While, logically, negotiating your salary should be an easy thing to do, the thought of actually sitting in front of your boss and asking for a worthy raise to reflect the work you do can make your heart pound right out of your chest. But actress Issa Rae thinks that mind-set needs to be a thing of the past.
Rae got her start on the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and went on to create HBO’s Insecure. Even though she’s now writing, producing, and starring in her own show—as well as developing additional projects for the network, as side-hustling #bossbabes do—she’s definitely spent plenty of time dealing with power imbalances in the industry. Having employees of her own, though, has really changed opened up her eyes.
Since Rae has both male and female employees, she’s gotten to witness a pretty interesting divide firsthand in how different genders deal with getting what they want salary-wise.
“If a company does not value you, you don’t belong there. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking, know that the person next to you does. There shouldn’t be anything stopping you.” —Issa Rae
“Men have no problem asking for what they’re worth, [and] it’s changed my attitude,” she told Money. “I employ men and women, and on several occasions I’ve had men approach me with, ‘I need to be making this,’ or ‘is there room for this?’ And I’m like, wow, why haven’t women approached me, or been as vocal about that?”
Because of those experiences, Rae’s learned there’s no reason to feel weird or guilty for asking for more money.
“So now I just think, why should I feel ashamed? If I’ve generally been working hard, and have been an asset to the company, why would I not ask for my worth?” she said. “If a company does not value you, you don’t belong there. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking, know that the person next to you does. There shouldn’t be anything stopping you.”
#YASSS. Take this insight to heart, and stop being afraid to recognize your worth. If the worst happens (you get told “no”), take it as a signal to decide whether it’s time to spread your wings and fly somewhere else.