A few months back, a co-worker of mine left the company I work for and I took on part of his workload. With these additional responsibilities, on top of an already full-time job, I wanted to ask for a salary increase but I was terrified to have that conversation with my boss. I danced around the idea in my head for weeks. And then, during a regular 1:1 meeting with my boss, at the end of our discussion about work things, I stopped listening to the doubt and fear that typically rule me and went for it. With a stampeding heart, dry mouth, and sweaty palms, my insides churning, my hands shaking under the table in the conference room that we were in, I met my boss’s gaze with steady eyes and a Mona Lisa smile and asked for a salary increase.
“Before we end our meeting, I wanted to talk to you about the additional work load and clients that I have taken on in the past month. I’d like to discuss a special increase.”
I could tell my boss was not expecting this topic.
“Kasey, this is a development opportunity for you. It’s to grow you and your skill-set.”
And this is where that little part of me, my what I call, Ballsy Bitch, who is usually kept hidden deep down inside, reared her beautiful head.
“I understand and appreciate that and I would like you to grow my salary along with it.”
Part of me was cringing at the snarkiness that escaped my mouth. Who was I to ask such a question and then push on it? Why was I deserving? Why was I worthy? A bigger part of me was rejoicing my inner Ballsy Bitch. She was the one exclaiming the very opposite, and not in question form. I was deserving, I was worthy. And then nudging me into that uncomfortable zone of the unknown.
On the outside, I came across as confident and steady. If only my boss knew the scared rabbit shaking with nerves on the inside. I probably lost a good fifteen pounds in sweat during that two minute exchange. But I strongly believed in what I was asking for. More work should equal more pay. And although the thought of getting a “no” as a response was mortifying, the worst case scenario was rejection and mild embarrassment. And the best case scenario, a higher paycheck, was worth that possibility.
If you’re wondering how this story ends, I got the special increase. And it confirmed for me the benefit of getting outside of my comfort zone. Of doing things that make me uncomfortable, scared, nervous. Because the potential upside is worth the initial discomfort.
Travel to unknown places where the people don’t speak your language, share your customs, or eat your food. Do something that you’ve never done before, personally or professionally. Ask questions that leave you feeling vulnerable. These are the experiences that will grow you, that will develop your mettle. That will let your own Ballsy Bitch rear her beautiful head.