Salary Story

Salary Story: I’m Not Afraid To Take A Pay Cut For The Right Role

Illustrated by Vivienne Shao.
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 people 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.
Age: 32
Location: Bay Area, CA
Current industry and job title: Technology, human resources business partner
Current salary: $176,000/year
Number of years employed since school or university: 10
Starting salary: $42,500/year
Biggest salary jump: From $126,000 to $165,000 in 2021.
Biggest salary drop: From $90,000 to $68,000, to get on a new career path.
Biggest negotiation regret: For at least my first few roles, I did not negotiate. I was worried that the companies would take away my offer if I asked for more money. I now realize how unrealistic that thought was (and if a company ever did take away an offer, I definitely don’t want to work there). I was leaving money on the table that I really could have used at the time!
Best salary advice: My boyfriend at the time (currently, my husband) told me that when he was hiring a few reports, he had approval to go up to a certain amount of base salary without asking his lead. One of the people he hired negotiated while the other didn’t. It was eye-opening to me that companies don’t come to you with their “best and final” and actually expect you to negotiate. And if you don’t, you’re missing out!

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