Is It OK To Be “Money Driven”?
Why You Deserve More
From a Vestpod reader:
"I was wondering you could cover the topic of being 'money driven'. I recently asked for a pay rise - having been on a junior wage for a year and achieving a lot such as winning clients, leading projects etc. I was told I had no capacity and company was not 'money driven' in that sense.
For me - isn't the only reason a business is there so it makes money? Also, being 'money-driven' is a big part of getting out and going to work - otherwise you would not be able to pay your bills, rent or do nice things?"
Money is Power
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that it might be “bad karma” for women to ask for a pay rise (yes really! Check it out) he was voicing a prejudice that we women know all too well: that wanting money is not ladylike. Sure, we all wish we could live in a prelapsarian paradise where everything we want grows on trees and people just go around giving and not taking. But let’s get real. Women, just like men, need power to run their lives effectively. And money, like it or not, gives you power. We’ve spoken before about all the myriad ways this can be true: saving for emergencies, giving yourself the freedom to change careers or travel, making family life work alongside a career.
For too long, women have depended on men to provide the hard cash and make the big decisions (about pensions, mortgages, investments etc). But now we know that there’s no need to give our agency over to someone else just because they have different chromosomes.
Keep the Conversation
More women than ever are running for political office, working their way up the corporate ladder and challenging inequality everywhere we see it. It’s an inspiring time, but we still need to keep the conversation about money focused on women and girls: a recent study showed that families spend more time talking to sons about money than daughters. Until we internalize our right to earn well, we’ll still be lagging behind on that list of global billionaires (which is mostly men, and the few women that are on it largely inherited their wealth).
Why It Is OK To Make Money
To be more specific to our letter-writer, of COURSE business is all about making money! even charities dedicated to dismantling capitalism need to raise money to do it (do you see them giving away copies of the Socialist Worker for free?). Your company is believing their own fuzzy hype if they claim otherwise. Or else they’re hopeless business people and will soon be bankrupt. Either way, it could be time to jump ship.
You don’t say whether your boss is female or male, but it sounds like they have internalized that pernicious feminine stereotype of being “above” money. The message is, money is a “low” aspect of humanity. It conjures images of grasping, selfish, careless misers. Girls have always been raised in a way that emphasizes caring for others and putting their needs second, not going out there all guns blazing to win a fortune for themselves. That’s what boys are made of. But sugar and spice and all things nice cost money, right?
Knowing Our Value
So it’s time to overrule the crazy notion that women shouldn’t ask for more. We should value ourselves (our ambitions, our families and our freedom) just the same as men do. After all, we’re not asking for money merely to spend on shoes and chocolates, are we? We want wealth so we can help our children, plan for old age and invest in a future we believe in. That might mean investing in start-ups (see last week’s Vestpod), donating to a political movement, or simply setting your children up with a great university education. These are not bad things to want. They’re pretty honourable, actually. And they cost money.
Respect Women's Ambition
If you agree with us on this, it might be time to start looking for a job with a firm that is a little more realistic in its world-view. And a bit more respectful to a woman’s ambition. There are plenty of cool companies across all areas of business who understand full-well the value of high earning females. They know that their employees’ wealth grows symbiotically with their company’s. So keep an eye out for firms with female CEOs and start maneuvering yourself in to their sphere. Make contact with other like-minded women (as you obviously are, by being part of Vestpod!) and before long, you’ll have left the ideological dinosaurs in your current job behind, and be well on your way to making a difference to your life and others by becoming a finance-savvy, high-earning, high-saving, high-kicking big girl!
What are your thoughts?