‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I just found out my co-worker is getting paid $5,000 more than I am. She got recommended for the job by her mom, who is friends with our boss. How do I approach my boss about this? I don’t think I can continue working here. — Charisse
J.T.: This is going to sound harsh, but it’s unfair of you to be mad at your boss or co-worker. Negotiating a salary is YOUR job. If you leave money on the table at the time of your hiring, that’s your fault.
Dale: Well, that does sound harsh, given the family connections of her co-worker. My advice to you, Charisse, is this: Get a new mom.
J.T.: I know you’re joking, but if the co-worker got more, it proves that there was the possibility of negotiating a higher amount.
Dale: I joke about it because Charisse needs to lighten up — there are salary inequities in every company. And, looked at with a light heart, you can make a game out of making more.
J.T.: At this point, Charisse, I would start building your case for a raise, and when the right time comes, sit down with your boss and demonstrate your value. How are you saving the company money? Better still, how are you making the company money? Showcase your work and ask for a raise, biting your tongue when it comes to what your co-worker makes. Mentioning your co-worker will come off as petty and needlessly competitive.
Dale: The best way to be a good negotiator is to be in a strong position — like having other companies offer you jobs. Work at being a better contributor, and being a better negotiator will come easily.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten’s latest book is “(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success” (John Wiley & Sons).
Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
© 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.