I have a bad habit of undermining my talents. For so long, I’ve accepted low paying jobs and have knowingly entered toxic work environments in fields that do not fulfill me. It comes down to this: I have a fucked up relationship with money. I feel utter terror when bringing up money at work because I don’t feel like a worthy enough mujer to make as much money as I desire.
This manifests in my career and negatively impacts my financial stability.When I am applying for a new job I look at the listed salary and, if it’s a high paying, mid-to-high level position, think, “That’s too much, I won’t be able to live up to their expectations,” or, “If they’re going to pay that much money, they’re going to expect a lot of me. What if I don’t measure up?”
My feelings of unworthiness have paralyzed me to the point where I’ve accepted a job without discussing the basics, like, you know, how much are you going to pay me for this?
Yep. I’ve punched in on the first day of a job without knowledge of my salary. That’s how little I value my myself and my work.
I am not the only Latina that is often undervalued, low balled and under-compensated. According to data that Lean In shared with IWPR.org, “On average, Latinas in the U.S. are paid 47% less than white men and 31% less than white women.” We are losing over one million dollars over the course of our careers.
So, today, on Latina Equal Pay Day, I reflect on the times I should have spoken up when paid less, and the days where I accepted a salary much lower than I expected and desired. I imagine what my life would be now if I would have stood up for myself and not settled for less. I should have demanded more of employers even if I didn’t believe I deserved it. Even if I had to fake it till I made it.
Luckily, it’s not too late. I feel an urge that’s been festering for some time now. An urge to abandon what does not serve me. An urge to seek out what contributes to my financial success and freedom. Money makes the world go round and I’m realizing that I have a right to a piece of that juicy, green pie. I deserve it, I do. And when those feelings of unworthiness creep in, I will remind myself of my talents. And when I am terrified of reinventing myself once again with a professional path that pays me more than chump change, I will remember that I can always learn. I don’t have to know it all in order to make more.
Slowly, I am breaking my crippling habits. By this time next year, I’ll sing a different song and know that I am good enough, smart enough…enough…just as I am.