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How to know your worth

How To Know Your Worth and Calculate Your Salary Range

If you’re feeling under appreciated and under compensated, it could be time to look in the mirror.  Almost nine out of ten people face low self esteem from time to time. Women are more likely than men to underestimate themselves even when they are perceived as equally effective leaders Unfortunately, people who lack confidence often lose out on promotions and pay hikes. 


It’s easy to see self-confidence as a positive feedback loop where confident people get raises and the increased income increases their confidence. Except that isn’t true. Self-worth isn’t about your external value. Confidence comes from within. You can’t buy it (people with inherited wealth have issues with self confidence as well.)  The problem is that if you keep telling yourself that you aren’t very good at your job and don’t deserve a raise, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So change your internal dialogue. Gather some data. And most of all, discover how to know your worth and determine your salary range without compromise.

Start with You


Before entering salary negotiations, do a little work on yourself. Examine how you treat you. Are you taking good care of yourself ––– exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep? After all, it’s hard to feel self confident if you feel terrible physically. Listen to your inner dialogue. A non-stop barrage of put downs and confidence destroyers will not help you get a raise. Work to change the recording. 


Start reminding yourself of all you’ve accomplished, the ways you’ve overcome obstacles. I recommend journaling. It’s also a healthy habit to make a gratitude list every day. Focusing on what you don’t have rather than what you do can make you very unhappy. In fact, grateful people have been shown in studies to have more self esteem. Ironically if you see money as the solution to all your problems, you will likely never have “enough.” If you’re struggling with how to know your worth , keep in mind that if you don’t appreciate yourself it’s unlikely that other people will either.


Arm Yourself With Information


If you’ve never negotiated your salary before, you’re not alone. In one study, 

over 50% of women, Millennials, and Gen Zers had never negotiated their pay.

If you’re wondering how to know your worth, what you present to your boss or a potential employer should be data driven. Examine the median salary for your profession using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information. Go online and check out the various salary estimators. Keep in mind the inflation rate. Recently this has meant adding at least five percent to any salary info that’s a year old.


Talk to coworkers and anyone holding a similar job in your network. Increasingly Millennial women are discussing their salaries with each other, which is awesome.  As thirty-one-year old arts teacher Lotte Marie Allen told The New York Times, “My personality is not to look at it, not to think about it. It’s not my goal in life to become rich, and it’s not what drives me, But I know that, especially for women, money is one of the necessary things to talk about — like broccoli or something.”


Although historic inequality and ongoing discrimination can’t be ignored, one big reason  women consistently earn less than men is that they are less likely to negotiate their salary. In her book Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock noted a study that showed just 7% of women attempted to negotiate their first salary, while 57% of men did. Those who negotiated increased their salary by over seven percent. At a $100,000 salary, someone who negotiates up to $107,000 could retire eight years earlier than someone who doesn’t negotiate!

Fake it Till You Make it


Truth is our minds can be tricked –– and that’s a good thing. If you smile, you will automatically feel a little happier. If you tell yourself you’re confident, you’ll start to feel confident. Your body language is important as well. Standing up straighter and making eye contact can give you a real confidence boost. So can picturing a successful negotiation and earning an increase in salary. Even putting on a favorite blouse or pair of shoes can activate your brain’s reward center. This helps you feel better about yourself and more confident. 


Finally, while I want you to negotiate and earn the highest salary possible, never forget that your worth isn’t determined by your paycheck. You are a valuable person whether you bring home the bacon or buy yourself a pet piglet


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