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Know Your Worth With Adrian Granzella Larssen

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know your worth

Are you being paid what you’re worth? How can you find out what you’re worth? None of us deserve to be undervalued so we will tell you how to know your worth with Adrian Granzella Larssen.

Do you think you are being paid what you’re worth? How do you know what your position is worth? Adrian Granzella Larssen from the Muse is here to discuss getting what you’re worth.

Know Your Worth

Many people accept a job offer or a raise without knowing what kind of salary or increase their position commands. We don’t like to talk about money, but there are plenty of places to research salaries in your position and your geographic area. Sites like,, and let you see what other’s in similar positions are earning.

Get What You’re Worth

Great, now you know what you should be getting paid, how do you convince your company to pay that? Many companies don’t give automatic raises like they used to so if you want more money, you’re going to have to ask for it. We did a terrific episode on how to negotiate.

It’s not enough to ask for a raise. You have to be able to back it up. Why should you get a raise? It’s our responsibility to keep a running file of reasons; new skills we’ve learned, additional tasks we’ve taken on, compliments we’ve received from co-workers and clients. Many of us were raised not to sing our own praises, but that doesn’t apply when you’re asking for more money.

While you need to be armed with information from your side of the equation, you should know how your company is doing too. If the company has just closed down some offices and laid off employees, now is not the time to ask. Ask when things are good. You’re part of the reason things are good, and you have a right to ask for a share of the success.

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Break the Stigma

A big reason we don’t know how much we’re worth is that there is such a stigma when it comes to talking about any aspect of money but mainly about salary. It’s understandable because our society places a lot of value on how much people earn. The more you earn, the better you are so no one wants to admit they don’t make a lot of money.

It takes some finesse to bring the subject of salary up, but it’s the best way to know if you’re being paid fairly. Do it over drinks! In vino veritas. Start subtly, don’t just go in for the kill. Ask if they keep a budget, if so, what tools do they use? Do they like Mint or YNAB better? Ask what percent their last raise was, not a dollar amount.

The more information you have, the better but even talking to one person is better than nothing.

You’re Already Getting What You’re Worth

You did your research, and it turns out, you are being paid what you should be. What now? Money isn’t the only thing worth negotiating for and sometimes not even the most valuable. What else do you want? To work from home occasionally, to condense your 40 hours into four rather than five days, so you have an extra day off, more vacation time, a higher match percent for your 401k?

All of these things are negotiable too and time is often more scarce than money so if you can’t get more money, ask for more time.

Do you want a higher position in the company? Talk to people in that position both inside and outside your current company. What skills should you start acquiring? Start doing the job you want before you actually get the job.

You’re Fired

You are really unlikely to get fired for asking for a raise. People have this fear, but it’s mostly unfounded. The hiring process sucks so no reputable company is going to fire you for nothing more than asking for a raise.

You can piss off your boss if you go about asking in the wrong way. Make sure you know the company is in a position to afford a raise, have documentation of why you deserve it, don’t threaten your boss (as in threaten to quit), it’s a negotiation, not an extortion, don’t ask after your boss has just been chewed out by his or her boss, don’t ask the day before your boss is taking off because he or she is having surgery. In other words, be tactful and gracious.

If you’re a woman, this conversation can be even tougher. Not only do we ask less often for raises, when we do, but we can also be perceived unfavorably compared to a man asking the same. Women should be grateful and care more about the company’s well being than there own. And whatever other weird perceptions people may have when a woman dares ask for more money.

Adrian’s site, The Muse, has excellent advice for women who want to negotiate a raise.

When It’s Time To Go

The truth is, any raise you get is probably going to pale in comparison to the jump in salary you can get when you change jobs. If your company is not in a position to give you a raise but you are pretty happy, and while it isn’t possible now, it will be possible reasonably soon, you may want to stick around.

But if you have proven that you deserve a raise, the company can afford it, but they just won’t give you one, then it may be time to walk.

Looking for a new job is a terrible experience when you approach it the way many of us do; you always read job postings and apply for everything you are even remotely interested in and qualified for. You only have to do that when you are out of work, have been for awhile and the money situation is looking grim.

If you are still working, don’t blanket apply like that. Focus on what you want out of a new job; more money, a fancy title, more work/life balance. Search for the openings that meet your criteria and only apply for those jobs, don’t mass apply. It’s exhausting, and you won’t end up where you really want to be with this method.

The New Career

The career path is not so straightforward anymore; graduate from college, get a job, get regular raises and promotions, and retire at 65 with a gold watch and a pension. So what is a career now? For an increasing number of people, it’s a cobbled together variety of things. Perhaps you work a 9-5 but have a side hustle. Perhaps you work part-time and freelance the rest of the time.

That doesn’t mean everyone can earn enough to live on doing what they love, and I wrote an article warning against this. While you may be able to make some money doing what you love, depending on what that thing is, you may not be able to fully support yourself doing it.  More than ever, your career, at least part of it, can align with the things you want to do.

We are lucky enough to live in a time when there is a happy medium between dying Death of a Salesman style in a cubicle and dying La Boheme style as a starving artist.

Because You’re Worth It

That isn’t a new age affirmation; it’s the L’Oreal tagline. Bosses, good ones at least, walk a line between keeping employees happy and making money for the company. But most bosses aren’t going to offer up more money unless someone is asking for it. So know your worth, back it up, and get that money.

Show Notes

Sanguinem Aurantiaco: A blood orange beer from Evil Twin Brewing.

Sam Adams Summer Ale: An American pale ale.

The Ultimate Job Search Course: The Udemy course from The Muse.

Investable: Research and evaluate rental properties.

Tool Box: All the best stuff we use to manage our money.


Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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