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Salary Story: How I Became A Food & Beverage Scientist Making $81k

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.
Been in the workforce for at least five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here.
Age: 28
Location: Chicago, IL
Current industry and job title: Scientist; food & beverage R&D
Current salary: $81,000/year
Number of years employed since school or university: Six
Starting salary: $15/hour
Biggest salary jump: From $50,000 to $75,000. I negotiated a salary increase and title change based off a competitive job offer.
Biggest salary drop: I have not received a drop in salary.
Biggest negotiation regret: Being told that negotiation wasn’t an option. I regret not fighting back and believe I was taken advantage of as a young graduate who didn’t know better. Now, as a manager, I always tell younger or newer workforce women to always negotiate.
Best salary advice: You are worth more than you think. If a man can get paid more to do less, you can do the same.

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