Title: Program Manager

Location: Chicago, IL

Original salary: $75k

Negotiated salary: $100k + $10k bonus

You can’t wait around for your company to review your performance and recognize what you’ve brought to the table.

What was the situation when you decided to negotiate your salary?

I was working at a small, high growth company and had been managing a department for a year. It was a rough year with a lot of changes within the organization, but I had done a great job growing my team rapidly and improving the quality of the work we were doing. Because of our success, there were big goals for the group in the coming year, including expanding my team internationally.

As I was taking stock of my year and reflecting on how far we’ve come and my own personal ambitions with the company, I realized I had done so much more than expected. I knew that I needed to be recognized for this, both monetarily and with more career development opportunities.

Because we were such a small company, we didn’t have a formal annual review process. It was on you to make sure you were getting the development that you needed and ask for any raise or promotion that you wanted.

I set up a meeting with my boss, with whom I had a great relationship, and decided to make my case and ask for more. We were expanding internationally and I knew I wanted to lead the team as we grew, so my ask was going to be clear: a promotion to the group Director so I could continue to develop professionally, and a raise to match my performance.

How did the conversation go?

I had developed a close relationship with my boss, so I knew how much he respected and valued my work. However, even though we have a great relationship, I was still nervous to ask for more. I still had a lot of self-doubt and fear that maybe what I was asking for was too much or I hadn’t done the great job I thought I had.

I started the conversation by laying out exactly what my team and I had accomplished over the past year: I built the department faster than expected and had made so many strides forward.


I then told him that I wanted to be recognized for my work.


He agreed with my assessment of the work I’d done over the past year and simply asked me what I wanted.

I replied that I wanted to be the Director of the group and oversee the international expansion and that I wanted a significant raise that represented the value I brought to the company.

He pressed me a little and replied by asking exactly how much money I wanted.

In thinking about how much I wanted, I decided $85K was the right amount, but I didn’t want to say that. I wanted to see what they believed I was worth. So I avoided giving him an amount and just said: “I’d really like you to come back with an offer of what you think is fair given the work I’ve done over this past year and the expanded role I’m taking on.”

What was the end result?

After speaking with our CEO, the next week we had a meeting to talk about my requests. He told me that I would officially be the Director of the group and would be in charge of the international expansion.

He then rolled into the salary conversation by asking, “How would you like to make six figures?”

I nearly jumped out of my chair. He told me that they were increasing my salary to $100K with a $10K bonus.

I absolutely couldn’t believe it. It was the best validation of all the hard work I had put in over the last year.

I had a stretch goal of making $100K by the time I was 30, which I thought was a bit outlandish. In my first job out of college, I was making $35K. In less than five years I had nearly tripled my salary. Not just by putting my head down and working hard. But by working hard and then advertising my accomplishments.

What advice do you have for other women?

You can’t wait around for your company to review your performance and recognize what you’ve brought to the table. You need to advertise it every day (in a way that feels right to you, of course). It may be hard for you to believe that you are worth a big salary, but you just have to go for it.

This article first appeared on Forbes.com

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