It’s always a good look when you’re able to get to the final step of a job interview. You’ve made it past the first round of interrogation, the second round of meeting with your prospective manager, and now you’re at the last stop, where you pretty much have the job but still have the opportunity to either accept or decline the offer. Before you say yes, though, think about the environment women work in today and consider your options in terms of pay.
Last week, Equal Pay Day was commemorated on March 15 in order to mark how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned during the same time last year. While some companies’ leaders are doing the best they can to not only raise the bar on equal pay for all employees but actually set better standards for pay altogether, many companies still struggle to get with the equal-pay program.
So, when you’re having that virtual meeting where the hiring manager asks, “So, any more questions on the position that will seal the deal for you?” here are three you shouldn’t leave the conversation without asking:
1. "How are professionals at your company rewarded for good work or tenure?"
This is the time when you’d be able to get insights about the process of pay raises or rewards for good performance or find out whether they might be having you work for eight years, doing well before a pay raise is even considered. (This happened to me, and I literally struggled while making a yesteryear’s salary with modern-day bills.) Ask them follow-up questions like, “When would I have the opportunity for a raise upon performing well?” or “Is there a policy in place that rewards those who have been at the company for a while or for tenure perks?”
When you do well, you should be compensated. And remember, inflation and bill collectors don’t pause, so you must advocate for yourself by finding out how your salary might increase (or not) over time.
If they can give detailed responses on this, you might have found a good fit here in terms of getting what your skills and talents are worth. If they have to “get back to you” upon your acceptance of the offer, they don’t have any specifics on these things, or they simply say, “No, there are none in place at this time,” you might want to reconsider saying yes to the job. It’s a good idea to get ahead of the possible future of burnout and frustration.
And depending on your industry, some perks based on how much time you’ve been at a company are industry-standard or even legally backed.
2. "What retirement, other investment options, or perks are available, and does the company offer a match to my fund contributions?"
While the realities of COVID have impacted many businesses, it’s still a good idea to at least ask this question. (And if you don’t know anything about a 401K, you should still be asking about this. You could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table by avoiding this conversation.) Find out all the options for perks and funds, and ask your prospective employer about the investment firms or financial institutions they work with so you can do your own investigating as to what might be best for you. When I got my first job, I knew nothing about a 401K and didn’t really understand what I was contributing to every paycheck. Fast-forward years later, when I hit a stint of unemployment.
My mom asked, “Hey what happened to your 401K funds? You need to check.” Sure enough, there were thousands of dollars in an account at my disposal due to that company matching my contributions. The money had just been sitting there for years. Luckily, by the time I’d inquired about the funds, I was just in time before missing the cutoff date for dormant accounts.
While you might think you’re too young (or too far from living that life), it’s always good to plan ahead to save for retirement even if it might not come for another couple of decades. Also, retirement or investment funds can come in handy way before it’s time for you to clock in for the last time. Some people have been able to use investment funds to start their first business, travel, or take a break from working for months or years at a time.
And if you’re up for a job that requires a lot of travel, physical exertion, time away from your family, or use of technology, ask whether there are stipends, discounts, business credit card accounts, or funding options to cover expenses related to those things. Again, making sure you’re financially, mentally, and physically able to not only support yourself but the duties you need to succeed in the role is key.
3. "How is my salary broken down: hourly or annual?"
This is key because, though some companies offer a “salary,” they’re really paying you for a certain number of hours, and those that do this also typically offer overtime pay. Again, you want to be clear on this because if you find yourself working 10-12 hours but only getting paid for 8, you’ll need to really either reevaluate your time management or face the tough reality that your managers might be requiring effort from you for work that you aren’t being compensated for. Hey, sometimes a certain project or task takes more time than your work shift–no matter how great you are at time and project management, and depending on the company culture, you might be expected to just suck it up and get the job done.
If you’re paid the same amount, regardless of the hours it takes to complete a task or job, and there’s no overtime pay, consider whether the way the company might pay you will impact your quality of life or happiness in that role.
I once had a salaried job, for example, that paid a flat rate (not by the hour at all) but the workload required me to complete tasks throughout the night, well after my office hours, with no overtime pay. (The job also had a sales component, and while I was selling thousands of dollars in said product a month, I received nothing for my prowess in doing so.) Once I calculated how much I was working versus what I was being paid, the numbers just didn’t add up, and while I loved the job, I couldn’t justify the return on my time and energy investment. I was making the company thousands of dollars a month, on top of doing my other duties, yet I was being paid peanuts.
True, you could wait and discuss this with your manager once you’re at the job, but why not get ahead of things by asking, during the interview, about the salary breakdown, and then, make a decision, based on the type of job you’re applying for, on whether it’s a good idea to take the offer.
While there are still prevalent issues related to systemic sexism and racism that pose challenges for Black women in getting our fair pay, at the end of the day, you can take charge of getting the salary you deserve (if not more) and you can plan ahead to earn the money that will help you reach your financial and lifestyle goals.
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Featured image by Ariel Skelley/Getty
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How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
This Content Creator Gets Candid About Touch Starvation In Emotional Video
Recently, a young content creator named Mayte Lisbeth posted an emotional video about experiencing touch starvation. She expressed that she feels she is dying from touch starvation and does not receive hugs. Additionally, if she were to receive a hug, she would crumble. The nearly three-minute video continued as Lisbeth breaks down her need for touch. Healthline says touch starvation or deprivation “occurs when a person experiences little to no touch from other living things.”
According to research posted in the National Library of Medicine, “touch is a powerful tool for communicating positive emotions.” Furthermore, other studies emphasize the importance of social touch. When an individual lacks touch, they can experience the following: depression, anxiety, stress, relationship dissatisfaction, difficulty sleeping, and detachment. Moreover, people who do not enjoy being touched can also experience deprivation due to occasionally longing for a hug or handshake.
Lisbeth’s video was triggering because touch starvation is something I experienced in the past. The first time I experienced this was when I was 17 years old after moving across the country to a state where I had no family. It happened again during the pandemic. I remember going into the pandemic optimistic as I really could be.
It worked for the first several months but quickly spiraled into some of my most challenging times, emotionally and mentally. That feeling was amplified when there was no one I truly loved to hug me. Something about a long embrace from a loved one assured me that no matter how dark my world was at the time, there was a light at the end of my darkness. Being away from my support system was rough during that time of uncertainty.
I was not fully aware of what touch starvation was at the time, but I knew I longed for touch. It was not until I was visiting my best friend and randomly asking for a hug that I remember having an immense sense of anxiety and sadness.
The content creator stated in her video that the solution is more complex than scheduling a hair appointment and receiving services. The form of touch was not suitable because she had no ties to these people. It is more about receiving affection, which can come in touch from someone who cares about her, not specifically a romantic touch.
Its been five years of touch starvation. I’ll probably have some more years of it. I’m not handling this well.
First, I commend Lisbeth for her vulnerability and courage to speak on a subject many sometimes do not know about or even acknowledge. She even commented that her family was not big huggers, which did not help her touch starvation. She could count how many times she hugged her parents when she saw them last. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, this is the norm for many families. “I do not know how to heal in a community; I only heal alone,” Lisbeth tearfully explained in a follow-up video. People instantly flooded her social media pages with support and suggested solutions, including breathwork, touch work, and even hiring a professional cuddler.
Sadly, many suffer from touch starvation and do not have family or a tribe to contact. If that is your current situation, here are some exercises that copy touch sensation when experiencing touch starvation.
- Blankets – Wrapping yourself up in a blanket can provide comfort. Another option is a weighted blanket. A weighted blanket mimics receiving a hug, which can provide a sense of calm for an individual.
- Self-Touch Breathwork – The counselors at Twinpowerment, LLC taught us a five-step self-holding technique that could help remedy touch starvation.
- Body Pillows (or pillows) – Cuddling up to a body pillow can mimic cuddling and allow comfort during sleep.
- Cuddle Therapy – Like the name states, you can pay a professional to cuddle with. The Institute of Counseling in Nigeria explains that “Cuddle therapy fills a niche that is complementary to traditional talk therapy.” With traditional therapy, a mental health professional cannot touch their clients.
- Companion Animal – Dogs and cats make excellent companion animals. The endless number of cuddles and “kisses” they provide can offer comfort during hard times.
Even though traditional therapists cannot provide touch to their clients, they are a great option if your symptoms from touch starvation increase.
Since then, Lisbeth has posted videos explaining remedies she has tried or is willing to try. Some days are better than others, but she keeps moving forward. I pray she finds peace during these times.
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