In our series My Salary Story, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate part of their jobs: compensation. It's an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions, and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves—and maybe take a few risks along the way.
Current Location: Austin, TX
Current Industry & Title: Travel, Senior Marketing Manager
Starting Salary: $40,000 in 2013
Current Salary: $125,000 + 20% yearly bonus
Number of Years Employed: 5
Biggest Salary Jump: $37,500 with bonus in 2017
Biggest Salary Drop: None, only way is up!
Biggest Salary Negotiation Regret: "For my first job, I was so excited that I got a 'real' job with health benefits and a 401k that I was hesitant to negotiate. Despite practicing negotiation in school and knowing the egregious stats that women rarely negotiate, I did not seize the opportunity."
Best Salary-Related Advice: "There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for more money. If you are going into a new job, you should negotiate to get a higher salary since you will not get a pay bump any time soon. There are rare circumstances where they immediately offer you more than you expect. In that case, be happy."
First job out of college (2013)
Digital Marketing Coordinator $40,000
"I graduated in May 2013, and I had turned down a few jobs before graduation that were in expensive cities with poor pay—we're talking less than $30,000.
"I interviewed with dozens of companies from large Fortune 500 companies down to local mom-and-pop shops. I was adamant that I get paid at least $35,000 and live in a city I could afford.
"A month after graduation, I was excited to get an offer at a medium-sized company in Austin for $40,000. It was the perfect fit in a new industry and the company culture was phenomenal."
Digital Marketing Coordinator $50,000
"My day-to-day job included reporting on website metrics, managing the conversion funnel, and helping other channels nail down their key performance indicators (KPIs).
"There were some shifts in the organization that left me with 3 bosses in a 4-month period. Soon after the shift, a new chief marketing officer (CMO) came into the company and recognized that I was being underpaid for the value I was driving, so I was given an unsolicited bump—a $10,000 raise."
New side hustle (2015)
Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant $1800/year
"My husband and I started a small business where my husband does graphic design, logo design, commissioned artwork, and I do writing and marketing consulting. I write about 10-15 pieces a year.
"It's mostly just for fun. I sucked at writing and storytelling and creating narratives, but I wanted to start practicing these sorts of skills. The marketing consulting I do isn't as focused as my career work, but it something I do on the side.
"People started coming to me, and found value in the things I had to say and the knowledge I'd gathered and would just ask me. At first, I offered it for free, but then I started getting asked for an hourly rate and just threw something out there and it worked.
"Having a side hustle hasn't taken too much of my time, but it gives me the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things. It's not really for the money, it's more about expanding who I am and what I wanna do."
Associate Marketing Manager $67,500
"I was approached to lead a project and I jumped on the opportunity. I learned how to manage a 'product' including a profit and loss (P&L), marketing operations, and roadmaps. After 3 or 4 months, I was promoted based on the success of the program."
Marketing Manager $78,500
"The project I led created a new revenue stream at the company, and they wanted to expand it into new marketing channels. I was promoted to lead a team of 2 or 3 to help manage the new product that would generate over $2 million in 2 years.
"Eventually, I got bored and asked the CMO if I could take on another product that was orphaned by the product team. After 6 months of managing it, I found countless problems with the software and recommended we pull it from sales until it was fixed. Sometimes knowing when to stop doing something is just as important as when to start."
New job (2017)
Marketing Manager $105,000 + $11,000 bonus
"I was using a service in the consumer health space for racing (running, triathlons), and I would give them feedback in return for discounted services. After a year of using the service, they were looking to hire a marketing manager, and they asked me to apply.
"The interview process took a month, and I was required to make a formal presentation. Following the presentation, they offered me the job on the spot with a salary of $100,000. I told them I need to think about it over the weekend and created a plan to negotiate with one of my mentors.
"Since this job was remote, I gave the hiring manager a call and started the negotiation. The moment he said, 'We can't get that much,' I stated 'Sounds like you can go higher then, what do you think you can do?' Bam! $5,000 extra. I was very proud."
New job (2018)
Senior Marketing Manager $125,000 + 25% bonus
"After working at the startup, I was burnt out from bad management and constantly failing the consumer with an ineffective service. I decided on a friend's ski trip in February 2018 that I was going to start looking for a different job.
"I only applied to one place, after reaching out to friend who worked there. Within 2 days I had interviews set up and within 4 weeks I had an offer. I gave them a range of $115,000-$120,000 and after hearing more about the job, I insisted that I be closer to my top range.
"When they gave me the offer, I couldn't help but smile when they gave me $5,000 more than my top ask."
Votes are submitted voluntarily by individuals and reflect their own opinion of the article's helpfulness. A percentage value for helpfulness will display once a sufficient number of votes have been submitted.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917