Talking about money

Updated: Nov 5 2003, 05:30am hrs
Q: I have been working in the same job for the last three years and mostly I dont have a problem. However, in the last year my responsibilities have increased significantly including frequent late nights. But although my workload has gone up, my salary hasnt. I have brought this up with my boss once or twice, but he brushes it aside. I feel very money-minded to remind him over and over but I am beginning to feel quite resentful.

A: Youd be surprised how many women have a hard time talking about money. Partly, its because of age-old attitudes, such as men make real moneythat pays for important things like running a home, electricity bills etc. Women, on the other hand, work only for pocket money to buy baubles like clothes and shoes.

Frankly, whether you work because you need the money or its a hobby or self-actualisation is really not anyones business. If youre putting in good work, you need to be paid well for it. This isnt being money-minded. Its only getting clear in your head about what you deserve. Men rarely have such problems because they dont call it being money-minded. They simply call it looking after their self-interest. As a male colleague once told me: If you dont look out for yourself, who will Thats pretty clear thinking.

Nice girls on the other hand, feel that its unfeminine to talk about money and that their bosses should automatically know how hard they are working and reward them on their own. Sorry, but doesnt ever happen that way. People are not mind-readers. You have to tell them. Sometimes, again and again. No onerepeat, no onegives you more money unless you ask. And surprisingly, just asking often gets you what you want.

Remember, your boss may have a point of view too. Perhaps you are not working as hard as you think. Perhaps you were slacking before and are now merely being brought up to mark. In equal fairness, you deserve to hear that too.

When you do bring this issue up again with the boss, make your reason not that you need more money. Frankly, everyone needs more money. Why should your boss care Tell him that you deserve more money because you are shouldering x,y,z extra responsibilityand have evidence to back these claims up.

Rehearse what you want to say with a good friend and then go ahead and say it. Cleanly, clearly and without a squeaky little girl voice. Ultimately, whether you get what you want or not will matter less than the fact that you spoke up for yourself.

When you put value on yourself, others do too.

(Simran Bhargava is a writer, editor and trained counsellor. Send feedback and questions to: unwindwithsimran@yahoo.com)