Ask for It

Many of us were privileged last week at the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution conference in Seattle to hear from Linda Babcock about her new book, Ask for It.  This new book is her answer to her previous work, Women Don’t Ask in which she reviews studies (conducted by herself and others) demonstrating that women fail to view many situations, including receiving a job offer, as a negotiation.  Regarding job offers, Linda notes that the $4000 average difference in starting salaries between men and women can lead to a $1.6 million difference over a career.  Linda’s new book outlines a multi-step approach to getting ready to negotiate and then asking for what you want.  I look forward to reading the whole book soon.

Linda is engaging and her work is compelling (although it usually makes me curse under my breath).  Her blog on the book Ask for It is also very interesting and I would encourage our readers to visit.  Linda’s advice there on negotiating job offers, negotiating with your kids, and television commentary, is entertaining and helpful.  As Linda herself argued last week in Seattle, if more of us thought about this phenomenon of not negotiating and taught our students to negotiate more, her advice will become obsolete.  I am sure that Linda would approve when I say let’s put her out of business!

3 thoughts on “Ask for It”

  1. I attended Linda Babcock’s presentation on women and negotiation; the contents of her speech were both horrifying (“The guy’s going to make how much than me more over his career?”) and enlightening (“And all I have to do is ask for the same thing and I’ll probably get it? Crazy!”) Prof. Babcock’s speech came at a pertinent time. I’m entering my third year of law school and hopefully(!) will be considering job offers next Fall. Prof. Babcock’s description of the little voice inside women’s heads that tell them “be grateful for what you have – don’t ask for more” resonates. The starting salaries of the large and even midsized firms are more than I’ve ever contemplated earning. It seems, well, selfish, to ask for more. And – horror! – what if the firm is so insulted by my asking for more that it withdraws its offer?! Better to just take the offer and be happy that I even have a job. It may seem a little ridiculous, but upon discussing with several classmates, it’s a fear many female law students harbor. However, Prof. Babcock’s statistics on women’s success negotiating for others allays some of that fear. If women don’t mind asking for things for others, and often negotiate better than men, then there is no reason to think it should be different when asking for things for oneself. I look forward to reading Prof. Babcock’s books and taking Marquette’s negotiation course. In the meantime, I have all summer to practice asking for things I want, so when it comes time for offer negotiations, at least the firm will be used to it.

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