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Why you should always aim high

Aiming too low in a negotiation could impact our future earnings for the rest of our career. In this article, Abadesi shares an anecdote.
A board room in an office with large windows. The table is full, 7 people each side mostly Black women
© Photo by Christina @
At one point in the middle of my tech career I was deeply unhappy with a career move I’d made and was desperately seeking a transition out of the industry into the world of advertising.

I’d just been headhunted from a lucrative role at Amazon to an early stage startup with the promise of more responsibility and a juicy IPO (that’s tech speak for when a company floats on the stock market, it can turn ordinary equity holding employees into millionaires overnight). Turned out the startup’s culture was too toxic-tech-bro for my liking and so I wanted out.

I worked my network and got connected to a friend of a friend who was hiring in her agency. Her MD was excited by the fact I had tech experience – he was pitching to new clients in this space and could use my expertise. I showed up for a coffee date and soon realised it was an interview! Thankfully, I was able to regale stories of successful projects I’d completed in past roles. Suddenly – he asked me my salary expectations.

Caught off guard but aware that advertising paid well, especially for senior roles like the one he was pitching me, I cheekily popped £20k on top of my existing salary and threw that number out. There I was thinking I was playing it smart. Without hesitation, he said yes. “When can you start?” he exclaimed. My heart sank – his enthusiasm at what I thought was a hefty price tag made me realise that it was in fact well below what he would have been willing to pay. Lesson learned – the way someone reacts to your preferred number is a very telling sign of where it falls in their budget.

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Salary Negotiation for Women in the Workplace

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