~”As women, we should not be okay with accepting what someone decides we’re worth.”
I walk into my office and before I can put my purse down, one of my four co-workers is either asking me a question or needing me to fix something they’ve screwed up. This has become the daily routine. As office manager, I realize that there are procedures that I understand better than they do, however, I shouldn’t know aspects of their jobs better than they do. It is not like I have a bunch of subordinates that I’m supposed to constantly train. Of my fellow co-workers, one is the owner of the company, one is the quality control manager, the other is in charge of purchasing, and the fourth is the warehouse manager. Yes, there are a handful of warehouse employees, but we literally have no interaction. Oh, did I mention that I am the only female employee and was the lowest paid?
It’s true that I was hired as a part-time employee. I love the fact that I only work 20 hours per week. The flexibility of this position is great. There’s never a problem if I need to leave early, miss a day or change my hours. I must admit that the owner is very kind, compassionate, and understanding of the fact that I have sickle cell and have to periodically miss a day due to treatment. The part-time status also leaves me plenty of time to work on my writing. So I guess you’re wondering what the hell I’m complaining about.
Well it all goes back to the all mighty dollar. There is not one aspect of the business that doesn’t involve me. It doesn’t matter how many contracts we get or parts we build, we wouldn’t be getting paid a dime for any of it were it not for my expertise. I set the jobs up, maintain the job schedule, process everything through the government and other vendors, invoice for all jobs, chase down money that’s owed to us, and assist with accounts payable. Oh, I also provide all the drawings needed to build these jobs, coordinate the shipping and, well hell, I could go on and on. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing all of this as long as I’m being fairly compensated for it. Of course I don’t expect to get paid what the owner’s son does (yes, nepotism is alive and well), but I do expect fair pay for all that I do. When I realized that the part-time quality control manager was making considerably more than me, I almost lost my mind. Why is he always in my office asking questions or crying for help. I wanted to tell him “Dude, you’re making all the money, you should have all the answers.” But, I bit my tongue and opted to come up with what I thought was a fair proposal. I requested a meeting with the owner and laid everything out for him in black and white. I spoke professionally, provided facts about my job, and patiently expressed why I felt I was worth a certain salary. He heard me out, we haggled as if we were trying to buy a car, and in the end I walked away satisfied.
As women, we should not be okay with accepting what someone decides we’re worth. I realize that often times in the workplace we’re branded as a bitch or a difficult employee if we speak up for ourselves. I now realize that people can think whatever they like about me (they’re going to anyway) as long as they treat me fairly and acknowledge my worth. I can only hope that with equal pay being a big talking point of the upcoming election that legislation will eventually be passed that will dictate we get paid dollar-for-dollar what our male counterparts are paid.
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