Once you’ve finally landed your first job and just feel grateful that someone wants to hire you, it can be difficult to accept that you have another challenge: to advocate for yourself financially. What does it matter what you make in your first gig? You’ll probably make up any differences over time, right? Not so much.
According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), women overall would lose about $418,000 over the course of a 40-year career due to the wage gap. It’s worse for women of color: “For Latinas, the career losses mount to $1,043,800 and for Black women, the losses are $840,040.” That not only affects your ability to pay off loans, buy a home, or raise a family, but also your ability to retire securely later in life.
So that first salary is essential. Contrary to popular belief, you can and should get started on your very first job — and there are ways to make the process feel true to you.