ASK ME ANYTHING - Self set salaries

Ellen
Written by in Practices
- 1 min read

ASK ME ANYTHING:

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For almost 4 weeks now our new website is up and running. We feel together we are building a real community to make work more fun! We could not wish for more. Now we are adding an extra topic to our forum. AMA aka Ask Me Anything.

So why not kick off with one of our own stories we get a lot of questions about. Four months ago after an internship of one year, Pim and Joost offered me a job at Corporate Rebels. In true rebel style, they did not tell me what I was going to earn and this was also not a negotiation between us. No, it was up to me to decide what I should earn. So-called self-set salary.

Quite a challenge but very rewarding!

ASK ME ANYTHING in the comments below 👇🏼

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Replies (9)

Miranda

Miranda

Great idea. What was the hardest thing about it? Were you scared to propose a salary yourself?

Sounds pretty hard to me.

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Ellen

Ellen

Hi Miranda,

Thanks for your question! First of all no, I was not scared. I was excited and happy to take on the challenge. Yes it was hard at some points. And especially in the beginning as talking about money can be a bit awkward. So to answer your question , I feel the hardest thing was realising that there is still a gap in salaries for men and women. One part of my journey in deciding my salary was doing a online check to see what people of my age and in my sort of work earn. After filling all my details I was given two numbers: one next to a pink puppet and the other next to a blue (male) one. As if that wasn't bad enough, the next day I realised I had - without questioning - taken up the female amount.

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Julien Pat

Julien Pat

Very interesting to learn about this. How did you find out the market rate salary? How did you compare your job to others?

Merci!

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Ellen

Ellen

Very interesting to learn about this. How did you find out the market rate salary? How did you compare your job to others?

Merci!

Julien Pat

Hi Julien,

I did a share of my research online. We have sites where you can check what somebody your age and with what experience earns. Aside from that I had a look at the financials within Corporate Rebels. I asked myself of the money that came in how much I was responsible for. And I also looked at what my colleagues earn. With al of this information I came up with a number I felt fit at this point. Hope this answers you question. Let me know if you have anymore!

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Pim

Pim

Great idea. What was the hardest thing about it? Were you scared to propose a salary yourself?

Sounds pretty hard to me.

Miranda

I can imagine that for many it is hard to do this, especially for the first time. I believe it helped a lot that Ellen was already part of our company during her intership. She learned a lot about our culture before having to do this.

At the same time, I believe from our perspective - as founders - it's important to make sure that our advice is not taken as a decision. There might be a tendency to do that, and stressing that our advice is just advice is absolutely vital.

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Klaus Wuestefeld

Klaus Wuestefeld

Hi Ellen, You got me curious :)

Does someone have to approve you number or do you automatically get paid any number you choose? What happens if someone simply asks for too much?

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Ellen

Ellen

Hi Ellen, You got me curious :)

Does someone have to approve your number or do you automatically get paid any number you choose? What happens if someone simply asks for too much?

Klaus Wuestefeld

Hey Klaus,

Thanks for your question.

Bottom line: No nobody officially approves the number. Once I had said the number I came up with that was my salary. But because we use the advice process the number should not come as a surprise. You see after getting insights into all the financials of the company and my own research I had a chat with Pim and Joost and explained my thinking. I shared my own research with them my list of tasks I did and how I felt I did them. I asked them if they felt I was missing anything and how they felt I did on certain tasks. With all that information I decided my salary I decided what I felt I was worth for the company at this moment. Told Pim and Joost what I had come to.

Asking too much may seem easy, the thing is though I feel you have to live up to the number. If I feel I am worth a lot more than the others I would have to prove that. Another important point is as I know all the finances and even their salary I got more of a feeling what would make sense.

Maybe Joost and Pim have anything to add to this?

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Klaus Wuestefeld

Klaus Wuestefeld

I see. That is certainly much more sophisticated than just haggling for a raise.

But if you called the process you described "salary negotiation" that would be reasonable too. A negotiation to which you must come much well prepared.

The point is: what if you didn't heed their "advice" and asked for more? Or what if you don't live up to that amount? Would you be fired? Would you just be made "uncomfortable" by peer-pressure?

If others would like to chime in too...

Thanks :)

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Pim

Pim

Hi Klaus,

It's not a negotiation, because we don't negotiate.

Ellen could have ignored our advice and set it higher or lower than for example I would have advised. That's the idea of the "advice process". See other posts on our blog on more info on that.

As with any group of people there's peer pressure (especially because everything is transparent, also salaries). So yes, you probably will feel uncomfortable if you set an absurdly high salary. Which is good cause it makes you do sensible things.

We believe that if you trust people they'll do the right thing. So far, no issues. So also no reason to set up a process to fix an issue that's not there.

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