It’s not often that something really awesome goes down in a Starbucks, right? When we sat down with our tea yesterday next to a woman clearly doing an intense one-on-one Zoom meeting, we were prepared to be a bit irritated by the accompanying soundtrack, but, whatever, we chose a busy coffee chain in which to finish out our workday (how that came about is an entirely separate, irritating story), so that’s on us.
Anyway, here we are, trying to mind our own business, when we realize that this Zoom meeting is actually someone’s annual performance review. Hold the phone. Seriously, who doesn’t want to listen to someone else’s review. Juicy! And, it’s become clear that these two work at an ad agency, which seems like the kind of industry where some crazy sh*t goes down. Out of the corner of our eye, we spy on the screen a woman probably a decade, maybe even two, younger than the one to our left.
The review goes on and it’s not actually that juicy because the majority of it is very positive, though our young woman on the screen has some issuexs with sending too many late-night and weekend work messages to her team, which, understandably, makes them feel like they always have to be “on,” which is sh*tty. Then, the good news: Screen woman is getting a raise, yay! Okay, now we can finally go back to focusing on our own work.
“So, I’m going to take my manager hat off and talk to you as one woman in the workforce to another.” OMG, is this really happening, we think, do we get to hear the conversation we’ve always hoped and dreamed women managers have with their female employees? Woman to our left mimes taking off her manager’s hat and we’re so busy anticipating what happens next that the cheesiness of the action doesn’t even bother us.
“My advice to you is that in every review moving forward, you ask the following question: ‘Would you say that my salary is competitive with what’s out there, for the value I bring and the level that I’m at?'” She explains that it is critically important for this young woman to always signal to her supervisors that she is aware of her worth and to put them on notice that she is tracking salaries in the industry and expects to be well compensated for the value she brings to the table. The question is non-threatening, she adds, and it’s also okay to ask the reviewer to check in with HR if they don’t know the answer.
The manager then goes on to explain that part of the reason for the raise is a course-correction — for whatever reason, the young employee is making less than others at her level despite doing an excellent job doing the same work. Woman to our left — obviously we just want to call her a god now — says she wants to set the staffer up for a salary jump the following year and advises her that, “the last thing you want is to be heavy on title and light on salary.” She finishes up by saying that this advice is “the least I can do because someone did that for me” and that she wants to pay it forward and hopes that this young person will do the same.
Reader, we cried. (No, really, we did. But we waited to tear up until we were outside Sbux.) We should all be doing this for each other whenever we have the opportunity. If you have any similar stories to share, please reply and let us know — we love them and they’re instructive, too. We’ll definitely be using the, “Would you say that my salary is competitive with what’s out there…?” line in the future. Pay it forward!
News to note 📝
Note that owing to our extra-long intro and a bit of a staffing snafu, we’re abbreviating this section for this week. We’ll be back in full form next week. Thanks for understanding, and here are the top headlines from the week:
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