As most of my close friends know, I had made the switch from a full-time ad agency Art Director to working on my own. Venturing out in the uncharted water of entrepreneurship. One of my ventures, Happy Monday, is an UX and visual design consultancy. During the past summer, very fortunately we got quite busy. As a small business owner, busy is great! Except you are on your own and can’t take on more clients unless you can meet the demands. So, I need to bring in some design help. While interviewing candidates, first time, as an employer. I have the first hand experience of facing gender gap.
In the pool of applicants, there are no shortage of talented female and male designers. When I offered the opportunity, I finally understood why women got paid less. Not because they are not good. It’s simply they never ask for more!
I made the same mistake when I was applying for jobs. In my mind, I would believe that’s “not nice” to ask for more. They won’t like me if I talk about money. But as an employer, if you don’t want more, great! If you as a job applicant ask for what you think you are worth. And if I, as an employer, think you are worth it, I will consider it. It’s that simple. That’s no touchy, feel-ly I won’t like him or her for asking. I never “dislike” someone who ask, I will just see if they are worth it.
I think this goes back deeper to how our society rewards men for being winners. Winning has never been associated with not “being nice”. On contrary, women are seen as “bitches” when they show ambitions, and traits of competitiveness. It’s discouraged from both men and women. Hence the popular term “cat fights”. We ladies when asking for more, will be called all sorts of names to shame and stop us. To most women, being nice is more important than getting what you want. The trade off is, we got smaller pay cheques, even though we are equally smart and talented.
So for all my ladies friends who spent the last 5 minutes reading this post. I ask you to do this: stop giving a shit what people say about you wanting what you want. Name calling is just a tactic to stop you from achieving. Being confident to ask for what you want is everything but “bitchy”.