, it's a struggle and gives me all sorts of anxiety. How do you share how you feel and what you want without the other party loathing you in the end? How do you do it without being seen as difficult, picky, argumentative, entitled, and just all around not nice?
I also feel like whenever I DO assert myself, I get weird reactions from people. They get defensive. They look uncomfortable. They don't expect me to even fathom ever being unhappy. What's a cute little Asian girl like yourself capable of complaining about? Shouldn't you be drawing unicorns in your Hello Kitty notebook?
My goal to be more assertive came to the forefront of my mind when I listened to this today.
On NPR, they featured this story about women and how they don't ask for raises, and that this may be a large factor as to why there is a wage gap (women make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes.) A research study had one man, and one woman, ask for a raise with the same exact speech. Observers noted that the man was seen as well deserving for the raise, but the woman? She was viewed as aggressive and unlikable. Great.
Despite my awkwardness and anxiety-laced talking problem, I have indeed asked for a raise. Many times. But if it weren't for someone encouraging me (thank you sister,) I would have just sulked back into my chair. Like the women in the story, I really needed that push and counseling.
Since some of you expressed that assertiveness is something to aspire towards, I'm going to share what I did, because 78 cents per every dollar? We just can't have that.
1. I practiced. I'm blessed that I have two older sisters to lend me advice, and so I would rehearse what to say. The bullet points to hit. The key factors as to why I am awesome. Write them down and say them out loud.
2. I brought documents or examples that highlighted my work.
3. I didn't drink caffeine because pure adrenaline was enough to fuel me. I wanted to stay as calm as possible and let as little emotion show as possible.
4. I really, truly believed that I deserved what I was asking for, and I think that was really the key in overcoming my sheepishness.
5. I talked and talked and talked to people I trust before and after any negotiation. They are probably tired of hearing my voice by now.
Do you have a hard time asking for what you want? Does anyone else have suggestions on how to ask for a raise?