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How Do You Value Yourself?

Filed under : Careers, Finance

Young Urban Moms, break the habit of devaluing yourselves!

As women, we chronically devalue ourselves. It’s not an easy habit to break. I just did it, but it has taken years.

Breaking the Habit
First, in an odd way the economy has helped. Money is tight and low-balling is rampant. I’ve been going through so many job negotiations, it has forced me to reassess my own worth and stick by it.

Second, I was lucky enough to receive an epiphany: A good friend was giving me advice before a job interview recently, and she told me her income, as well as the salaries of some other colleagues in our industry. “That’s your range,” she said. “That’s what your peers are earning, and that’s what you should be earning.”

What a priceless gift. I was fearless (trembling, but brave) when the interviewer asked for my salary requirements. I had never named a number that high. But was I worth as much as my peers? Absolutely.

Courage begets courage: A few days later a woman offered me a pittance for a project. I stated firmly what my time was worth, and reminded her of the benefit she would gain by hiring me.

She said she needed her boss’s approval. I shrugged and made it clear that if they couldn’t pay what I was worth, I wouldn’t do it. And I meant it.

What You Can Do
Here are three ways you can increase your earning:

  1. Whenever possible, share income information with friends. Economic knowledge is economic power for all of us.
  2. Run your numbers. Knowing your worth starts by calculating the baseline you require to live a financially sane life—cover expenses, sock away savings, meet your goals.
  3. Stretch. Identify a co-worker, friend, neighbor, relative whose standard of living you admire. What do they earn? Make an educated guess (it’s not hard). Are you within range? How would you get there? Now, give yourself permission to get there.

DailyWorth’s Editorial Director MP Dunleavey, known for her popular “Cost of Living” column with the New York Times, is also the creator of the ground-breaking, award-winning “Women in Red” personal finance series on MSN Money, which chronicles the money issues of real women around the country.

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