Advice Roulette: Working Women

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Working women found in the Lean In gallery of Getty's updated stock image collection. (Getty)

Today is a special installment of our occasional feature - radio advice roulette! In honor of Equal Pay Day, women listeners can ask fellow listeners for job-related advice live on the radio. By some estimates, women still earn on average about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and so today symbolizes how long into the new year a woman has to work to earn what a man in the same job earned just in 2013. So this special edition of advice roulette is for women to give and get advice about careers, the workplace, and their home/work balance.

Here's how it works: If you need advice on anything work-related, whether it's how to ask for a raise, a promotion, more time off, anything - call 212-433-9692 and we'll pair you with a fellow WNYC listener. The catch? Before you get to ask for advice from someone, you have to give advice to another caller. 

Some of the Questions Asked During Our Segment

Got advice about these or any of the other topics that came up on the show today? Post in the comments!

  • How truthful are you when you disclose your current salary when you’re applying for a new job? 
  • How do you approach a co-worker you have a dispute with? 
  • A caller in college says that she doesn't love her major as much as her other studies. Should she switch majors, even if it means taking on more school, and more debt?
  • If your colleague is skeptical of your sick days, how do you walk the line between explaining your doctor's appointments and disclosing personal information? 
  • How do you go about switching industries in the middle of your career? 
  • How do you change the perception of who you are as a co-worker mid-career? Maybe you’ve changed as a person, or as a worker...How do you make sure people recognize who you have become?

Comments [11]

Kris from Staten Island, NY

I had a career for 20 years and then left to have three kids. I have been home for seven years and looking to go back to work. Should I explain the gap in employment in my cover letter? Would someone be less likely to hire me because I chose to stay home with my family than someone who thinks I have not been able to get a job for a long time? Thanks in advance for any advice here.

Apr. 08 2014 01:13 PM
Beth from Brooklyn, NY

Carline... My advice, take your new skills, and find a new place to work!! My experience with this is that I tried for too many years to change the opinion of my co-workers (and more importantly, boss) and it just wasn't truly possible. I was expected to be doing the work of a higher level employee, and I liked that work, but was still not given the title or respect that came with the work. It was when I finally left that position to head to a new organization, that I was able to see I was waiting for them to change, and it wasn't worth the wait! I should have moved on sooner. I love working somewhere with people who really see who you are :-)

Apr. 08 2014 12:05 PM
Andrea from Philadelphia

Hannah--my advice is different than that of the woman you spoke with. If your supervisor makes another comment, just say something factual, "Actually, Stan, I'm entitled to 5 sick days a year and I've only taken 1.5 since I started working here, so I don't think I'm sick that much." If he pursues it, ask if there is anything specific he can think of that you haven't accomplished because of being "sick." My concern is that if you use the "it's personal," this person who already has created this image in his mind that you're sickly or overly obsessed with your health will take it as a non-denial denial and jump to the conclusion that there's something seriously wrong. I think it would be more effective to challenge his mis-impression and try to get a sense of what it's based on. If he makes a comment about your vitamin-taking, maybe buy him a bottle and sweetly say, "I think you'll find that you get sick much less often if you take these." or something to that effect.

Apr. 08 2014 12:03 PM
New Yorker from NYC

So glad BL chimed in to answer the young college student about not incurring further college cost...the person she asked sounded super young.
You def' don't need a journalism degree to write journalism.
It's more about building contacts and meeting people than showing a degree - of course, you need to be talented.

Apr. 08 2014 11:57 AM

This isn't a negative critique toward the person who asked the previous salary question, but rather a comment about the overall job-seeking environment: it's amazing we have to be concerned that a potential employer will find out what you made at the last job. If you have an eager and willing candidate's job history and interview skills to determine worthiness, why should previous salary be relevant?

Apr. 08 2014 11:55 AM
SKV from NYC

The best way to get a raise is to have another job offer in hand. If you are of value to the organization, they will at least match, probably better, the offer.

(Of course, you must be willing to walk if they don't. But you should do this anyhow, because the other offer is better.)

Companies just don't give big raises unless they have to. Why should they? So show them they have to.

Apr. 08 2014 11:53 AM
Brooklynite from Brooklyn

The key is getting the potential employer to fall in love with you. Once they do, you are in a better position to negotiate salaries because you become the person they really want.

Apr. 08 2014 11:52 AM
Emily Logue from Princeton, NJ

Two comments: first, my former company sent out an annual package outlining the total annual compensation package, including contributions made by the organization on the employee's behalf to health benefits and 401K plans, boosting the total to almost twice the actual salary. Is it ethical for one to use that total figure to describe salary expectations to a prospective employer when asked?
Second, in my last position, which I held for 4 years, I was actually punished - "written up" for asking for a raise. Is that legal?

Apr. 08 2014 11:51 AM
amy from SoHo

@beth from princeton try to stay at least a year before moving to a new job

I love for job advice!

Apr. 08 2014 11:49 AM

Sigh - in my profession which is dominated by women, other women who work in related areas think we should provide our services for free - or at a lower rate.

Apr. 08 2014 11:47 AM
beth from princeton

I was unemployed for a year. I found a job equal to
my previous job in pay and status, but it is not a perfect fit. How long is it ethical to wait to look for a new one?

Apr. 08 2014 10:13 AM

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