Salary Story: I Now Make £90k Because I Let Go Of Company Loyalty

Illustration by Eutalia De la Paz
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 five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here. Published stories receive £100.
Age: 37
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Fashion — marketing director
Current salary: £90,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 15
Starting salary: £22,500
Biggest salary jump: £53,000 to £90,000 in 2022
Biggest salary drop: £45,000 to £37,000
Biggest negotiation regret: Staying loyal for fun and friends, and thinking work is your identity. You work to live not live to work, and balancing that is a priority: you need a life outside of work which is funded by work. Otherwise companies hold you close emotionally and physically to prevent you from leaving and often when you’re young you get wrapped up in the “fun work lifestyle”.
Jumping between companies and jobs is the best thing to do to gain new skills; staying for years makes you too comfortable. I don’t regret what I have done and have been lucky with how I have been able to progress fast in my 30s, but I have seen so many friends struggle in their mid 30s due to being too loyal and comfortable.
I saw this saying and it stuck with me — “You are either earning or learning”: if you get both, that’s the best scenario, but if you haven’t got either then GTFO.
Best salary advice: Make sure you have progression and development where you work. After two years if there is none, then move on. Constantly test the waters and keep your CV updated — you never know who’s going to tap you on the shoulder or want to have a chat. Doors open in every direction without you realising it. It’s all about keeping those bridges open (but not in a kiss ass kind of way). Being a friendly person goes a long way and people don’t forget this.