I’ve been working at a small, privately-owned company for about 3.5 years. I was hired to do a narrowly defined job but I’ve expanded my role significantly as I’ve identified needs at the company and been allowed to address them.

As part of a reorganization this summer – that I helped shape – my informal responsibilities became a formal, newly-created position within the company directing corporate strategy and communications.

I now have the title, and the expectations that go with it, but I don’t feel I have the salary.

The VP and owner put through a $12,000 pay increase without talking to me. That’s approximately $22k below what my research showed is the minimum market rate for the new position, and only $7,500 above my expected compensation for next year in my original job, despite a huge increase in responsibility and authority. I raised this with the VP and she openly acknowledged that they hadn’t done any research when setting the salary for the new position and that they’d look into it and get back to me.

Now it’s been two weeks and they both seem to be avoiding me.

Complicating things somewhat is that I’m 4.5 months pregnant with my first child, though I haven’t told anyone at work yet. I’m well enough established with this company to arrange for a part-time schedule and/or significant telecommuting, but might not find that at a new company, which would mean far more significant monetary or parenting sacrifices.

So: do I 1) keep pushing on the salary and try to get it raised to where I think it should be, 2) drop it and suck up the low salary because the overall position is likely to provide a level of flexibility most parents don’t have, or 3) use the next few months to build a strong resume under the new title then look for a new, better paying job and hope I can make it flexible?

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8 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    The part-time option after the baby is worth way more than the increase.

    If you find yourself being able to focus on your career trajectory after the baby comes then you can use the title to switch companies and get is big pay increase. If you find yourself exhausted and unable to think straight after the baby, it’ll be nice to have a familiar job to go back to where each work day is sort of a mini vacation from childcare.

    Most women want to work part-time when they have kids, and that’s very hard to set up. I’d focus more on that right now. Switching companies to get a raise is something that’s way easier to do.


  2. Rayne of Terror
    Rayne of Terror says:

    Agreed. I am a part time attorney. I am paid below market, but I work 20-30 hours a week, come & go as I please, can be at my kids school in 5 minutes and don’t miss a school event for work. (Unless I’m in court, but I take very few cases that will need me to go to court.) I’ve been doing this for almost 5 years and my kids are finally big enough that I’m now looking for full time work. It has been very beneficial to me to keep my foot in the door. I’ve been able to take a leadership position with the county bar association. For my family, being home every day at 3 pm instead of 5:30 keeps the chaos down to a minimum.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      Rayne – I would love to know how you make the part-time attorney thing work. I am also a part-time attorney, and I teach legal studies as an adjunct. Right now, I am trying to decide if I can keep working as a part-time attorney. My husband is in a grueling program, and so everything at home is left to me right now. This will eventually be very beneficial to us, but right now, it is so hard. I am specifically wondering what practice area(s) you work in to avoid having to go to court much. I work in a federal practice area (veteran’s disability claims), but the cases take absolutely forever. However, I move around a lot due to my husband’s schedule, and I don’t want the expense of dealing with multiple bars. So, I am toughing it out here right now. Any suggestions you have would be very appreciated.

      • Rayne of Terror
        Rayne of Terror says:

        I do real estate, municipal law, wills & trusts, estates, & medicaid planning mostly. I usually have one family law case at a time going on which is why I do go to circuit court occasionally. I came from a child support enforcement job where I was in court multiple times a week, so I like to keep a toe in court room work. Family law cases stress me out so that’s why I only do one at a time even though I’m good at them and there’s $ to be made. I worry about those clients in a way my fellow lawyers don’t. My husband has a 8-5 IT job, so everything at home is not left to me. I get home at 3 most days and he’s home at 5:30.

  3. Moms on the Sidelines
    Moms on the Sidelines says:

    Consider asking for reduced ours w/out a reduction in pay…. or a slight reduction that would put you in the salary range for that sort of position.

    From my experience, when women go part-time, the work load often remains that of a full-time employee. If that’s true for you, build a case for keeping your salary in tact while gaining the flexibility you need while caring for an infant. Good luck.

  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    I really appreciate these mailbags about how women deal with their career when they have kids or want to have kids. I feel this is such a taboo subject sometimes…

  5. Mary
    Mary says:

    I was in a similar situation before I had my daughter, and I would very strong urge you to stay at your current job. No matter how prepared you feel now to take on a new job, you don’t know what will happen after your child’s birth.

    I ended up having a C-section and had complications, and then my daughter was extremely colicky and didn’t sleep until she was 1 year old. From birth until 9 months old she would only sleep 3-4 hours at night in *1-hour increments* and only while being held. And when she was awake she would scream-cry for 12 hours straight. My husband had a nervous breakdown/mid-life crisis and left me to deal with my daughter by myself.

    A couple of times I literally hallucinated from sleep deprivation. For months I had to drive with car windows down to avoid falling asleep.

    I ended up being so relieved that I had decided to stay at my familiar job. I hope you have a healthy baby who sleeps from day one, but if not, you may need a job you can sleep-walk your way through for a while.

    • Rayne of Terror
      Rayne of Terror says:

      We didn’t have a colicky baby, but my oldest barely slept at night. I remember a 6 week span at 8 or 9 months old where he only slept 45 minutes at a time FOR SIX WEEKS. That was the nadir of my life so far. I can’t imagine doing that for 9 months. xoxo Mary.

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