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Salary Story: I Got A $20,000 Pay Raise By Contracting — Then Even More By Switching Back

Illustrated 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 people more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.
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Age: 32
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Current industry and job title: Information technology, product manager
Current salary: $130,232/year
Number of years employed since school or university: 10
Starting salary: $49,500/year
Biggest salary jump: $87,000 to $115,000. I converted from contracting to working directly at the same company.
Biggest salary drop: $54,000 to $48,500. I was let go from my first job and decided to make a career change. I was willing to take the small drop to start getting experience in the new field. Plus, it was with a Fortune 500 company.
Biggest negotiation regret: Despite having some insider information when I was converting from contract to full time (as I could access the company interweb and see some pay details for my level), I think I should have asked for more. HR and my boss didn’t bat an eye at my salary request (it was a 33% raise for me). Then, the next year, I received both a normal pay raise of 3.5% as well as a cost of living adjustment. Between the two, my salary increased by another 13%.
Best salary advice: If the company doesn’t want to pay you a reasonable rate, don’t go through contortions of convincing yourself you want the job anyways. Politely decline and keep looking.

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