Posted by: raesalley | June 25, 2007

selling yourself short

In my short working lifetime I have had only two positions with a non-profit agency. Both of these positions were through temporary agencies for rather large Fortune 500 companies. One was with General Electric, pre-Jack Welch retirement and mainly because my father worked for their lighting division and I had the abilities to work for a marketing group as a admin/intern with two others. The other was with Tyco’s SimplexGrinnell division, pre-Kozlowski scandals in their engineering research & development segment. I was the lucky one who made the travel arrangements for the gentleman to come from London to tell everyone on staff that by the end of the year they wouldn’t have a job. Good times, I tell you.

What this gets me is a lifetime of experience knowing that I’m a valued member (most of the time) to an organization but unable to be compensated monetarily to an appropriate amount. Sure, non-profits make up the difference in extra holidays, slightly more security in working, better hours, less obvious pressure and excellent benefits…but it’s hard to know what you are actually worth when confronted with this as normality.

Of the four completed interviews I have been on, one was a bust for both halves, one was with a temp/placement agency, another with a non-profit and finally this morning a for-profit consulting agency. I’ve never worked for one, but the idea has definite appeal. You’d work on a project for a while, hopefully do a good job and finish it up then you’d be off to another job with a new set of problems to figure out and solve to the happiness of the client.

When asked, at the end of a lovely interview over crepes and coffee, what I was expecting as pay scale, I responded that I’d like to stay where I was but was willing to go a little lower if need be. She looked shocked and asked me why I’d be willing to go lower? Mainly because I know my skill set is a hard sell and some people don’t want to pay that initially because I don’t have the education that matches my experience until after you talk to me combined with the fact that I had only been at that pay-grade for three months. She looked at me, looked at her notes and all the information I had filled in on their forms plus remembering things from my resume which made her call me and then put down that she’d put me in at a 25% raise. Don’t sell yourself short, you should always want to go up.

Good reminder.

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