In their groundbreaking book, Women Don't Ask, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever uncovered a startling fact: even women who negotiate brilliantly on behalf of others often falter when it comes to asking for themselves. Now they've developed the action plan that women all over the country requested--a guide to negotiation that starts before you get to the bargaining table.
Ask for It explains why it's essential to ask (men do it all the time) and teaches you how to ask effectively, in ways that feel comfortable to you as a woman. Whether you currently avoid negotiating like the plague or consider yourself hard-charging and fearless, Babcock and Laschever's compelling stories of real women will help you recognize how much more you deserve--whether it's a raise, that overdue promotion, an exciting new assignment, or even extra help around the house. Their four-phase program, backed by years of research, will show you how to identify what you're really worth, maximize your bargaining power, develop the best strategy for your situation, and manage the reactions and emotions that may arise--on both sides. Guided step-by-step, you'll learn how to draw on the special strengths you bring to the negotiating table to reach agreements that benefit everyone involved.
This collaborative, problem-solving approach will propel you to new places both professionally and personally--and open doors you thought were closed. Because if you never hear no, you're not asking enough.
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February 26, 2008
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Excerpt from Ask for It by Linda Babcock
Why you need to ask
IF YOU'RE A WOMAN, you probably have a voice inside your head that whispers:
"Are you sure you're as good as you think you are?"
Or maybe it says:
"Why can't you be happy with what you've got? Don't you have enough already?"
Or perhaps, even though you're very successful, you hear that voice warning:
"Watch out. Don't get pushy. . . ."
This voice probably talks the loudest when you're thinking about asking for something you want--a raise, a better title, more power or responsibility, or even more help around the house. And the odds are, you listen to this voice. You may think it's the voice of experience, or maybe your common sense preventing you from doing something rash. Or perhaps you think you should be grateful for what you've got--you should feel lucky--and not screw things up by reaching for more.
We've written this book to help you talk back to that voice. Because that voice is not the voice of experience and it's not your common sense. It's not even your voice. It's the voice of a society that hasn't progressed nearly as far as we'd like to think, a society that's still trying to tell women how they should and shouldn't behave. It's a voice whose message is conveyed, often unwittingly, by our parents, teachers, colleagues, and friends--and then repeated and amplified by the media and popular culture.
If you have that voice in your head, whoever's voice it is, that voice is holding you back. It's slowing you down, it's damaging your self-esteem, and it's costing you money. By telling you not to ask for the things you want, that voice is cutting you off from dozens--maybe hundreds--of opportunities to improve your life and increase your happiness. It's also preventing you from learning how to negotiate for what you need with skill and confidence. It's preventing you from discovering the ways in which negotiating effectively can be an extraordinary tool for transforming your life.
Women don't ask
We know that this is true--that women don't ask for what they want and need, and suffer severe consequences as a result--because we've spent years studying the phenomenon. In the mid-1990s, Linda was serving as the director of the Ph.D. program at the Heinz School, the graduate school of public policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University, where she teaches. One day a group of female graduate students came to her office. "Why are most of the male students in the program teaching their own courses this fall," the women asked, "while all the female graduate students have been assigned to act as teaching assistants to regular faculty?" Not knowing the answer, Linda took the students' question to the associate dean in charge of making teaching assignments, who happened to be her husband. His reply was straightforward. "I'll try to find teaching opportunities for any student who approaches me with a good idea for a course, the ability to teach, and a reasonable offer about what it will cost," he said. "More men ask. The women just don't ask."
Could he be right? Linda recalled other situations in which a female student had protested because a male student had enjoyed some form of special treatment. One woman told Linda that she assumed she couldn't march in June graduation ceremonies the year she completed her dissertation because she wasn't scheduled to get her degree until August. She asked why Linda had allowed two men to march who also didn't finish until the end of the summer. Another woman asked why Linda had found funding for a male student to attend an important public policy conference and hadn't provided the same opportunity to her. A third woman observed a male student using department facilities to print up business stationery for himself and said she thought it was unfair that other students weren't allowed to do the same. In each case, the men had asked, and Linda, who saw it as a central part of her job to help students in any way she could, happily obliged.
Linda realized with chagrin that she'd been perpetuating discrimination--the last thing she wanted to do--simply by not noticing how much more often men asked for things that would help them get ahead. And the discrimination she'd perpetuated could have far-reaching consequences. Men with teaching experience would have meatier resumes and appear better qualified when they entered the job market than women who did not. The man who attended the public policy conference made valuable contacts that could be useful later in his career, and the woman who couldn't afford to go had missed out. The man who printed up his own stationery was able to present himself as a more polished and professional job candidate than the women who had not.
The social scientist in Linda perked up.