I Make $145,000 As An Integrated Marketing Senior Manager & I Had To Take Unpaid Maternity Leave

In our series Salary Stories, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate details of their jobs: compensation. It’s an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions, and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.

Been in the workforce for at least eight years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here.

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Previously, we talked to a human resources founder/CEO in New York City, a behavioral health consultant in Houston, TX, and a social worker in Raleigh, NC.

Age: 34
Current Location: New York, NY
Current Industry & Title: Publishing, Integrated Strategy Senior Manager
Starting Salary: $38,000
Current Salary: $145,000
Number Of Years Employed: 12
Biggest Salary Jump: $30,000 in 2017 (from $100,000 to $130,000)
Biggest Salary Drop: $5,000 in 2009 ($38,000 to $33,000)

Biggest Salary Negotiation Regret: "When making the transition to my current job, I should have asked for the specific terms and conditions of the benefits. My husband and I were planning to start a family in the near future, and once I was pregnant I learned that the company offered zero full paid-time-off maternity leave. I had been with the company for over a year and was not eligible for any compensation. (Only employees with two-plus years were offered four weeks off.) In the end I did ask to be compensated for two weeks, which I was granted."
Best Salary-Related Advice: "Be confident when expressing your salary requirements; always look at the person you are negotiating with. Go in with a game plan as to what you want and what you are willing to 'bend.'"


"This was my first job out of college, and I did not negotiate. I was happy to get a job so quickly after graduation and was more excited about the fact that the job was located in New York City, where I had always envisioned myself to be. I also knew the offer was in range with what other friends in the industry were receiving.

"This was at a global public relations and communications company that provided strategic counsel to large companies. I assisted with putting together presentations for new business opportunities, while also acting as executive assistant to the president of the Northeast."
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"After a year in my first job, I knew that PR agency work was not in my future, and if I wanted to have a long, successful career, publishing was what piqued my interest. I knew that was where I wanted to be, and I accepted a role for less money but felt in the long run that following my passion would bring monetary success.

"I got the job by reaching out to a human resources contact (which I sneaked from my previous boss's Rolodex) at a leading publishing house that was a competitor (equally large, if not bigger than) to the one I interned at in college, and got a job at one of their men's brands.

"The job paid $5,000 less than what I was making before. At the time, this did not bother me. I lived at home with my parents, and it was a 45-minute commute into Manhattan. This time, location was not what excited me about the job, but rather the job itself."
"As I entered the world of publishing, the financial crisis happened. The world of media, and how consumers receive information, began to rapidly change. As a result there were many internal, structural changes that happened at my brand from the minute I entered the job. The publisher of the magazine was replaced three times during my tenure, and by the third, I began looking for a more stable brand to work for. I was also eager to move into Manhattan and out of my parents' home.

"I moved into a new role with a new company. The brand was very niche and offered access to a more affluent audience/advertisers. I asked for $50,000, but was told there was a $40,000 budget; they ended up meeting me halfway. I remember thinking this would be a significant increase in my paycheck, but an estimated $10,000 increase only equates to about $200-300 per check, which I wish I had known, because it was not enough to financially pay for rent in New York City (even with roommates).

"As a promotion coordinator, I managed the pre- and post-RFP process, coming up with ideas for potentially interested advertisers, and created a deck to support those concepts. I executed activations for high-end luxury and jewelry accounts as well."
"Nine months later, eager to make more money and move into Manhattan, I found a job at a smaller magazine that was growing rapidly, doing more in the digital, social, and experiential space, and as a result was expanding their marketing department. As I started to research the cost of apartment rentals in New York City and what my monthly contribution would be (knowing also that I would have two roommates), I knew what my salary goals were. I asked for $60,000, knowing that would allow me to be able to finally move into Manhattan, and the company did not even blink an eye.

"I continued to manage the RFP process pre- and post-sale and was dedicated to overseeing the travel category, endemic to the brand I was working for, so the volume of work was high. The budgets advertisers were willing to set were also higher ($500K+) than what I had worked on, prompting bigger/cooler ideas. I stayed for nearly five years, working my way up from $60K as an integrated marketing manager to $88K as an associate director."
"I began looking for jobs at bigger companies again and received another offer from my former publishing house, but for a different publication. When I informed my current place of work that I received the offer, they countered and gave me more than what the potential new job was willing to pay ($5,000 more). I enjoyed my current place of work and knew there was more I could "do" there. I expressed my interest in wanting to manage and oversee event executions more often than I did. They gave me everything I asked for, and then some, so I decided to stay."
"As senior management began to leave, I took on more work and molded my role into an activation and events lead. I was given a salary increase, at my request, but not a job-title increase, which I did not ask for to begin with. In the long run, I am glad I didn't receive the title change, because it would not have affected my overall position or ranking among peers with similar experience."
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"I was eager again to pursue a job at a bigger company and interviewed for a role at a highly reputable brand, back at the former publishing house I started at. This was a brand and a team that was my ultimate goal — why I set out to work in publishing — and it was now within my reach. The title and salary compensation that were offered to me were aligned with what I wanted: six figures and a director title. So I accepted what I was offered. I also knew, competitively speaking, that if I asked for more, they would find someone who would accept the terms and conditions they were prepared to offer.

"I began to manage the volume of work for a slew of categories — travel, CPG, fragrance, jewelry, and watches. I managed $1-million-plus budgets and worked with multiple sales reps on the accounts. I ideated and executed all concepts and worked across departments to create and execute programs. A lot of the work prompted branded-content ideas, mainly in video and long-form digital articles." 
"The corporate structure of my employer was going through significant changes that impacted the individual brands. For more years than I can count, this company — a pioneer in the publishing world — had been completely restructuring. My job that I loved so much no longer existed in the same form — the day-to-day changed. Brands were merging, and the marketing teams were divided up into pre- and post-sale. I was assigned pre-sale. I had worked my whole career straddling both sides and felt my post-sale skills propelled my career.

"A colleague mentioned to me that a small, privately owned, niche publishing house was looking for a marketing director and recommended me for the role. I threw out a salary requirement that was 30% above what I was making. They offered two weeks' paid time off and I asked for three, which is what I was already receiving. I also asked for my title to be executive director.

"I was presented with an offer that met my first two requests, and a lateral move in title. I wasn't sure about the move, but I felt I could not turn away such a significant salary increase. My husband and I were starting to plan for a family. So I took the job, knowing I needed more of a work-life balance, and a higher income would help with the future overhead costs.

"Unfortunately, I did not give enough attention to the exact details of the benefits. When I asked my now boss if a 'competitive' maternity leave was offered, her response was 'We are very understanding of mothers,' and I left it at that. After 15 months of employment, I was ready to head out on maternity leave, but in the interim, I found out I was offered zero paid time off for maternity leave and that the company policy offered four weeks' PTO starting at two years of employment. Ultimately, I asked for two weeks PTO, and they obliged. But in many ways, I felt misled and misinformed."
"Today I am a senior manager at a digital-only media space that focuses on sports. The same management company that hired me in 2015 brought me onboard. I gave a $10K salary range, based on what I previously made and had hoped to make. I expressed my expectation to be at the higher end of my requirements, but was prepared for them to come in at the lower end. When the offer came in, they met me right in the middle, and I did not counter.

"Though the title seems to be a step down, it is comparable to my other roles, as it's a completely different organization and structure. Here, I manage a team and work with four account executive sales reps on their businesses. The partner company offers yearly raises, depending on overall company and personal performance."
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