Salary Story: I Got A 21k Bump By Applying For A Job I Didn’t Want

Illustrated by Isabela Humphrey.
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: 36
Location: Cambridge
Current industry and job title: Production manager, education
Current salary: £68,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 13
Starting salary: £21,000 in 2009
Biggest salary jump: £35,000 to £55,000 + £1,000 travel bonus in 2018
Biggest salary drop: Thankfully I've never had a salary drop!
Biggest negotiation regret: Straight out of university I got accepted for my first job at a publishing company. Even though I was successful, I was offered the position at a significantly lower salary than what was advertised because of my 'lack of experience'. I wish I had stuck to my guns and insisted on the advertised amount: after all, if I was indeed the best candidate among strong experienced candidates, why penalise me? I accepted this starting salary but felt I was always one step behind whenever I was promoted at this company – and for reasons unfathomable to me now, I stayed there for four years.
Best salary advice: I have learned so many interesting things about salary that I would love to pass on! Here is my favourite from my last job transition:
The best salary negotiation you’ll do is for the job you do not really want that much. My biggest salary jump was for a job I was trying hard to decline because it didn’t sound much better than what I was currently doing. On a whim I asked for £15,000 more than what they were offering to get the recruiter to stop bothering me. And guess what? They agreed! I probably wouldn’t have been so bold if it had been something I genuinely wanted back then.

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