Topic of the Week: Ask for what you want, you’re worth it

One theme that came up several times throughout the book and in a recent comment (again by Andrea Kalfoglou) is that women need to ask for what they want. As an independent worker for years – I’ve got less experience with this one. The only two times I did ask – it was for long-shots. The first time, I asked for part-time while applying for a job described not only as full time but as 50-hrs of full-time.  But – just asking that question prompted the employer to consider moving the job to an office closer to my home. The other was while applying for a faculty job – although I’d been warned to get the interview and then negotiate if offered the job – I knew I couldn’t in all honesty apply for a full-time position when I knew my goal was part-time.

But, as several contributors suggest, when you ask for something reasonable the response is often reasonable.  One contributor to Motherhood negotiated four days a week in the lab/office and one at home. Another asked for, and got longer maternity leave.

Writes Andrea (elsewhere on this blog)

“Draw your line in the sand and stick to your guns. Ask for what you want whether it’s three months maternity leave, better pay, or part-time employment. I was able to get all three simply by asking. When I asked four mentors about negotiating for more pay, the two women told me “don’t rock the boat.” Guess what the men said? “You always negotiate!” You’re probably worth it.”

So, don’t be shy, speak up.

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7 Responses to “Topic of the Week: Ask for what you want, you’re worth it”


  1. 1 Nicole July 4, 2008 at 3:31 am

    I love your post and your site. Asking for what you want is often scary, but better than the alternative (Living a life you don’t want.)

  2. 2 Emily July 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    After I posted this I realized asking for what you want includes more than just asking employers, or prospective employers. It also includes asking parnters. A while back there was a NYT magazine article on Equally Shared parenting (see address below). While I’m not completely sure how I felt about it (if we had to do it again) – several Motherhood contributors have also discussed the role of their partners in parenting – and the responsibility that we have to ask for help/support/shared time.

    But I’ll admit – though I’ve got a great partner who is responsive to my needs in terms of time with kids (could you pick up…I’m going away these dates….can you take them to…) sometimes – being the self-designated part-timer it’s hard for me to elevate the importance of my needs for time to work, when I consider my husband’s full-time job heading up his own research lab. I’m still working on it.
    Here’s the address for the equal parenting article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/magazine/15parenting-t.html?ref=magazine

  3. 3 Andrea Kalfoglou July 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    The equal parenting issue is HUGE. With women’s salaries still not keeping pace with men’s, it’s often the woman’s salary that is perceived as the less essential job. Asking for the primary wage earner to make sacrifices for the parent earning less money is really really hard. But, I think it’s a critical reason why women are perceived as “mommy trackers.” We’re the ones taking the days off when the kids are sick or have a dentist appointment. We’re the ones investigating summer camps and carpools to make it all work. I’ll still trying to work this one out.

  4. 4 geoguehog December 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Please help!!! I cannot find online store with knitted stuffs. Searches in Yahoo gave no results((

  5. 6 Slim Helper May 5, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I almost never comment, but i did a few searching
    and wound up here Topic of the Week: Ask for what you want, youre worth
    it | Motherhood, The Elephant in the Laboratory. And I do have some questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it look like a few of the responses look as if they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at other online social sites, I’d like to follow everything fresh you have
    to post. Could you make a list of all of your community pages
    like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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