The Gender Pay Gap, let's talk about it
The news the past few weeks has been riddled with reports about the gender pay gap.
I've had a few dozen messages asking me what I think of it all. First of all, I'm extremely tired of these conversations, they rear their head every so often because as a society, we're not doing enough to bridge the gap.
So we have to just keep on talking about it.
I cannot speak on behalf of Wisp Global, we are a young and growing company made up of a group of experts in their field and we are comfortable in our culture exploring opportunities with anyone who is passionate about their work.
I don't have a get rich fast ticklist to share, but I do have my experience.
My personal experience is yours for the taking. Although it should come with a disclaimer, money is rarely ever on my radar & Andrew will eagerly attest to that. Also, I have an excellent proven track record of making mistakes, a lot of them.
In the last ten years I've been self employed, employed by multinationals, I've been technical, creative, corporate, founded and closed small companies and cofounded a much larger consultancy, relatively speaking.
Most of my working life has been in male ish dominated environments. The woman who have been among them have been great mentors and friends and I am grateful for the older generations who have enabled greater inclusion. It's become more and more apparent though that one day I will be that generation and there is a societal responsibility on each of us, right now, to eliminate these barriers. My plea though, is that our strategy is all encompassing and not merely reactive to the determent of men or any one group.
When I started my working life I fought for my roles, some were compensated far more than any of my peers. Through a combination of creative work and contract jobs, my salary at the start of my working life was almost that of what it is now. That was nice and I travelled a lot. Then, as all the books preach, I got my full time adult job wearing suits, and my salary dropped in line with my peers. Which was okay, because I didn't really have that much annual leave allowance to travel so didn't spend that much anyway.
Yes having a supportive environment to work in and thrive is a great thing, I had become happy in my situation because it was safe and easy. Sure I sat at the table, I fought my corner, set goals, achieved goal. But at the center of it all I didn't have to hustle for the next piece of work, the next client, I didn't have to delve deep into my issues to understand what was holding me back. And that was okay too. Inevitably, I would have fallen behind my peers in terms of income, purely because it was never my true motivation. Yes, you should always seek to achieve your worth, but my downfall was that I came to be complacent. I wasn't doing nearly enough to promote honest conversation about gender pay, I was just sinking into the background, and dreaming about a holiday.
Then things started going wrong. Things started falling out of whack, as it does prior to any big revelation. Panic attacks, unhealthy behaviours, sickness, fatigue, if you've read any minimalist self help type revelations you'll know how the story goes.
Anyway, when I stepped out of it all inevitably, I had no salary.
Then I found my feet and my creative enthusiasm, my wider headspace had room to dig out a unique path and I made a quiet self promise, to only pursue paths which bring me utter happiness. There are days which are a struggle, but in those times I ask myself "what lesson am I here to learn?" and meditate on it. Sometimes it's patience, okay often it's patience. Sometimes it's acceptance, strength, or simply that I shouldn't do it again, and that's okay too.
It may be Big Magic, or maybe the Universe Has Your Back, it could even be the result of a new Presence or 48 Laws of Power coming into effect or you are a badass at executing Crucial Conversations. Whatever it is, the gratitude and happiness can manifest huge salaries.
When we're struggling to manipulate ourselves into a role already moulded that's not okay. We cannot compromise our true values for dare I say it, often moulds made generations ago by a completely different society and more than likely, a guy.
So, let's do this. You may be a fantastic leader, excellent worker, you deliver, you succeed, you thrive. However, there's something missing, you may not know it yet but you have far greater value than just your role.
Think about your situation and what you can do to interject your personal enthusiasm, your values and your unique voice - How can you make the mould fit you? Take a moment right now, right this second, to shift your true intentions. Are you acting out of fear? Are your motivations a reflection of your true inner voice?
If you think your salary is unequal to that which your role demands, reach out to your mentor or line manager and prepare by thinking through these points:
- How do you think you’ve performed against the objectives and behaviour models which the role sets out?
- Where have you performed particularly well? When talking about your achievements within your role, focus on "I" statements... "I delivered the project below budget, saving the company X"
- Where do you think you could have done better? Think about what is holding you back, could it simply be additional training or mentoring?
- What are your strengths and greatest skills and where could you improve with some focus, mentoring or training?
- Thinking about your current job, do you enjoy it? Does your current role provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop or would you like the chance to do more?
- Is there anything you need from your manager to help you perform at your best?
- Is there any feedback you could give your manager to improve the way you work together? Remember that growth within a role can be a two way street and there is no need to fear those situated in senior positions.
- Do you have any ideas for continual performance improvement and is there an opportunity to link this to your personal objectives?
Remember, many companies are driven by the central aim of profit generation, and where possible if you can use examples which quantify your efforts and highlight savings that your true potential brings, the better.
Take time to think about your values, your motivations and what it is that you are truly grateful for. Talking about pay may feel like a social taboo, but we need to keep talking about it and keep moving towards a future not defined by extrinsic attributes.