Pandora: Do it for the kids

Pandora: Do it for the kids

I’m going to ask for pay rise today. It’s not something I find easy. I have written two pages about my achievements and the challenges ahead, explaining why I deserve it (how girly!).

But it still won’t be easy to ask.                      

Like many women, I’m a bit uncomfortable about money. I worry about fairness. I know that most male executives walk regularly into their boss’ office to say: I want a pay rise and this is why. I know that, but I haven’t done it.

It’s been a year since I have raised the issue.

So the time has come. Here’s how I am going to steel myself: I’m going to do it for my daughter.

She won’t get the money, directly speaking – well, actually, she will. But I mean that I am doing it for her in a different way.

Every time I fail to ask for an increase in my pay, my daughter – and all our daughters – pay the price. When women reinforce to our leaders – who admittedly have a brief to keep the payroll down – that we can be overlooked without making a fuss, our daughters pay for it. When, instead of training my boss to expect me to ask for what I think I am worth, my self-depreciation clears the way for my boss to ignore me, and to ignore all the young women who follow after me.

I don’t think my boss will ignore me – she is a woman who is well aware of these issues. But she is also a leader with budget responsibilities and she might decide against my proposal. It is a risk.

I know that women often feel that their responsibilities to their children are a big part of the choices they make about work, pay and promotion. I did. We turn down career opportunities that we fear will take away our family time, without checking if this is in fact the case. We leave, rather than face up to the confrontation, or the risk of failure and rejection.

If I do not put myself forward and step up to new opportunities, I reduce the possibility that my daughter will be offered them.

Each of us can diminish or enhance our children’s future workplaces. If we harness our sense of maternal duty and responsibility to advance ourselves at work, we are also serving our children – making the workplace a fairer, more diverse, creative and vibrant place for both our sons and our daughters.

A billion grains of sand makes up the beach.

That’s my excuse, anyway. Wish me luck.


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