By Guest Author Kelly Magowan
Having been a career coach for well over a decade and worked with a diverse range of clients from various industries and professions (men and women), more often than not it is the men who include money in their list of core values. Occasionally women will, however, only very occasionally. Why is this? Below I have offered some thoughts.
Values can be seen as blurry things. If you need a refresher then below is a great descriptor of what values are from MindTools.
“Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.”
For women it seems that having money as one of your core values could possibly translate into the view that your greedy. Is this perception or reality? I suspect a combination of the two.
When I coach men in their 20s – 50’s about their values in detail and what this means to them, and how it is played out in their work and lives, more often than not money translates into them being able to provide for their current or future families. And no, it is not a luxury yacht, expensive cars or endless overseas travel. It mostly is around having food on the table, paying the bills, a comfortable lifestyle and being able to educate their children. No doubt part of this also relates to status and a sense of self-worth.
So while certainly greed exists, I would suggest for the average person, they are looking to have a personally rewarding career and lifestyle. Is this greedy? I don’t think so. However men are much more comfortable with acknowledging this personal value, and articulating it publicly. For many women this is not the case. In addition, men generally are better at putting a fair or inflated monetary value on their contribution in the workplace.
Is it that it is not socially acceptable for women to acknowledge (which I believe is a part of it), the other is that women are just as likely to want the same output in terms of what money as a value offers. However, are less likely to acknowledge it – be it on a conscious or sub-conscious level. As a result this could potentially be contributing to pay inequality, with men four times as likely to initiate the negotiations as women.
My suspicion is that if you don’t talk about or acknowledge the importance of money in your life from a growth and opportunity perspective, you are less likely to find yourself in a positive money situation.
Money is one of my core values and the reasoning is not one of greed. For me it is twofold, when I work I expect to be paid fairly for the work I do, as this is a part of me defining my self-worth. Secondly, I know that as a child of a migrant, that money provides you with choices. My husband and I lead a far from lavish lifestyle. There is no designer car or high end fashion. We travel rarely and when we do it is in our own state. However for me the value of money is there because like most parents we hope to be able to offer our children the best education we can. I would also like to know that when retirement comes we will lead a comfortable lifestyle where I can continue to do voluntary work within the community. Is this greedy? No, it is a case of money offering choices.
In an age where we have more women working and more separations in families, women’s roles have extended greatly, be it the sole, equal or shared income contributor. Yet this is not translating into equal salaries.
There is an element of denial in how important money is to our lives particularly by many women. Not so much when it comes to shopping, saving or the household budget, more around how the money is earned! The spending part is easy for us all to speak about. The how and valuing how hard it is to earn is the challenge. Also, valuing our contributions and asking to be paid more when warranted!
Last week I met with a friend who is a contender for a senior role and has pitched herself in the middle range of what they are offering – even though she is brilliant and should be pitching herself at the top of the pay scale! Sadly it is a common scenario – a women undervaluing her expertise and the value she brings.
Like me, you have no doubt heard the saying ‘If you do what you enjoy and do it well the money will follow’. I am not so sure about that. Perhaps for some, however, for many others this does not translate into their reality. I can tell you this from countless stories of women who spent their careers being loyal and working hard to deliver value to their employer/s and not being paid fairly for doing so. So we can carry on with this mantra or we can acknowledge that the world of work and pay is not about what is fair and rewarding those who do a good job. The onus is on us to value ourselves and to speak up.
I would love to see a mindset shift around how women define money as a value for their work and lives. Once this occurs we may start to see some even greater traction around pay equality.
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This article was originally published by Kelly Magowan from www.kellymagowan.com and is reproduced with the permission of Kelly Magowan.
Kelly Magowan is the author of e-book, A Busy Woman’s Guide to Salary Negotiations.
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