Reimagining Success: A Conversation with Dorothy

A few years ago I had an experience with a friend of mine asking for a raise that completely changed my entire perspective on employment.

She was in a salary negotiation, already earning a substantial $100K. Her boss asked for her number, and she boldly asked for $140K, without a hint of doubt in her voice. The request was met with laughter – like loud laughter, but she remained undaunted, simply replying with confidence, “I know you’ll do your best.”

This interaction left an indelible mark on me. It shattered my fears about money discussions at work. My friend knew something crucial: understanding your value and having the courage to ask for it can lead to a better outcome, even if the initial reaction is incredulous laughter. (She got $125K, and they were apologetic that they couldn’t get her more).

In a recent episode of our podcast, I was privileged to delve into a conversation on negotiation and money making with Dorothy Mashburn, who, just like my friend, challenges traditional narratives around success and self-worth. Set against the backdrop of our collective reawakening from long-held norms influenced by colonialism, patriarchy, consumerism, and capitalism, her work encourages us to demand our value, and gives us the blueprint to do it with confidence.

Dorothy and I connected immediately about our shared immigration story, with her moving to the US from the Himalayas around the same time I moved here from Karachi, and we struggled with very similar belief systems around salary, worth, and value. In this episode, she shares her powerful journey in corporate America and the lessons she learned along the way. Her philosophy, deeply resonant with the idea of breaking away from traditional constraints, centers on two key principles:

  1. Salary Transparency: Dorothy is a strong advocate for open conversations about salaries. This transparency goes beyond mere numbers; it’s about recognizing and asserting one’s value in the professional sphere. She encourages a break away from the hesitation surrounding compensation discussions, viewing them as essential steps towards personal and professional development.
  2. Demanding What You’re Worth: A crucial aspect of Dorothy’s message is about understanding and demanding one’s worth. In a system that often underestimates our contributions, it’s vital to be assertive about what we deserve. This approach isn’t just about financial remuneration; it’s a broader call to value oneself in all aspects of life.

Through her experiences, Dorothy highlights the journey many of us face – moving away from the ‘surety’ of a pre-written path to forging our own. Her insights into the challenges of assimilating into a new culture while contending with societal expectations are particularly enlightening. These experiences underline the importance of crafting personal blueprints for success, unhindered by societal prescriptions.

Key Takeaways: Building a Personal Blueprint for Success

  1. 👉 Challenge Established Norms: The traditional paths to success may not always lead to fulfillment. It’s essential to question and explore what genuinely brings joy and satisfaction.
  2. 💰 Assert Your Worth: Open discussions about compensation and a clear understanding of your value are key in professional settings. It’s about more than salary; it’s about respect and recognition.
  3. 💬 Craft Your Narrative: Instead of seeking external validation or adhering to preset paths, focus on creating a career and life that resonate with your inner values and aspirations.

Dorothy’s story is a powerful reminder of the need to redefine success on our terms. By embracing salary transparency and focusing on what genuinely fulfills us, we can start to write our unique instruction manuals for life. For more insights from Dorothy and strategies for navigating the world of self-empowerment and negotiation, check out the full podcast and accompanying YouTube video for deeper discussions and practical tips.

Dorothy Mashburn is an Interview and Salary Negotiation Coach who teaches influence and persuasion skills to women leaders in an effort to close the pay gap. On average, her clients secure compensation increases of over 60%.

By Minessa

With over 20 years of experience, Minessa Konecky has worked with small startups and hospital systems and academic centers in managing a variety of Federal, private and industry awards. They are comfortable with the entire life cycle of awards and have worked with investigators to secure and extend their research funding. They see themselves as the facilitators of the research business enterprise, and approach all solutions from that lens. Their passion is helping people find joy and fulfillment in their work using a human-centric approach to efficiency and optimization. They host of the Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself Podcast, and hold the position of Research Administration Process Improvement and Training Director at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Minessa takes great pride in their desi heritage and being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. They live in their seaside cottage on unceded and occupied lands of the Wampanoag and Pokanoket people in Plymouth, MA with 3 dogs and their partner, Alex.