• What it REALLY takes to dismantle a lifetime of childhood baggage

    Right now, I feel like a hot mess.

    I have a bunch of childhood memories that I’ve held, but never connected to who I am today and how they shaped and influenced me.

    In going to therapy I started to realise just how deep a lot of this stuff ran. How family dynamics affected me and continue to affect me. How much healing my wounded inner child has left to do.

    Kids are sponges, soaking up everything around them. What’s explicitly said and what’s implicitly modelled. They pick up on the smallest of things, often subconsciously. And even throwaway remarks can resonate for a lifetime.

    Clarity comes with time, and I’m finally beginning to come to terms with my childhood baggage and try to dismantle those unhealthy patterns.

    Becoming more comfortable in my own skin

    I feel like I’ve had self-consciousness and self-esteem issues since about age 8 or so. Part of that is no doubt linked to the challenge of moving to a new country and being an outsider. But part of this also ties back to messages I received about my looks and talents.

    For example, I’m never going to forget being told that I wouldn’t be “pretty anymore” once I got glasses. Or all the commentary on my classmates’ looks, or celebrities’ looks, and especially in regard to certain Asian features.

    I think it’s fair to say I may also have had a love/hate thing going on with femininity. It still makes my blood boil to recall being told that “girls don’t play soccer”, but perhaps subconsciously this may have influenced my rejection of certain “girly” things. I used to take great pride in not learning to cook. In identifying with being a guitar player and listening to rock bands and avoiding chick flicks/lit/pop music. This has swung back a lot in recent years and now I fully embrace whatever I like, regardless 🙂

    Learning to speak up

    I couldn’t tell you why, exactly, but I never felt I could contradict my parents. On the rare occasion that I did, it didn’t land well. On the last occasion, it led to me moving out at age 17.

    I also have serious issues opening up and talking about problems. My family would either not talk about things at all, or talk about things like marital problems that they shouldn’t have revealed to their child. I think this feeds my instinct to clam up and my default is just not to talk about any issues EVER, I struggle so hard to literally get the words out, and in tough times I just become a waterfall of tears.

    In trying to analyse this, I’ve realised that I’m reluctant to say anything if it may hurt someone and if I don’t see any possible positive outcome coming out of it.

    In a work context, I struggle to voice my opinion, fearing I’ll sound stupid and that my thoughts aren’t valid. Yet over and over I get beaten to the punch by other people and I’m trying to just bite the bullet and get in early. I also have a deep belief that I’m not an ideas person – where that came from I don’t know exactly, but it must stem from somewhere.

    Feeling responsible for anyone and everyone

    Being on the receiving end of info I shouldn’t have been told was a burden. Hearing things I shouldn’t have been privy taught me to take other people’s crap on as well as my own, and be overresponsible. I felt helpless as I couldn’t do anything about those things as a child. And now as an adult I’ve been overcompensating and going overboard in the other extreme direction. I couldn’t fix those things for my parents and now I suppose I’m making up for it by taking on and fixing every issue that comes into my orbit.

    I have a pretty bitter memory of an afternoon where I was made to lie still and quiet in bed for what felt like forever, with mum and my baby brother, because he wouldn’t nap otherwise. I was 8 or 9 and resented every second but didn’t dare move. We lived in a shoebox, basically, and anything I did anywhere in the house would’ve been too loud. Little things like this stick with you, teach you things about the way you’re supposed to be.

    My chronic indecision

    I didn’t ever try to trace this back to anything, until I recalled to my counsellor a period in time where I regularly accompanied my dad to various religious groups/meetings etc as he looked to figure things out and find his tribe.

    “That must have been so confusing for you,” she said, “not knowing what to believe.”

    While I’d never thought of it that way, I can’t argue with that. Therapy’s been awesome for shedding light on things, giving me perspective, and making connections I never would have otherwise.

    Now what?

    Not withstanding, I still love them, seek their approval, know they did their best, pity them in some ways. I know they’ve only ever wanted the best for me and would never mean to hurt me.

    They moved our entire family to another country and built a new life here. That takes incredible strength.

    I have to learn to see them as complex humans, who are right about some things and wrong about others, with strengths and flaws … learn when to listen to them and when to listen to myself … and how to reconcile the best and worst of them, with the best and worst within me.

    Now it’s up to me to learn to identify and state my needs, to set boundaries, to focus on myself and do my best to model healthy behaviours for my kid. To literally and figuratively look in the mirror more often and more closely. To feel, process, and release all the baggage stored in the mind and body. however long that takes. I’m making that commitment now and for the rest of my life.

  • Breadwinning while pregnant: gripes and grumbles

    via GIPHY

    Q: What do you get when two pregnant, breadwinning coworkers are on the train home together?

    A: Slightly snarky (okay, envious) conversation about another colleague who’s living an Insta-perfect life on maternity leave with her baby, a husband who makes all the money AND does the cooking (score!).

    But look, we all have our own problems (like a fairly horrendous pregnancy in that person’s case and I’m sure there are others) – it was just nice to vent honestly to each other knowing we’re in the same boat and not going to judge each other for our feelings. That it would be nice to have the option to stay home for however long we wanted. To not be the one responsible for incubating our children AND bearing the financial load to boot. Options, I’m all about options.

    And I know we’re not alone. Just check out Google’s suggested related searches for the phrase ‘female breadwinner’:

    Searches related to female breadwinner

    All of that, I think, gets exacerbated in pregnancy. I had a fairly easy one. And I was still SO DONE by 8 months. Even taking it a day at a time was slightly torturous. No, pregnancy is not a disability … but I was definitely nowhere near 100%. And thanks to my extra lame immune system, I just kept getting sick what seemed like every month.

    Don’t get me wrong; I was thankful to have made it that far and that healthy. I mean, nobody wants to experience pregnancy complications, but when your income is what keeps the household afloat, being put on early rest is going to be a huge financial blow (unless perhaps you shorten your maternity leave by the same amount of time, and get less time with the baby post-birth. Yay.)

    I had to book in my leave plans at the 6 month mark, which was a bit tough. On the one hand, I had no idea how I would physically feel in those final weeks.  People kept telling me how hard it was going to get and how I wouldn’t want to work up to 38 or 39 weeks, to which I clenched my teeth and smiled and nodded.

    Because on the other hand, I didn’t want to fritter away my leave days. Simply put, every week I’m off pre-delivery means a week less post-birth to spend with baby. It’s a gamble – baby might come early, robbing you of that precious downtime at the end. But then again, baby might be late and leave you sitting around waiting! There’s just no telling. I’d rather err on the side of not wasting too much precious leave beforehand.

    So in the end, I was planning to work up until 38 weeks and hoping to get a couple of lazy weeks in at home. (I was counting on the fact that first-time mothers are usually late … but then I read that Asian women often give birth early?!) And that seems to be quite late by usual standards around here, it seems more common to finish up a month before you’re due or sometimes even earlier. And I totally get it, pregnancy gets so more uncomfortable in the third trimester! The fatigue, the fogginess, and holy shit the reflux.

    Of course, that was all a moot point when I went into labour at 36 weeks. September was always meant to be our month to get things properly ready ahead of Spud’s arrival, but that did not happen at all. His arrival in early (instead of late) October meant a mad scramble to take care of stuff – thank goodness for family chipping in to help a little bit, bringing food, helping clean up the house, going out to look for baby clothes in preemie sizes. I had no time off at all to myself and never got to wrap things up at work in the way I’d planned.

    I’m over halfway through my maternity leave now, which is crazy. Financially, it’s been way more stressful than expected (a long story for another post, another time). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t battling a lot of resentment, given I’d done my part with planning and budgeting and carried all that out. It’s definitely put a bit of a damper on things.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed being able to stay home and watch Spud grow. It’s also really fucking hard work sometimes, and I’m looking forward to sending him to somewhere as good as  day care Werrington– I think he’s going to thrive on the stimulation. While, as I’ve said before, it’d be really nice to have the option to take a year off … personally, I don’t think I’d be cut out for it anyway. Lucky, that!

  • A tale of two pregnancies

    A tale of two pregnancies

     

    A few years back, I found myself working with two pregnant women about my age.

    They had totally opposite experiences.

    One breezed right through pregnancy from start to finish. Her belly grew, but apparently literally nothing else changed for her. Zero physical symptoms. She didn’t think ‘baby brain’ was real. Basically, she had the dream experience.

    The other encountered pretty much every possible problem, actually at first she was having problems to even get pregnant until her doctor made she to take Fertility Pills and ginger tea every morning.  You name it, she suffered from it. She was the worst case scenario.

    “I would just like to know, really. I want to know,” I wrote in the first draft of this blog post a couple of years ago. “How bad will it be for me? And how will I feel once I’ve had it? Is my entire world view going to change?”

    So far it has been quite manageable. I mean, I can’t speak to the latter part, but pregnancy so far is tolerable.

    The first trimester

    I got a bad cold/flu early on that knocked me for six, and then the first trimester exhaustion kicked in. I did nothing but go to work, come home and collapse.

    Month three brought about indigestion and appetite changes, aches and pains, a dash of dizziness. No throwing up, thank god. (Though there was one occasion where I was about to dash to the bathroom to be sick, only then for a dizzy spell to set in that left me wondering; am I going to faint or vomit first? I made it to an armchair for a rest while the moment passed, without either passing out or puking. #winning)

    The second trimester

    The second trimester is meant to be easier for most but I’m not sure if that was true for me. Once I got noticeably bigger bang on at 12 weeks, indigestion became a near-constant in life and those post-dinner witching hours in particular (about 8-10pm) became a hurdle to be endured. The bump also started to make me feel like a lumbering elephant most of the time, particularly since I seemed to be showing quite a lot given how far along (not that far…) I actually was.

    The food aversions seemed to recede toward the end of month 4 and my appetite grew thanks to the use of  an appetite supression product; I could once again eat a full sized meal! I had a few more dizzy/nauseous spells too – the worst happened on a crowded morning train – but they also stopped around this time and with any luck that’s the end of those for good.

    Pretty much bang on 20 weeks when I was starting to worry about not feeling any movement, I felt the first kicks. And now they’re constant! It’s bizarre, but I love it, and I think I’m going to miss it. Although the stronger they get, the more I suspect it’s going to get painful at some point. I think I had my first taste of lightning crotch recently, and while it was faint and short lived, I could do without any more twinges like that.

    Month six has been tough because we’re in the midst of winter. I’ve struggled with cold/flu twice pretty badly – but it beats having the flu AND having to look after a baby too. And they don’t kid about having a built-in heater, aside from the extra crappy immune system, winter pregnancy is brilliant!

    The third trimester

    Right now I’m just about to hit the third trimester and it’s really starting to hit me that this baby is gonna have to come out! Eeek. But most of all, I’m suddenly feeling supremely unprepared for life with a little human. Semi-last-minute jitters? I did have a dream that Spud arrived, and slept through the night, and barely made a peep – was basically just a doll in a diaper. Here’s hoping…

    In the meantime, I did my one-hour glucose test yesterday (fingers crossed…) and am going for a growth scan tomorrow (because my fundal height was at the low end of the range). I also have my first antenatal class this weekend. It looks like my baby shower will be just 2-3 weeks before I’m due, so potentially we may need to get a few things at the last minute to fill any gaps. We’ll see!

    Weirdly enough, two others in my team at work are in the same boat. We’re all due in the same month, though they’re each slightly ahead of me by a week and two weeks. We’re all in this crazy up-the-duff journey together, and given none of my friends are currently pregnant it’s nice to be sharing it with others!

     

  • Saver vs spender: how we found our money groove

    5 steps to getting on the same financial page with your partner

     

    You know you’ve come full circle when your spender partner doesn’t want to spend the money he’s been saving for a particular thing, on that particular thing.

    I find it amusing, anyway.

    How did we get here?

    I’ve alluded before to how we have somewhat separate accounts (the mixed method really) and it’s working so much better compared to when I handled basically 100% of that stuff. Overall, money meetings/talks are now way less stressful and anchored in positivity more often than not.

    That’s not to say it’s been effortless, especially at the beginning. But like with most things, getting into a groove starts with laying the groundwork.

    Banish the cobwebs

    Step one for us was getting back to ground zero. And that meant a little bit of individually reflecting and looking back before we could move forward.

    Where are you now and why? What’s your role in the situation? Hopefully you’ve become aware of your own blind spots, tendencies, and yeah, mistakes. We’ve all made missteps at some point, some more serious than others. It takes two, rarely is one partner entirely faultless. Even if (ahem) you feel hugely slighted, if you’re committing to making this work, being the bigger person goes a long way initially. Have the grace to forgive yourself, forgive them and let the past go.

    Forgetting may not be possible or desirable, but forgiving is necessary to make progress – if that’s what you want to do.

    Pick the right time

    Okay, so you want to actually talk money? Set up for success – timing is everything! It’s got to be a place and time where you’re both relaxed and have the headspace to give the topic your full attention. You wouldn’t want to hit your boss up for a big raise when they’ve just spent all day rushing from workshop to meeting to conference and are totally exhausted. Context matters.

    So don’t force the money talks. They may (and probably will) initially kick up some complicated feelings and negative energy. Pushing and pushing for a conversation at that point is only going to lead to hurt feelings, taking things personally and wrongly perceiving things as an attack or criticism. Keep it short, know when to stop.

    Back to basics

    Don’t assume anything, especially if you’re the person who’s been doing it all. T literally did not know what we spent on most of our key expense categories, because it’s not something he’s all that interested in and thus I didn’t make an effort to involve him. But (duh) him not being across things at that basic level made it really hard to talk about money in any detail let alone our bigger goals for the future and what we might need to do to reach those.

    Make it a conversation

    Keep the dialogue going and try to avoid absolutes – you always, you never etc. Also bad: taking opposing stances on everything – you’re careless, you’re stingy, you’re too generous, you’re too obsessive. 

    Try and turn each point around and look for examples of contradictions – I bet you’ll find a few cases where you broke with the pattern. The time when you splurged randomly – why? The time when you saved for something and actually stuck to a plan – why? While we all have tendencies we naturally fall into and revert to, we’re also capable of acting out of character and understanding what drives that can be really insightful.

    Speaking of ‘why’ … that’ll be the next step. Figuring out your goals and getting aligned behind them.

    Take it slow

    Don’t expect to see 100% eye-to-eye. This is totally natural. Resist the urge to nag and try to convince your partner that your way is the only way. Particularly if you’re paired up with a Rebel (Four Tendencies anyone?) that’s gonna land like a lead balloon.

    Wishing for them to change (especially overnight…) does not work. Focus on what you CAN control, namely yourself: doing what you can and leading by example. Odds are that they’ll increasingly get onboard once the benefits start to become clearer under your steering. Or you may gradually come around more to your partner’s way of thinking and adjust your approach accordingly. For us, he’s moved a long way towards me on the spectrum, but I’ve also loosened up a little and shuffled his way a bit. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t hurt that our income’s gone up, meaning the purse strings are less tight – that’s a luxury that’s helped a lot in this regard.

  • You don’t have to optimise EVERY minute of your life

    you dont have to optimise every minute

     

    First trimester exhaustion is no joke.

    Probably not helping was what I’m pretty sure was a light spell of flu or a terrible cold around the second month thrown in there.

    However much was due to my growing a human vs legit illness, I spent literally weeks out of action beyond making it to work and home again (and not even that, some days). Evenings and weekends, the only place you’d find me was flat on my back in bed. And even now, my (never great) energy levels aren’t what they used to be, so I need even more rest and sleep than normal. On top of that, the occasional dizzy spell likes to come out of  nowhere, relegating me to the nearest seat (or better, bed) to recover.

    I had to get over my guilt about doing nothing pretty quick smart, and embrace marathoning Jane the Virgin.

    A happiness hack

    Separately, I’d already been working for a while on reframing how I think about the nonproductive hours in my week.

    I guess you could even spin it as optimising my time, though maybe not in the traditional way.

    The things is, I hate waiting. Seriously hate it.

    But instead of resenting the commute, I’m starting to enjoy it (maybe even look forward to it sometimes) as it’s often the only time I can carve out to decompress and meditate.

    And now that the days are getting shorter and it’s dark earlier, I’m switching it up. Normally I bus to the train station in the morning, and walk home from the train in the evening; these days I’m walking in the morning (bonus: it warms me up for the day, gets the blood flowing on wintry mornings!) and bus back from the station home.

    The same with walking the dogs. It’s gotta be done. Sometimes it can be doubled up as a run for me, but not every walk can be a run – and these days I’m just not up for running at all, to be honest. Some walks need to be training walks, and some need to be relaxing sniffy walks where they can just be dogs – walks when I can let my mind roam free and work on visualisations and mantras.

    Rather than impatiently waiting for these ‘unproductive’ times to end, I’m trying to use them in better ways. Repurposing them from hours to be endured with the help of Spotify and podcasts, to precious flow and meditation time.

     

     

     

  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst: On balancing a positive mindset with our pesky mate Murphy

    Why you should hope for the best but plan for the worst

    I’m a big believer in Murphy’s law. A bit of a pessimist that way. Particularly when it comes to finances.

    I’m also a more recent convert to positive thinking, the power of mindset and yeah, maybe even manifestation to an extent.

    Which leaves me struggling a bit to reconcile the two approaches. They seem at odds, right?

    A few years ago I made the conscious choice to try and shift my thinking on the regular, and make an effort to switch up my default state.

    Amazingly … it made a difference. I wouldn’t say it changed my core personality – I’m definitely still a realist, with the same sarcastic tongue and sense of humour – but it actually did wonders for my state of mind and made me a more pleasant person to be around.

    Last year I really started to delve more into mindset, with books like Think and Grow Rich, You Are a Badass at Making Money, Secrets of Six-Figure Women.

    Hell, I even changed my passwords like some say to do, so that your goal is front of mind each time you type it in.

    Is it helping? Can’t hurt, I figure … there’s nothing to lose. At the very least, it reminds me of my goals multiple times a day.

    Of course, not everything is within our control and shit happens. Positive thinking doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand and blinding yourself to reality.

    But it can definitely shore up your ability to cope with setbacks and manage stress. I’ve found that opening up my mind like this has led to me to see more possibilities and think differently in order to succeed.

    Balancing these viewpoints, I’ve come to realise that this is something I’ve basically always proclaimed to aspire to:

    Live for today, save for tomorrow.

    Hope for the best, but also, plan for the worst.

    What would yours be?

  • What makes you feel rich?

    How little things can make you feel rich every day

    Aside from actually looking at your account balances, that is!

    For me, it’s things like…

    Passing a WOF

    After years of expensive Warrant of Fitness checks (they always struck terror into my heart – our crappy car always failed and so it was never a question of whether we needed to sink money into it to pass the WOF, but how much). Since buying this car, that stress has totally gone away, and we only need to go once a year as opposed to every six months. It’s such a great feeling to pass the first time around. And it still feels like a luxury.

    Going to the movies

    We’re lucky that competition in our part of the city has driven prices down. Instead of paying $15 or more per ticket, we can buy tickets for under $9 at our local cinema! Even so, going to the movies still feels like a big extravagance to me.

    As a kid we only ever rented movies from the video store. Even though new releases ($8 for overnight) cost more than a child movie ticket. (Sure, more than one person can watch it if you’re hiring movies to play at home … but it was only ever just me, as my parents aren’t into movies and my brother was so much younger.)

    Getting food delivered

    Recently UberEats launched here and I got a $10 voucher to use on it. There’s something so crazy indulgent about having a meal come to you without having to lift a finger (aside from tapping out your order in the app). I feel very strange about having a person rock up at my door with dinner from an outlet that’s literally located just a few minutes away. Not planning to make this a habit, but a good backup for when you’re bedridden with the winter flu potentially and can’t rustle up real food for yourself!

    It’s different for everyone…

    This all stemmed from a random conversation we had the other day when T talked about how as a kid, a bucket of chicken from KFC was kind of a signifier of money – it’s something he didn’t see or experience until adulthood. And how in general they never had name brand stuff growing up. These days it’s often important to him to get branded stuff if it’s going to last longer; the flipside is that having grown up with cheap stuff that they weren’t taught to care for or treat well, looking after the good stuff properly is not an instinctive thing either.

    For me, if I go back to my childhood … I don’t think we ever paid full price for anything, so buying something that’s not on sale sometimes still feels like a splurge.

    What little things make you feel rich?

    *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

  • Productive worrying vs pointless spiralling: How I stop myself from freaking out about money

    how to stop worrying about money

     

    $&@*!!!!

    That was my reaction a few weeks ago when the first pay day of the year arrived … and I hadn’t been paid.

    My mind immediately went into overdrive.

    Where was the money?
    Was it just delayed due to the New Year public holidays?
    Had it not been processed by the finance team?
    What if I wasn’t going to get paid at all?
    What would this mean for cashflow for the next week, and the week after, and the week after, and the week after? I’d have to tap into savings, maybe take some from the house renovation fund …

    And so on and so forth. Straight into the worst case scenario and all the disastrous consequences.

    It’s so easy to spiral – but I managed to take a deep breath before spinning totally out of control and reassess.

    I had enough in that account to pay the mortgage – priority numero uno.

    Cash savings elsewhere would tide me over for all the other expenses.

    And that was all I truly needed to think about right then and there.

    No use immediately jumping to catastrophic conclusions and getting lost down the paths of endless what ifs.

    Worrying isn’t always a bad thing, if you know when to stop

    There’s the productive kind that leads to making contingency plans.

    But then there’s needless stressing. It’s like picking a scab.

    It serves no purpose whatsoever – aside, perhaps, from giving your mind something to do. And the only possible result is that you make yourself feel worse and worse as it drives you into a frenzy of fear and self pity (you know exactly what I’m talking about).

    That’s unhelpful, unhealthy, and it’s something I’ve worked hard to cut out.

    It doesn’t sound like much, but I was super proud of myself for catching myself in the act and nipping it in the bud.

    Because as it turns out, my biggest downfall is my own hyperactive mind. Some might abuse substances, or food; my destructive behaviour manifests as compulsive, obsessive stressing.

    Happy ending! The money came through sometime between then and the next time I checked back – which I refrained from doing until the next day. All that fretting would have been for nothing.

    The urge to scratch that itch was strong, but every time I stamp it down it gets a little easier.

    Rewiring your mind

    Another example: several months ago I got a letter from the owner/landlord of the neighbouring property. They wanted to put up a new fence … and their estimate was over $6,000, or $3,000 for my half.

    Now, a new fence is on the roadmap for us, we just need to find the best 200 Amp IGBT AC DC TIG/Stick welder under 1000$, and it’s something we wanted to get done as soon as possible. But not just yet (the kitchen comes first) and certainly not at that price. $3k for a fence was not in the budget any time soon.

    I stressed out majorly about this. Raged, worried, spent ages researching the law and our obligations. Wrote back outlining my viewpoint and countering their proposal (which boiled down to, we do not currently have the funds or desire to do this right now).

    Then it was just a matter of waiting. Time enough for me to review the situation with a clearer mind and reassure myself that even if this were to go ahead, I could absorb the expense. Sure, it would make a massive dent in my savings and postpone our kitchen project for who knows how long … but it wouldn’t ruin me.

    Time passed and no response came, so: crisis averted. We can tackle the fence later with the help of chain link fence repair denton tx when we’re in a position to do so.

    And that was a huge exercise in resetting my emotional reactions, and a big leap forward for me. In fact, I think it was my biggest breakthrough in terms of stopping the spiral before it went too far.

    Breaking the cycle

    Since then, I’ve taught myself to allow less and less time to freak the fuck out, and more quickly move on to considering the options, and accepting the possible outcomes.

    Overwriting that thought pattern takes time, just like building any muscle or habit. Developing the self awareness and self control so that you can catch yourself before the worrying stops being productive and crosses over into self flagellation.

    You’ve got to be able to recognise when you’re heading down that path, and make the choice to break the cycle right there.

    It’ll do wonders for your happiness. Seriously, learning to not let my scarcity mindset drag me down is probably my favourite life hack ever.

  • Ever feel like you don’t deserve your good fortune?

    When you feel like you don't deserve your good fortune

    For all the work I’ve been doing on money and mindset recently, I still struggle sometimes with it all.

    The last few years have been awesome for my income growth  and financial security.

    And yet the thought keeps rearing its head: I don’t deserve this. How long can this last?

    What I’m doing to counter these doubts:

    Reminding myself there is room to grow

    I know it’s possible to do so. Salary surveys and job listings out there prove it. As do people I’ve worked with who earn more. (Of course, this leads to another dangerous path that lies in the complete opposite direction – why don’t I already make that much?)

    Remembering that me having less doesn’t make the world a better place somehow

    The starving artist, nobility is poverty mindset dies hard, I guess. And it’s ridiculous. Me struggling would do nobody any good. I try to remember to give back by donating every month, as well as trying to somewhat regularly give blood, meet up with my mentee, and I’ve also recently joined a local nonprofit board. (Another trigger for imposter syndrome right there!)

    Reviewing how far I’ve come

    I’m horrible at tracking my accomplishments. But I recently updated my CV and LinkedIn (you don’t even want to know how long that took me) and when I’m feeling down on myself professionally, I look back at some of the stuff I’ve done for reassurance.

    How do you cope when you feel like you don’t deserve what you’ve got?

     

  • The dumbest excuses I used to …. not ask for more money

    3 reasons to negotiate your pay

    3 reasons to ask for a raise

    3 reasons to negotiate your salary

    I didn’t negotiate salary until age 26.

    And the first time I asked for a raise was at age 28.

    Don’t do that, guys.

    I actually don’t really regret not negotiating my first couple of job offers. Why? Well, they fell into the categories described here on Ask A Manager.

    But I do regret not asking for a raise earlier. The job that I held the longest? Prime opportunity! And sadly, a missed one.

    3 (bad) reasons I didn’t push for more

    I justified not asking for a raise or higher salary to myself for years. But you don’t get what you don’t ask for, and who doesn’t want more money?

    I didn’t feel underpaid

    I feel fortunate to have earned market rates. I never felt lowballed. I’ve never been through the wringer of learning that a co-worker made tons more money than me for doing the same job. And so I’ve never felt that particular burning motivation.

    Sure, I felt I was getting fairly paid … but would more money have hurt? Definitely not.

    And I think, in hindsight, there’s a fair chance I could’ve gotten more if I’d only asked.

    Not having HR, not having reviews or any sort of structure around performance  … none of that is a good excuse. But also…

    I was scared to ask

    Asserting myself doesn’t come naturally, and unlike my parents who have no shame in bargaining for a deal, I can’t even bring myself to haggle at markets where it’s expected.

    And my anchor points, deep down, I think skew low (baselining off things like the hourly rates at my first part-time jobs, the low-paying field I then went into, what my parents earned when I was growing up etc).

    I just wanted to fly under the radar and do a good job, in a dying industry. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Ugh.

    I thought it just seemed like a bad idea

    Being employed in a industry struggling to make a profit, I felt lucky to have a job at all. I felt competent, but not outstanding.

    I didn’t think that I had any concrete reasons to point to that proved why I deserved more; no ammo with which to back up a request for a raise.

    The former may have been true, but what’s the worst that could have happened?

    As for the latter, I’m pretty sure that was just imposter syndrome talking.



    I can’t even tell you how searingly awkward it was to negotiate that first salary offer (err, and the next one…) and ask for that first raise. I wince when I recall them! But I was crazy proud of myself afterwards, not to mention a little bit richer.

    And if you’re stuck in the cycle of underearning, breaking out will mean getting comfortable with asking for more.

    Not that you need them, but just quickly…

    3 good reasons to ask for more

    Literally a couple of (painful, awkward) minutes could net you thousands more a year, and that compounds over time.

    Their budgets are bigger than yours

    A few grand might make a big difference in your life, but probably won’t affect their bottom line to the same degree. There’s usually some wiggle room, and you know what? Employers won’t be surprised if you negotiate – they expect you to advocate for yourself.

    It sets a precedent for the future

    Raises build on what’s come before. The more you earn now, the bigger those 2%, 3%, 5%, 10% bumps will be later on.

    Raises aren’t a sure thing

    You can’t count 100% on regular raises once you’re in. You’ve got the most leverage at the offer stage, so that’s the time to make the most of it.

    Need more help on this front? Head over to The Luxe Strategist’s epic post on negotiating for yourself.

    *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*