Remember that whole controversy a few weeks ago regarding Jennifer Lawrence and the gender gap? When I read that I though, “Boo hoo. Poor movie star misses out on millions of dollars.”
But then I read what she said about it. She wasn’t mad at the employer, she was mad at herself. She didn’t want to be difficult or spoiled. And what I found most similar with myself – she wanted to be liked.
It has a lot to do with my ENFP personality. Perhaps the defining quality of my personality is a desire to be liked. So I never ask for money. In fact, sometimes I offer more money with the hopes that the person may even like me more. Pretty backwards, right?
I do some freelance writing on the side. It is pretty sporadic, so when a gig comes my way, I almost never say no. This time the gig that came my way didn’t pay that much. But I took it anyway and it was a lot of work. I was writing a textbook for elementary kids and this one was about kitchen technology. “A refrigerator keeps things cold.” “Boiling water helps cook things like pasta.” It was pretty dull.
The next topic was a lot more interesting – Alternative homes. This year alone we have lived in a sailboat, an “RV,” and now a houseboat. But the word count was almost twice as much and the fee was going to stay the same.
I finally talked myself into asking for more. I wrote an email to my editor – by far the least confrontational way of asking for something. And he said yes! I made myself $250 more just by asking. But I’ll be honest, I was so nervous. I didn’t want him to take away future projects. I definitely didn’t want him to say no. And most importantly, I didn’t want him to be mad at me.
I felt victorious. I won! But I still feel icky about it. I hate asking for more. Living in America, we don’t bargain for things. I never learned to argue about price and I find talking about money very uncomfortable.
I don’t think the wage gap comes just from gender. For me, its a trifecta of gender, personality, and societal upbringing. And unfortunately, it’s a life skill I will have to practice even more. Asking for what you want is most of the battle.