‘I negotiated for a $20k salary bump with an all-male C-suite of a startup.’: Woman explains what she’s gained from being more assertive

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“’People won’t like you when you are assertive—clear on what you want and don’t back down at the first sign of pushback.’ Wait, is that even true?

When I was a high school senior, I asked five boys to the prom. They all said no. No problem. I went to the prom stag and had the most wonderful time. Because I was set on having fun.

Did people dislike me for dancing with other people’s dates? Who cares! It’s ancient history. Plus I care more that I had fun. I like myself more for having shown up to prom (and how lucky was I that it was IRL!). That’s what’s most important to me.

Here’s another one. I once negotiated for a $20k salary bump with an all-male C-suite of a startup. They didn’t say yes…at first. There was definitely pushback and maybe even an attempt to undercut my confidence.

Was I nervous to assert my ask? Absolutely. Did I stop wanting to make more money? Absolutely not. A year later, they gave me a $20k salary bump, when the startup raised funding.

I’m so grateful for my past self who dared to be assertive with her ask. Clearly, my bosses liked it well enough to give me the raise I wanted and a promotion. Because they saw I had a spine. I had a desire for growth. The nerve to ask for what I want.

So, listen. If you ever worry being assertive will get you disliked, I invite you to question that. I invite you to consider all the times you cared more for what you wanted, less about what other people thought, and it led you to more self-respect, more fun, more money, and more growth.

And how when you have your own back like this, that makes you more magnetic to people—whether on the dance floor or in the workplace.”

selfie of Asian American woman against the sunlight
Courtesy of Jamie Lee

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jamie Lee. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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