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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:51 am 
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I worked for several years managing pay & benefits for a large multi-national company in the UK (a fast food chain, in my pregan days) and was involved in putting together job packages for people at various levels in the company. My experience is limited to this one company (US-parent) and to the UK, but I thought I would share.

Firstly, I don't know of any occasion where we made a job offer that was unreasonably low with the expectation that the candidate would negotiate, or the hope that they wouldn't and we would get away with it. That may happen with other employers and in other industries, I don't know. That's not to say that we didn't negotiate sometimes, but it didn't happen very often and we rarely increased the salary by very much.

Secondly, we had access to information about thousands of salaries across similar jobs in other industries. Most people have an idea in mind of what they would like to earn but any company with a half decent HR department will have access to far more data about what similar jobs pay than you will so you really need to think hard about how to position your negotiation. Knowing that someone else working in the industry earns X won't help you unless you know that your job descriptions are exactly the same, the results of their last few years performance reviews, what other benefits they receive etc - all impact on the basic salary an employee earns. We had a policy about where we positioned ourselves on the salary scale and we stuck to it fairly rigidly, in part because we offered a lot of other benefits and knew the benefits that other companies offered.

Lastly is that employers tend to think in terms of whole package and employees think in terms of basic salary. We successfully hired some employees on a lower salary than they were earning previously (which was too high based on the information we had) by showing them that the total package they would receive from us was worth more - pension, bonuses, share schemes, healthcare etc. None of that may apply in your field and none of it matters if the basic salary doesn't pay your bills, but it is worth bearing in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:26 am 
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Well and I do think it differs especially in technical fields. On my first job, I was giving an offer which I felt was slightly low compared to many of my recently graduated friends offers from similar companies. I ended up negotiating a higher salary. When I got the job, I was actually able to see the pay range for the job title and they had offered me the lowest possible number they could. Negotiating put me below the median of the job range but higher than the lowest possible pay. When I went to a second job, it was a promotion but meant me getting paid less than my current job due to the fact that I had some on-call pay (basically I kept a pager for weekends/evenings, they paid me extra weekly to do so). Anyway after negotiating, showing my skills, what value I brought to their team and the fact that their promotion was actually less than my current salary, they were willing to up the amount.

In my company, they try to do salary surveys and what not and do try to show various value they bring but that is how they define the pay ranges, not the individual salaries. They will try to offer the lowest possible salary if you let them.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:13 am 
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linanil wrote:
Well and I do think it differs especially in technical fields. On my first job, I was giving an offer which I felt was slightly low compared to many of my recently graduated friends offers from similar companies. I ended up negotiating a higher salary. When I got the job, I was actually able to see the pay range for the job title and they had offered me the lowest possible number they could. Negotiating put me below the median of the job range but higher than the lowest possible pay. When I went to a second job, it was a promotion but meant me getting paid less than my current job due to the fact that I had some on-call pay (basically I kept a pager for weekends/evenings, they paid me extra weekly to do so). Anyway after negotiating, showing my skills, what value I brought to their team and the fact that their promotion was actually less than my current salary, they were willing to up the amount.

In my company, they try to do salary surveys and what not and do try to show various value they bring but that is how they define the pay ranges, not the individual salaries. They will try to offer the lowest possible salary if you let them.


Just as a matter of interest, and I mean no offence by this, but if it was your first job why do you think you should have been paid more than the lower end of the pay scale for that job? If it is your first job, you have no prior experience. I assume that a degree was a requirement of the job - if not, the fact that you have one for a role that doesn't need it doesn't necessarily mean more pay either. The median of a salary range is the salary that the average employee should be expecting to earn once they have experience/are fully trained in that role - it isn't a starting salary. Assuming that pay is based on performance and not tenure, anything above the median is for employees whose performance exceeds the average employee. You're right that salary surveys are used to determine pay ranges - for a recent graduate with no prior experience, we would have expected to pay at the bottom of that range. Otherwise, who else would be paid at the bottom of the range?


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:20 am 
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So I don't know how other companies work but my company has 6 levels for employees of a particular type of job. Those graduating from college are only offered the bottom level, which has a wide salary range still and that was what I was offered the bottom of initially. So it was a range for new hires directly out of college or within a couple years of being out of college, that salary range wasn't for an experienced professional. So the way I negotiated my salary for that entry level job was I discussed my specific college experience and my specific job experience while in college, how it applied towards the job that they had hired me for and how I was more experienced than the average college hire. I expected to be hired in at the bottom level but I didn't expect and don't think it was appropriate for me to be hired in at the bottom most salary of the bottom level.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:06 pm 
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linanil wrote:
So I don't know how other companies work but my company has 6 levels for employees of a particular type of job. Those graduating from college are only offered the bottom level, which has a wide salary range still and that was what I was offered the bottom of initially. So it was a range for new hires directly out of college or within a couple years of being out of college, that salary range wasn't for an experienced professional. So the way I negotiated my salary for that entry level job was I discussed my specific college experience and my specific job experience while in college, how it applied towards the job that they had hired me for and how I was more experienced than the average college hire. I expected to be hired in at the bottom level but I didn't expect and don't think it was appropriate for me to be hired in at the bottom most salary of the bottom level.


Ah, OK. Makes more sense now. Sounds like a good negotiation!


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:04 pm 
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Just wanted to give an update--I had my last interview at this place and they started negotiations with me.

They asked what salary I had in mind, and I knew what colleagues with my experience level make so I gave a range that I thought was pretty standard--the low range was the bare minimum I expect and the upper range (a difference of $10k) would be what I would expect to be pretty generous. They acquiesced right away but said to expect the formal offer to be on the lower end of the range and that I'm welcome to negotiate. So I'm not sure if I did the right thing--I probably should have only given the salary that is $10k higher rather than a range, but I lost confidence and chickened out at the last minute. I am pretty sure they're not interviewing anyone else and I know they really want me so I am feeling optimistic that I can bump it up or get more stock or something. I watched a youtube video about women and salary negotiations and the speaker said they always recommend asking for $5k more than what is offered so I'm keeping that in mind.

The only thing that I am disappointed by is the PTO--only 2 weeks where 3 weeks is pretty standard among silicon valley startups. It seems strange to negotiate for PTO but I really want those extra days and I know that it would greatly affect my mental health. Has anyone ever negotiated for more vacation, and if so how do you do it in a way that doesn't make you sound lazy?

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:10 pm 
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acr wrote:
this thread is relevant to my interests! i was offered an editing job this week (hooray!). i had to submit multiple editing/writing samples, so i know they have a clear picture of my skill level. i also know that at least 100 other people applied for this position in this round and that there was another full round of ads and interviews before this one, but they didn't find anyone they liked in that round (according to the hiring manager). this publication is big in its field, and their standards are no joke, so i should be feeling pretty chuffed. instead, i keep wondering whether they just got tired of looking or couldn't get by without someone in house to do that work anymore. their salary offer was a good bit lower than i had hoped for, and i want to believe that it's because they expect me to counter (we haven't gotten that far yet), but the amount really did shake what little confidence i had and make me wonder how much (not even whether) i overestimate my own worth. i doubt myself so much! at every step of this process i spent a few hours focusing on my accomplishments and finding ways to highlight my value, and then a few days thinking of everything i hadn't done or should have done better or shouldn't have done at all and bracing myself for seemingly inevitable rejection. i thought they'd see i was no good after i sent in the first sample, and when that fooled them i figured i'd never hear from them after the interview, and then i was sure one of my references would reveal some unforgivable shortcoming. and then i got the job! and i'm still not sure i'm good enough for the job! obviously, i'm not stoked about trying to prove i deserve more money.

i'm also really unsure of how best to balance politeness and assertiveness in work situations. when i was preparing for my interview, i read through some sample questions online, and one that stuck out was, "would you rather be loved or feared by your colleagues?" the recommended answer was, "neither; i want to be respected," and that is definitely my answer, but sometimes it seems like that space is so narrow and ambiguously defined. i'm very straightforward with my friends, and they tend to tell me that they appreciate that, but i catch myself falling into more of a customer service role in the office. i've been lucky to have some wonderful, very well-respected, very effective female managers as role models, and some of them did encourage me to speak up and participate more because they thought my ideas were good. but if i did that and the reception was lukewarm, i wanted to go back to my desk and never talk to anyone ever again. i lack the courage of my convictions on the job in a major way.

Congrats, acr! If they're a big place, they definitely have the resources to interview people till they find someone good so don't sell yourself short! To me it means you've got what they want and you should feel really good about yourself!

Any updates on the negotiations? It is really tough to get an offer than is lower than what you think you're worth. The worst they can say is no, and it's not like they'll withdraw the offer because you asked for more money so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:14 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
...

The only thing that I am disappointed by is the PTO--only 2 weeks where 3 weeks is pretty standard among silicon valley startups. It seems strange to negotiate for PTO but I really want those extra days and I know that it would greatly affect my mental health. Has anyone ever negotiated for more vacation, and if so how do you do it in a way that doesn't make you sound lazy?

If 3 weeks is standard then that's the reason you give them for asking, nothing lazy about requesting what everyone else in similar positions is getting.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:43 pm 
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A co-worker that started around the same time as me said she negotiated PTO quite extensively before taking this job. It never occurred to me (I don't know why) to negotiate something like PTO until she said that. I don't really know how she went about it though.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:15 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Congrats, acr! If they're a big place, they definitely have the resources to interview people till they find someone good so don't sell yourself short! To me it means you've got what they want and you should feel really good about yourself!

Any updates on the negotiations? It is really tough to get an offer than is lower than what you think you're worth. The worst they can say is no, and it's not like they'll withdraw the offer because you asked for more money so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

thanks! it worked! i'm a successful negotiator! i responded to their initial offer with a range that started a few thousand above what i needed in order to say yes, and they met me in the low end of that range (about 10% above their first number). they sent the revised offer today, even though the office is closed for the holiday, and i feel like i just won at life and the universe and everything. i've had a shiitake year, and i really needed this.

regarding your situation, most things i've read say you should try to negotiate everything--salary, PTO, the option to work from home on occasion, the match on retirement funds, etc.--so i don't think it should shock them or make them think less of you if you bring it up. if what you're asking for is standard in the industry, they should know that, and hopefully they'll be willing to work with you.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:15 pm 
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I work in academia, which is its own special brand of hell, especially re: gender politics. In student and peer faculty evaluations I've been called abrasive, aggressive, intimidating, accessible, unavailable, professional, unprofessional, too nice, too personal, friendly, warm, cold, and told that I have both undersold myself, and that I have overstated my accomplishments. I have read many of the articles on gender and the workplace, and honestly feel at this point that professional women can't win. My tenure case is in front of the college right now. The people in the last ten years who have not gotten tenure, or not been retained at evaluation or hiring time, have all been women.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:13 am 
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I received my physical offer tonight. It's within the range I asked for but definitely the low end. I talked to some of my lady friends in science but jeeze, I sensed some weird attitude (they think I am going to make the big bucks, even though I am really really not. They are in a lower paying field and I am closer to engineering so it seems like a lot by comparison). Suffice it to say, I didn't glean anything useful and ended up talking to my husband. We ironed out my response to remove soft language and replaced passive statements with more assertive ones. It pains me but I'm going to push for a face to face negotiation. We are also practicing the art of the long pause....asking for something and then letting it sit out there in the air rather than filling in uncomfortable silence with hemming and hawing. It's tough.

M-Jane, academia is so terrible for women in my experience. In my dept there was one woman prof, denied tenure my first year so she left the dept. No new female faculty since then, so like 7 years. I mentioned that to my husband, whose dept was closer to 50/50 and he noted that all the female faculty in his dept are real hard asparagi. I think you have to be, and even then it can work against you. When will you find out if you get tenure?

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:52 am 
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lobsteriffic wrote:
A co-worker that started around the same time as me said she negotiated PTO quite extensively before taking this job. It never occurred to me (I don't know why) to negotiate something like PTO until she said that. I don't really know how she went about it though.

Oh god me too. I am an awful negotiator and am always kicking myself for it. I am terrified of asking for too much, but now having sat in the interviewer's chair with my boss I want to pass a note under the table to the interviewee to ask him/her to show more confidence and not end up underselling his/herself like I did.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:58 am 
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Couroupita, just know the worst thing they can say is no. If you want to ask about PTO, I'd do that as well. So you might want to say that "I want X (slightly higher number than you really want) and another week of PTO".

And good luck. I have no idea how much PhDs make other than I've seen some pretty low numbers in certain science fields so I can understand why some others may not think your number is low.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:43 am 
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I don't have any advice couroupita but I wanted to say good luck and keep us updated on how it goes! (and congrats on getting an offer!)

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:51 am 
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lobsteriffic wrote:
I don't have any advice couroupita but I wanted to say good luck and keep us updated on how it goes! (and congrats on getting an offer!)


This!

About PTO: My mom never negotiated for it since getting liberal working from home options was more important. My uncle (in Silicon Valley software) always negotiated up his industry's typical 3 weeks of PTO to 4-5 weeks, since he's European, and works long hours, and brought other things to the table which his company has benefited from. Since you're only asking for the standard, I'd leave it at that and let the standard speak for itself. If you want more time (and a male's pov on how he got it), I'd be happy to ask my uncle for you, or to put the two of you in touch.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:01 pm 
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I'm glad I've had state jobs where I don't have to negotiate for things. The whole process of negotiation feels unfair to me whether it's for salary, buying a car, or anything else. Even though my jobs involve negotiating legal settlements I think even in very unique cases there should be more guidelines and structure so that you're not giving one person much better results than another for something similar.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:22 pm 
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Just an update--negotiations happened on Friday. I was able to get 3 weeks PTO by saying that is the standard amount in this industry--well, it was more like they said they won't keep track of what I take as long as I get my work done. I am not sure if I should be worried about getting that in writing?

As for salary, I said that what was offered was on the low end of what I'd been aiming for and how much wiggle room was there, followed by a pause. He asked if I was thinking about 10% more, which was even higher than I'd hoped so I said that sounded about right. He has to get the CEO and COO to approve of an increased offer so we will see what they say. That is one thing I learned--hiring managers (this was the case for my husband, too) are only able to offer so much, and if you ask for more they have to get approval from upper management. So sometimes if you're offered less it's because that's all they're approved to offer initially.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:54 pm 
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That sounds great couroupita :)

As for PTO, my company has done it a few ways but is PTO vacation or is it everything? We have no official sick days at my work, you just kind of take what you need but since you are salaried, your extra hours go into a pool of sorts. But we do have 2 weeks of vacation for new hires, 14 days/year for holidays/floating holidays and then sick days as we need them.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:54 pm 
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I am so impressed! You are killing it.

If you ever think to yourself "should I get that in writing?" the answer is yes. If you're going to receive a written offer after negotiations, then make sure it's included with the formal offer.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:32 pm 
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I'm de-lurking this thread just to say high five! Great outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:15 am 
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Yes, great work! Inspiring!

I find job negotiating seriously difficult where I live now. I was offered two unpaid sick days a year which is apparently all the provincial government supports. and it just doesn't make sense to me! It's basically saying that if you are sick more than two days in a year not only will you not be paid, but you'll be fired. I get about 4-5 debilitating migraines a year and I most certainly can't work let under those conditions (I throw up, have hallucinations, have auras, blurred vision, throw up some more) and I wonder if I need to point that out--but I know in my work it will be seen as a disability or worse; "just a headache." Sometimes I don't even get a headache--I just lose my mind a bit and don't make any sense and go into panic mode. I don't get flus and colds often but I can't do anything about my migraines.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:29 am 
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Congrats couroupita!!! When do you start?

When I worked in California we didn't have a formal PTO # of days...you just took however many sick/vacation/whatever days as you wanted (with approval from your manager of course) and nobody kept track. It was weird to me, but I had people tell me that was the norm for tech companies there.

Vijita - 2 DAYS?! That's ridiculous!

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:58 am 
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I thought Canadaland was progressive about healthcare (and everything else), especially when compared to the US. That sounds appalling vijita. (Also, seriously, if I were the manager I would not want you in the office on migraine days.) Is there a labor board or GP or someone you can talk to? Or maybe people hear have advice...?

couroupita: I am all kinds of thrilled for you! YAY.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:49 pm 
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Thanks guys! Sorry for monopolizing the thread with my own personal stuff, I am hoping it all sort of fits in to the topic of speaking up for oneself in the workplace and may be helpful.

Today the COO called me to talk and I think he has squeezed out the other guy from negotiations because he was offering me too much. The conversation started off ok, with him saying that what they offered me was on the high end for them because they want me so badly. I am not sure I believe that, but ok. He mentioned the stock being an incentive as well, which is true for startups, but the stock has no valuation and they wouldn't commit to a strike price, so whatever numbers they throw out in terms of number of shares, etc. mean nothing to me. (At least when my husband was given stock we were able to figure out monetarily what that could mean in the future even though the company hasn't gone public.) I explained that and he sort of glossed over my concerns and then got *really* paternalistic, telling me he wasn't going to give me a number as a counteroffer because I should really think about what I want from a company, talk to people "with perspective" about the stock options and future of the company, and consider how much risk I'm willing to take. I am almost a 30 year old woman. I have perspective and I know how much risk I'm willing to take, which is some because I am young but I also need to think about my future. Plus, I am going to work my asparagus off as the only synthetic chemist. 10% higher salary is not asking a lot and in fact it brings me to the median of what a chemist with my experience/background makes at a mid-sized company in the SF bay.

What bugs me the most is the tone. In science I feel like many men talk to me like I'm a n00b. I was ok with it when I was first starting out because I figured hey, I'm young, they are probably seeing me in that way. However, now I am a decade older. I am pretty sure that if I were a 29 yo man I would not have been spoken to like that. When I did my first interview there, one of the tactics he took was to compare me to his kid who is just graduating from college and share with me the advice he'd give him when looking for his first job. Er, I am not getting my Bachelors and I am not 20. I am a PhD with lots of experience and recommendations, I am married with financial obligations, and most importantly I am going to be leading a research team with the responsibility to move the company forward. That is absolutely not the right way to talk to someone in my position. Advising me to talk to other people about this opportunity and then lecturing me about risk and what it takes to be innovators on a small team, blah blah blah is a great way to make me lose enthusiasm for your company real quick.

So the ball is back in my court. I am supposed to call them in a few days after sleeping on it. My coworkers advised me to come back at him with the median salary in this area is and correlate that to the quality of chemist they'd be getting. I was thinking of asking him to meet me halfway, but I am not sure if I should call them or wait it out. As for the way I was spoken to, I don't know if I should address that or not. What do you guys think?

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