Today, I am happily participating in Stephey Baker’s Courage To Fly blogging initiative. Over the past few weeks, 37 brave and wonderful women from around the world have shared some of their deepest, most inspiring thoughts on their own blogs. I was so honored to be invited to share my story. Stephey asked each of us to answer one of six questions and I’ve decided to answer this one:
Contemplating this question, I’m immediately transported back to when I lost a dream job – co-hosting a national morning show. After a few years, the company shut down and I got laid off. A few months into being unemployed & super stressed, I got a call from a major corporation – totally out of the blue – asking me to work in their PR group on a contract basis.
It sounded amazing, but I knew I needed some guidance – fast! I asked a colleague of my dad’s to be my mentor. Terri had tons of experience in public relations and I knew she’d give me helpful and honest insights along the way. Luckily, she happily agreed.
My first challenge: the company had asked for my rate – the annual salary I expected for working as a full-time contractor. After scraping by for years in radio, I had no idea what to request. Heck, it felt like I should pay them for the opportunity! All I could think of were the things I lacked: I’d never worked in PR, I’d never worked for a large corporation, I didn’t have a college degree.
Terri set me straight – firmly but lovingly. She gave me a huge pep talk about the things I did have: my unique background, my broadcasting expertise, my long list of contacts, my writing skills, my creativity, my work ethic. When coming up with a figure to request, Terri also mentioned details I never would have considered – like not having corporate benefits while working as a contractor. Based on all of that, she told me the annual paycheck she thought I should ask for.
I remember freezing when I heard her say the number. I had never made even half of Terri’s suggested paycheck. But Terri convinced me that I was worth it, that it was a reasonable salary within the industry I was entering and that if I went into my meetings with confidence, I’d easily get that amount. Believe me – I went into those negotiations FAKING confidence. Fake it till you make it, right? To my amazement, Terri was right. The corporation agreed – without hesitation – and I suddenly felt like the richest girl on earth, going from unemployment checks to affording my own place.
Terri’s nudge to ask for what I didn’t even realize I deserved was a huge mind shift for me. That experience boosted my confidence, helped me see the value my skills and talents, and put me on a path towards greater success and self-respect. Like a mama bird, Terri nudged me out of my comfy nest knowing I’d be much happier learning to fly.