Dear Cindy - I made mistakes and left myself $35k short!

Good Morning Cynthia,


I was unemployed from April 2019 to January 2020. I finally accepted a job with a non-profit organization. I asked for a salary that was about $35K less than where I really wanted to be. I asked for this based on the job title, Coordinator vs Director. I didn't think I could justify asking for that $35K. Then I joined your Salary 101 webinar and realized I made almost all of the typical negotiating mistakes.


I’m 6 months into the job and I now know my value and so do they. I should have known to ask for more but the fear of having been laid off for a long time weighed on me emotionally.


What advice would you give to someone who is 6 months into a job, but already wants to renegotiate salary? I kick myself in the butt each and every day for this mistake that could have potentially cost me $20-30K. Is there any hope for me at this time?


From - Kicking Myself!


Hi, Kicking Myself!


First, it's OK that you feel like you could have done better. That's a good take away for next time! You will never put yourself in this position again. But the next steps are very important.


What’s happening now with your job? Are you highly valued? It sounds like they know they got a bargain and you are being given more and more responsibility. Take some time to do your research and confirm more data points around your salary, given the type of work you are doing. Remember, data, data, data. If you are doing Director level work, find Director level salaries in your field.


Once you’ve done your homework, come with these facts (conversations, postings, research) and say,


"I've been here for 6 months and have so far had positive feedback from my manager. It's been going great and here are x, y and z things I have accomplished. And 1, 2, 3 ways that I have been complimented. I know it's been under a year, but the work expectations we discussed are very different from the work I have been doing for this nonprofit. I am enjoying taking on more responsibility, but I would like to have a discussion on how I can better align my pay level with my workload and work product.


I found out these three pieces of salary data and would love to know what you think. I know it's not the norm after a short time, but I want to be here for a long-term and want your help in creating a good environment for both of us."


If you feel some hesitancy, then you can say, "Can we revisit this at the one year mark?" What do you need to see for me to get to the next level?" Set expectations of what you want and manage this salary journey. If at the year mark you are still underpaid, and they aren't budging, it's ok and imperative to start looking. No one will judge you for getting $35k more on another job!


Let me know what you think and how it goes!