Today, as I stopped into my boss’ office to ask him a question, he was on the phone with a client. He asked, “hey, Vado, want to do a rent escrow case?” I said, “when?” He said, “whenever.” I said, “just so you know, I’m currently pretty much booked through June, and I’m not booking any more cases or clients until you know whether you’ll be able to pay me past then.”
My boss looked at me and nodded in agreement, saying that was fair. I went back to the client that I was meeting with, executed her will, sent her on her way, then wrote five more will, power of attorney, and advance medical directive estate plans. But I felt victorious.
When I was campaigning, we didn’t discuss whether I would stay on after the primary, and if I would be paid. I stayed on, and never managed to have the conversation with the candidate over whether she would be paying me or not. I made several passive aggressive comments about being a volunteer; she made several defensive ones about not having money, but we both danced around the issue and I came away from the experience feeling devalued and depressed. It was my own fault for not placing enough worth on myself to demand payment, and I promised myself that I would not put myself in that situation again.
So I’m proud of myself for drawing the line. The next step is going to be asking for a raise, if grant money actually comes through, but I’m really nervous about that step. I feel like when a person asks for a raise, they must be willing to walk away entirely, because I fear that I would get shown the door if I asked to make more money. I do feel that I should be making at least the standard salary for a 2L law clerk though, and I don’t think it would be unreasonable to call that salary discrepancy to my boss’ attention.
So here’s to advocating for yourself. If you haven’t had the courage to try it yet, do it, I dare you. It feels really good to say, “I am worth something.”