Will You Be Underpaid?: What Your Personality Says About Your Approach To Money & Salary Negotiations

By Shoya

Take a quick look at the options below. Choose one from each set of statements. At least 51% of the time, do you tend to be more:

___ tactful and diplomatic

___ apt to avoid conflict where possible

___ empathetic

___ accepting at first

___ apt to take things personally

or ___ direct and frank?

or ___ apt to meet conflict head on?

or ___ analytical?

or ___ skeptical at first?

or ___ objective about criticism?

If you’ve chosen more items from the column on the left, research shows you will probably be underpaid by at least 25% of your true value. This is not because you lack skills or talent, but because you are not asking for your due. The chances are you like the job and the people and when a reasonable number is offered, you accept it rather than create conflict. It is easy to fall into this “funk,” but it does not have to be your ongoing fate!

You need to learn from those who chose more items from the right column. These individuals are typically paid more than the previous group; not because they produce superior work, but because they know their worth and demand to be properly compensated. So if you are in the group on the left, which makes up 50% of the population, and 65% of women, what can you do about it?

1. Research Your Position. Search salary websites, and talk to people who are in similar career professions.

2. Determine Your Priorities. Salary, bonus, vacation, health benefits, technologically advanced equipment, a supportive boss, freedom, and meaningful work are all priorities that are individually sensitive. Perhaps you cannot push on the salary, but you can increase the overall package.

3. Get Organized. Make a list of your skills and achievements. Prepare to present these as well as highlight your past contributions and accomplishments.

4. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. You know the old saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Find someone with whom to role play. The confidence gained through rehearsal will decrease your anxiety and allow you to remain confident and focused. As a result, you will be less likely to fold early on in the salary negotiation process.

Avoid the costly mistake of starting your career being underpaid. Know your worth and demand to be properly compensated. Your future career and financial success depend on it. Your approach to money is one of many factors covered in Shoya Zichy’s Color Q Model and book, Career Match: Connecting Who You Are With What You’ll Love to Do. Others factors include your work-related strengths, ideal work environment and boss, range of suitable careers, entrepreneurial style and interview and job search style.


Shoya — excellent advice. I’d wager that more women are checking the left-hand column.I believe women are uncomfortable with conflict. That’s changing as women move up the ranks but it’s still a major barrier to getting what they deserve.

Jeannette – Actually 65% of women click on the left-hand column and 35% of men. This is related to inborn personality style and not to the organizational climate. It is therefore important for people to practice stepping out of their comfort zone.

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