The Careers Emporium

Emotional Beast Mode

Have you ever walked out of a salary conversation with your manager only to run to the bathroom for a good old cry? Negotiating your salary can be emotional AF. Well it’s time to take control and nail the way you negotiate. It's that time of year when all of your hard work gets a value put to it. This emotionally charged and expectation fuelled time will either make you feel:

  1. super pumped and energised about the year ahead - pop the champers girl!;
  2. whatevs - meaning you're kind of non plus about the whole thing - money isn't everything; or
  3. incredibly angry/ upset/ confused/ betrayed/compelled to quit

This blog is specifically for those in category (3) or those in category (2) who have decided they are in fact in (3). For those of you in (1) high five, you go girl! 

Now, for those who are mad, sad and not so rad before you start to irrationally plan your exit strategy and dust off the old resume, read on - this is really important…

It’s your money so you can cry if you want to

So you've begun your annual salary chat full of hope and expectation but left the initial conversation feeling those hot tears of shame well up in your eyeballs. Do it! Cry I mean. It’s ok to feel empowered to cry. As famously said by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, “its ok for women to cry at work”. No shame in that at all - it means you care so passionately about your self worth that it means a lot to you. Crying is a way us girls deal with our thoughts and emotions, and yes, we’re complicated creatures but I can honestly say it’s one of the best feelings to get all those hot raging tears out just to feel a little clearer that next day. But there’s a catch… 

Get over it

Go home, have a glass of wine, have a sob to your partner, whinge to your friends about how undervalued you feel - these are all the stages we need to go through as women to vent and get a rant out. The thing is, allowing yourself to feel dark over the long-term won’t get you the result you really want. So get all of this out of your system within a 24 hour period and linger on it no longer - that's my golden rule. Don’t let those negative thoughts of worthlessness and defeat get the best of you for longer than you have to. No one likes a sour puss or sulky attitudes around the office. Time to get yourself out of the funk and take control.

GROW your salary

The power of writing down your thoughts is not a new concept. Writing helps clarify your thinking especially if it’s done in a way that is constructive. Let me introduce you to the GROW model. It’s something that all of us in the HR profession use to frame awkward conversations in a clear and concise way. So here’s my quick summary to those who are new to this. GROW stands for:

GOAL - What Do You Want?

REALITY- Where Are You Now?

OPTIONS- What Could You Do?

WILL- What Will You Do? or, What Can You Do?

This model was popularised in the early 90’s thanks to John Whitmore’s book, ‘Coaching For Performance’. This method will not only help you think about your feelings, emotions and goals in a logical way, but it’ll also help you understand your motivations better. 

For example, you could say to your manager I believe I should be on a salary of $100k, the reality is I am on $80k. Why? Your manager will then point out your short comings. At this point, you have covered the "G" and the "R" of GROW. You then can discuss your options in order for you to get your goal of $100k. What can I do over the next 6 months to reach my goal? That's the "O". You then (hopefully) agree on the KPIs you need to achieve that and finish the conversation both willing to act, ie the "W". To try this out and to help you get your thinking on track, download the 'Grow Your Salary Workbook' here

The beauty of this whole exercise is it’ll provide you with a tool to help you drive your salary conversations with your manager in a clear, unemotional way (no tears, just confidence). It’s also a good reference point to bring to your 1:1’s to make sure you’re keeping to your goals. You’re walking in with a plan of action and a clear mind to get yourself feeling motivated again. To help you with this, I’ve created a GROW plan outline which you can download here

Get up off that floor

Maybe this time around you didn't get the outcome you wanted. Chin up Queen B, or you’ll lose your crown. You’re ready. You’ve taken stock of your feedback, actions and plan for the next little while. The hardest part is actually getting on with your role with all the pride that you would have prior to that disappointing conversation. That is why the "W" of the GROW model is so important as both you and your manager have agreed to measures and timeframes to achieve your goals. Oh, and don't worry your motivation will return when you have something to aim for!

Continuing in the example above, you could agree to a salary review in another 6 months time if you deliver on certain KPIs. This would then be part of your monthly one-on-one's with your manager where you discuss your progress and keeping each other accountable to your pact. Remember you're the best investment for their business- they need you more than you know :)

Salary negotiations are often subjective and the feedback you receive can be one hard pill to swallow. Be open to feedback, especially when it comes to your Personal Brand. Read about the Money/ Happiness Tradeoff here too - it's not always about the dollars! 

In summary, here’s what you need to do to make sure you keep your salary negotiations on track:

  • know your worth - do the research and back it up;
  • agree to the measures of success and timeframe;
  • ensure your manager knows your goal so you can gauge how realistic it is;
  • seek monthly feedback from your boss so there are no surprises at the end of the year; and
  • use the GROW model.

Download the GROW model here and as always good luck superstar. 

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy or loathe salary negotiations? I'd love to hear from you! 


Ruby thrives on helping people achieve a career filled with passion and purpose.

Her corporate background in accounting, HR and recruitment led her to starting her first side-hustle, a career coaching business called The Careers Emporium

She soon caught the entrepreneur's bug and founded Tribe9, a business dedicated to helping startups recruit their first employee and beyond.

Running two businesses whilst working as Head Of Recruitment at a software company built her the reputation as the Side-Hustle Empress. This is when Ruby turned her side-hustles into her main hustles, and started, a business dedicated to empowering side-hustlers.

Ruby is an experienced speaker, facilitator and blogger and believes that everyone should have a career portfolio with multiple income streams, whether that be through multiple employers, side-hustles or both.

Ruby Lee

The Careers Emporium, 520 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3004