In 2018 various Google employees staged walkouts around a myriad of workplace grievances such as sexual harassment, forced arbitration, salary transparency and diversity and inclusion concerns. As other high profile walkouts took place, like at Amazon and Microsoft, there was a feeling in the air that workplace change was underway. I spoke to one of the Google organizers about her experience and to hear her thoughts as I begin my venture into Rad, a bottom-up approach to salary transparency. (More on that later!) What I gathered from her and other conversations with change-makers was the hard truth, “Not much has changed in the 2 years since these walkouts began.” In fact, there has been ongoing retaliation to employee activists. This is real life. Change takes time.
I give a workshop titled, Courageous Compensation Conversations. It’s a starter course in getting comfortable talking about salaries and the investigative process of knowing your market worth. It’s a good start to a longer process. Usually, after one workshop, a few newsletters, and some conversations with friends, a person might take action. However, as indicated, change is not always well received by companies or managers. For clients who are in a vulnerable place in life and work, self-advocacy may feel like rocking the boat and job suicide. (We don’t call it courageous for nothing!) Being courageous requires a plan A, B and C. The current messaging in the zeitgeist “Know your worth!” doesn’t always come with safety instructions and guidance.
We interviewed Sarah below who was in this situation. She’s a single mom and an outstanding employee. However, her gut told her something was off and she knew she was being paid less than her counterparts. We talked through options and worst-case scenarios but she knew she needed to walk the walk and make things right. Read her story below.
Always with you in spirit,