Title: Marketing Manager

Location: Richmond, VA

Original salary: $40k

Negotiated salary: $90k + 12k bonus

When I look back I appreciate that my salary growth isn’t from constant job hopping or a one-time huge negotiation.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Your negotiation story is ongoing. How did you start negotiating?

When I began my career I made a promise to myself that I would never accept a position without negotiating. I’ve held firm to that promise over the years and I’ve negotiated for salary, more responsibilities, and extra time off. While each time I have negotiated my salary, it’s not been a crazy increase, it has added up to a salary I’m incredibly proud of and one that I thought was a someday goal, not an amount I’d be earning so early in my career.

I started my career making $30k working in marketing during the midst of the recession. I had negotiated my salary up from $28k and had negotiated an additional 10 vacation days. After two years I had outgrown the role and was making $40k. After a friend reached out with a job opportunity at the company she was working for, I quickly interviewed and was offered the role at $50k.

When I’m offered a job or a promotion I have a standard response that I use: I thank them for the opportunity, reiterate that I’m excited about it, and then ask for a day (or the weekend) to think about it.

I did the same with this job and then decided to let my current manager know that I had been offered a job and I was likely going to take it. I was honestly doing this out of respect, not because I wanted a counter offer, but she came back matching their salary of $50k and offering new growth opportunities within the company.

I knew I wanted to take the other position so I used this as leverage to negotiate a higher salary. On Monday I called the hiring manager at the new company and let them know that my current job had given me a counter-offer. Was there any room with the salary to make my decision easier?

They came back with an offer of $54k, and I accepted immediately.

You negotiated again (and again) quickly after starting. How did that come about?

Six months into my new role our department restructured, and I was given a new role. Some people might not negotiate during a role change which feels like a lateral move, but I asked for an increased salary and got a raise to $62k. To do this I highlighted my increased responsibilities and my performance with the company thus far. The responsibilities of the new role were much bigger, and I wasn’t sure if they had fully taken into account the change. When they were presented with the facts they agreed and offered me an $8k raise, which I gladly accepted.

Roughly one year later I was given a promotion to manager and was actively looking to build my team. With the promotion, they increased my salary to $75k, which I was initially happy with. As I began the interview process for my new team member, though, I realized that they were going to offer my new hire $74k. Rather than being frustrated by the situation, I decided to raise the problem and assume that no one had realized we’d be paying an employee as much as we were paying their manager.

I approached my boss to have this conversation and put it very simply: I didn’t feel comfortable making the same as my employee when I had been with the company for two years and was going to be in charge of building a new team. The salaries didn’t match up with the responsibilities of each role.

He agreed and my new salary was updated from $75k to $81k.

My most recent negotiation with the company came as I was nearing the end of my maternity leave with my first child. With childcare costs being so expensive, I decided that I would take time to stay home while my child was young. I let my director know that I didn’t plan on returning to work and a day later I received a call from the President of Marketing. He wanted to know what they could do to get me to stay. I put it pretty bluntly: I needed to make more than my husband in order to continue working and have him stay home with our new baby. He quickly came back with an offer of $90k base + $12k annual bonus.

That moment felt unbelievable. When I was in college I set myself a salary goal to make $90k, which at the time felt unattainable. Now, just six years into my career I had reached that goal.

What advice do you have for other women?

Always have confidence in your worth and advocate for the work that you do. When I look back I appreciate that my salary growth isn’t from constant job hopping or a one-time huge negotiation. It’s a result of my continued focus on my worth and what I bring to the organization. I feel proud knowing that I always advocate for myself and I know that my employer sees my willingness to ask for more and have uncomfortable conversations as an asset to the organization.

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