Anyone else look like a deer in headlights EVERY TIME they are on the receiving end of a money discussion at work? <raises hand gingerly>
You’d think after almost twenty years of doing this, I’d be better at it. But the sad answer is no, I’m not. Every time my boss approaches me about money, even though I know darn well the talk is coming because they happen at the same time every year, my response is almost always Exactly. The. Same.
“Wow, thank you!”
What do I say when the raise is GREAT? “Wow, thank you!”
What do I say when the raise (or lack thereof) absolutely sucks? “Wow, thank you!”
What do I say when I don’t fully understand the way the process works? “Wow, thank you!”
What do I say when it’s a pleasant surprise and I’d like to know how I underestimated my performance? “Wow, thank you!”
What do I say when I have a million questions I *want* to ask? “Wow, thank you!”
This is really crazy for me to admit, because, as many of you know, I’m the girl who asks questions. Smart questions, dumb questions, questions nobody else thinks to ask, questions nobody else has the guts to ask. I can’t TELL you how many times I get the text, “Oh my gosh, Melissa, I am SO glad you asked that. I was thinking it too!” in a crowded room or call. I have built a career on this over the years, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
But when it comes to MY money, MY paycheck, I just clam up and just say, “Wow. Thank you,” Every. Damn. Time.
I’m not exactly sure why this is. Part of it is gratitude, I’m sure…I AM genuinely, deeply grateful for financial security. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about how lucky I am to work at a job that I mostly love, and to be paid pretty well for it. I started my working life during a deep recession and have managed to maintain employment throughout others…so the opportunity to simply GO to work and receive a paycheck is not something I take for granted.
So, YES, I *am* always grateful for every dollar. But I also work REALLY hard for them, in a competitive environment. I *want* to make more. I *want* the BEST raise and the BIGGEST paycheck…why is it so hard for ambition and gratitude to walk hand in hand? Why do I feel ashamed to ask questions about how decisions were made? Why is it so hard to say, kindly and calmly, “Wow, thank you. I’m a little surprised, though. Help me understand how you came to this conclusion.”
Any other normally strong women (or men!) clam up about money when their boss brings it up? More importantly, who has figured out how to overcome this anxiety and handle these discussions WELL? THAT is the post I’d prefer to write.