Getting the Pay you Deserve
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
If asked, I believe most retail dietitians would say they have a passion for the work they do and they love the challenge, recognition and opportunities their roles provide. At the same time, they want to be fairly compensated. Some, however, may devalue themselves and don’t feel convinced that they deserve a high pay. This self-depreciation can keep those individuals from getting the pay their work merits. If you want to command more money, you must have the conviction that you are worth it and have the confidence to take a strong and certain stand to convince others. Here are some tips to help you pump up your self-worth along with your income.
- Think Much Bigger. Low expectations can limit your earnings potential. Set your sites high and make sure you are placing a value on yourself that fairly matches others in your field and comparable levels at your place of work.
- Do Some Research. Never pick a random number or just choose a certain percent of pay higher than your last job. Do your homework so you avoid starting at a pay rate that is too low. Discover your market value by researching similar retail positions and investigate what other comparable roles are compensated in the industry. Don’t be afraid to go higher than what’s offered as it gives you room to negotiate. If your position is new, you may need to educate your HR department about the salary and benefits packages other retail RDNs have. They may be looking solely at clinical roles when they research dietitian jobs and these positions are often lower in pay.
- Quantify Your Value: Bring documented evidence of your value and focus on your business success during salary discussions. Maybe you have increased sales with your programs, or created a new revenue stream with partnerships or services. Keep a file of everything you've done and communicate your accomplishments frequently. Demonstrate your value and intentions by taking initiative. Let your boss know your sights are set high and ask for challenging projects.
- Stretch Yourself Outside Your Job: Look for ways to challenge yourself in other areas. This will have a positive ripple effect at work. Sign up for a new class, train for a race, or volunteer for a worthy cause. Anything that puts you out of your comfort zone will assist you with building confidence and self-worth.
- Act Confident: It takes a lot of nerve to ask for more money and in the moment your confidence might waver. At these times it’s ok to pretend. Even top-paid women executives have doubted their worth, but they move forward undaunted. If you feel weak in the knees or your heart is pounding with anxiety, acting as if you're confident is a certain antidote. Eventually you will convince both yourself and others of your great value.