Advocate for Yourself at Work [Detox & Chill Podcast]

All of your burning career negotiation questions are asked and answered in this highly actionable podcast interview! I share the real world language you can and should use when asked to share your salary expectations with a recruiter and we discuss the emotional components of owning your worth and asking for what you want.

Have you ever cried at work? Find out how to give yourself permission to do it again in this deeply authentic and real conversation about money and being women at work.


Beck Banyan: Ever since we recorded next week… Last week we recorded, I have been so excited to share. I’ve talked to multiple people about this episode already. I’m like, “You just wait until this episode comes out. It is so good.” And something that I feel like we’ve been getting questions about since the beginning and we ourselves have had questions about it, but we weren’t able to find the right person until this week.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. No, totally. So this week we have Ashley Paré of Own Your Worth and she is a former HR director turned entrepreneur; and she is a negotiation coach, a salary coach, and she is so amazing. I feel like I learned a lot from her just, honestly, sitting with her and seeing, [a], how competent she is in her answers but the fact that she will take a pause and consider and fully think out the question. Everything she shared and all of the questions she answered, I think, we’re just so on point.

And I think for this episode in particular, it just ties back 1000% to what we want to share on the podcast and what’s real for most of our listeners, which is being in a corporate job and trying to navigate the murky waters of negotiating a salary raise and how to advocate for yourself and just… I don’t know. It was really eye opening and also just inspiring, like I feel ready to take on the world.

Beck Banyan: Yeah, it was amazing. And we talk about going into an interview for a new job, we answer a ton of listener question. So we asked for people to submit questions in our secret Facebook group and so we were able to answer those and I am just so proud of this episode so I hope you all enjoy it. If you have any questions at all, we have Ashley’s contact info in the show notes as well as at the end of the episode. So make sure you listen all the way through so you can get her information.

She has a really cool program coming up that she talks about so that’s going to be, I think, helpful for a lot of people. And, yeah, we’re so excited. And if you want to part two, please, let us know. We’re leaning towards that, doing a part two. But, please, let us know if that’s something you’re interested in. Yeah, we’re just so excited for this so thank you for listening.

Meghan Dillon: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the podcast this week. We’re so excited to be back. Beck and I are back in action, I would say, after the move to LA and we’re so excited for this week’s episode. It’s been a long time in the making. This week, we have Ashley Paré of Own Your Worth and she’s an expert in all things negotiation, salaries. She’s just the expert for all of us women in the working world and she’s a great resources. And this is a topic that we’ve really, really wanted to touch on for the podcast.

I feel like both Beck and I have been in the position of working through salary negotiations and even trying to understand what we should be asking for and all of these things that are taboo subjects. And I think it’s really important, especially as women, that we’re talking about it openly and just having a really open and authentic dialogue. So, thank you so much for being here.

Ashley Paré: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. This is going to be awesome. What we like to start with is just a little bit of your background. I actually heard you speak. I work at Weber Shandwick, so part of the IPG network, and last year I had actually just started at Weber and I went to your event. So that was really cool.

Ashley Paré: Yay.

Meghan Dillon: So that was my first introduction to you. I feel like I have background. But do you mind sharing with our listeners your story, how you ended up in the role you’re at now and all that good stuff?

Ashley Paré: Yes. I’m so happy to hear that you at that event, it was a great event.

Meghan Dillon: It was awesome.

Ashley Paré: I landed in human resources pretty quickly outside of college. My undergraduate degree was in communications and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But I did know I had student loans and I wanted to live in the city, either Boston or New York, and so I took my very first job outside of school and I negotiated. And that was really my first lesson in negotiation, because I had been working internships and for whatever reason I decided because I have more experience I wanted to now earn more now that I have my degree.

And so I negotiated with my first company. They offered me $15 an hour and I asked for $16 an hour and they met me in the middle of a $15.50. So that was my first lesson in negotiation and I negotiated directly with HR. And not long after joining that company, I had built a relationship with the HR director and that’s how I landed in human resources. And so I built a successful career in HR and I had what I thought was my dream job at one point working in New York City and supporting a global workforce.

But ultimately, through my own failure on negotiation at that time in my career, I realized that this was a topic I was really, really passionate about and I decided to start my own business. So Own Your Worth is born, really, out of me just being super passionate about sharing my HR insight or knowledge with employees, with managers, to really bridge this gap between the employee experience and the employer experience. So I figured if I had my own struggles growing my corporate career and I was in HR and I had access to the leadership team and I had access to salary data, that I knew other women and minorities must have been having a difficult time as well.

So I started teaching salary negotiation workshops and from there my business has just organically grown and I’m so, so thrilled and really feel lucky to be doing all this work to make an impact.

Meghan Dillon: Awesome. So what I would love to get into is, so I know you do a whole workshop on this but I’m curious if you have… So for anyone interviewing for a new job… I think I’d like to start with interviewing for a new job because I know most of our listeners are past their first job. They’re, maybe, thinking about making a move to a similar company. I’m really curious. And one question that came up from our listeners, which I think is fantastic, is how do you answer the question if you’re interviewing, what is your salary requirement? And how do you even begin to develop in your mind what you are worth aside from what you’re currently being paid?

Ashley Paré: This is a biggie.

Meghan Dillon: We’re diving right in.

Ashley Paré: Yeah. This is like you’re ringing the bells. So I’ll tackle the first part first and then remind me of the second piece. So that question, tell me if the recruiter asks or hiring manager or HR or whoever it might be, and they’re asking you as a candidate to share your salary expectations or salary requirements. I do want to say that in Massachusetts and San Francisco, I believe New York, certain cities and States around the country have recently luckily made it illegal for employers to ask you your current salary.

So wherever you are listening, check with your local state and/or city requirements in terms of equal pay because there has been some legislation passed to help prevent companies from paying you based on your current salary because it is irrelevant.

Meghan Dillon: Thank God. Yes.

Ashley Paré: What you are currently earning is not relevant at all to what you could be earning in a new role with a new title with a new set of job requirements. So I’ll put that out there. So, really, I think there are two strategies that I recommend that you can use as a candidate. If you’ve done a lot of market research, if you’ve talked with peers in your field and in your industry, if you know maybe what coworkers are earning, if you’ve been able to look at websites like or, even LinkedIn has a reporting tool now.

If you are confident you want to earn between $100,000 and $110,000 for your job, then one strategy you can use is to share it. So you can just say straight out to the recruiter, “Based on my understanding of the market and research, I’m looking to be paid between $100,000 and $110,000. Is that within your budget?” In negotiation, it’s often said that whoever states the number first ‘wins’, because in that case you are anchoring your requirement. And the company can either say, “Okay, great.” They might say, “That’s a little bit above our range, but I’ll push you forward in the interview process.”

And you’ll know from the beginning that, okay, they know what my range is. So one strategy I really encourage listeners to use is just state what you’re looking for. Because, from the employer side, they won’t know unless you tell them what you want. Now, the other side to that is if it’s the first phone interview, and I’ve thought about this because it really irks me that companies are using salary requirements to just-

Meghan Dillon: To weed people.

Ashley Paré: -to weed out the candidates.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Ashley Paré: So if it’s the first interview, you can absolutely deflect and just say, “You know, I really appreciate that question but at this point I don’t have any or enough background information or understanding of the role and requirements. So I’d be happy to bridge this topic again if we get closer to the offer letter stage.”

Beck Banyan: That’s a great answer.

Meghan Dillon: I know. I’m going to write that down when I listen back to this.

Beck Banyan: Like, so simple but I’ve never thought of that before.

Meghan Dillon: Hmm? Because you feel so put on the spot, I feel like. And as a people pleaser, you want to have an answer. You know what I mean? You want to have the right answer. And I feel like I, and probably a lot of people too, shoot under what you actually want just in hopes of getting past that first round.

Ashley Paré: Yes. Yes. So if you do have a tendency to sell yourself short or if you haven’t practiced your member out loud then definitely deflect it because you’re the person that feels like, oh, you’re not confident enough to state your number. Then, yes. Don’t undersell yourself and just say, “You know what? I’m not comfortable sharing or I haven’t had time to do my research yet.” Honestly, some recruiters may be really pushy but you can also say, “I’m not ready to and willing to share that. If it’s a requirement for me to move forward, then I understand.” Right?

So, it’s about owning your worth from the beginning and being able to say, “I’m not comfortable about what you’d said about wanting the right answer.” There is no right answer. It’s only what works for you and what you say yes to, you accept.

Meghan Dillon: Right.

Beck Banyan: Yeah. Wow, so profound. Yeah, I mean that was something that I definitely struggled with when I interviewed for the job that I’m at now. I went through recruiter and there was definitely boundaries set by the recruiter like, “Oh, the range is this, but I really want you to interview for this job. And they’ll probably offer more, but they’re saying that the range is this. So don’t talk about salary.” What advice would you give for that situation? I probably should have gone to a different recruiter. But if you find yourself in that situation, is that something that happens often? Do they put out ranges and then is it possible to get more than that? How does that usually work?

Ashley Paré: Yeah. So my rule of thumb is everything is negotiable and at the end of the day you get to say yes or no. Again, when you have to talk about salary from the very, very beginning it makes it frustrating for you as a candidate because you don’t even know if you want to work there, but yet you feel as if you’re being held accountable to whatever number you say. So I like to just tell everyone that there’s no hole you can’t dig yourself out of.

So even if you were to low ball yourself from the beginning, when it comes to that final offer stage you have every right to say, “You know what? The more I learned about this position, the more research I was able to do, the more I’ve interviewed with other companies, I’m actually looking for between X and Y. And I’m hoping it will be within the company’s budget to be able to make me a competitive and fair offer.” So you can mic drop. You can always change your tune if that’s the case.

But from the recruiter side, so actually the work I do with Own Your Worth is coaching clients one on one through negotiations. But I also still work with employers, helping them develop their female talent, develop new leaders, coaching with CEOs about how to have tough, effective conversations with employers and one of the things that I recently I’m doing, a recruiting search of my own to help fill an HR manager position. And when you have a recruiter that… This is a thing. Companies will probably tell their recruiters, “Here’s a budget. This is what I have to work with.”

But at the end of the day, they are looking for the best candidate. And often the company doesn’t know what they will get, what type of candidate they’ll get, with a certain budget. So from a recruiter perspective, they want to give you a, “Mmh, this is probably the budget,” because that’s what the company has said to them. But then they also want to present the best candidates because the recruiter is getting paid, almost always, a commission when they make that sale. So there is no great answer here and that you have to be your best advocate and even a bigger advocate if you’re working with a recruiter.

Because if they’re going to negotiate for you on your behalf, you want to make sure that you trust them. So you can always ask the recruiter, “Look, I’m looking for $100,000 to 110,000. If this is really outside of their range, maybe it doesn’t make sense. But if you’re telling me it’s negotiable, then, let’s discuss salary again at the offer letter stage.

Beck Banyan: Mm-hmm (Affirmative).

Meghan Dillon: So as a follow up, is it something you should do? Should you give a range to the employer? I’ve heard in the past you shouldn’t give a range because they’ll always go with the lowest amount but I know you’ve mentioned a range quite a bit. So is there a reasoning behind that?

Ashley Paré: Yeah. So if you give your range and, again, you have to have done your research and feel good about it. Because, again, there was no right or wrong answer. It’s what are you willing to say yes to. So if you would feel motivated and excited to earn between $100,000 and $110,000 what I share in terms of setting your range is that you put your ideal based salary at the bottom of the range and then you increase your range 10% to 20% from there to ensure that you hopefully get that 100K at least as an example.

You can find studies that if you don’t say a number you end up getting more. But I think that was older research in my mind. And, again, from the employer and HR side, the differences I would see between men and women negotiating were that men would say, “This is what I need to earn in order to be able to work here.” And we, as the managers, would figure out how to make the budget work to hire that person if they were the top candidate. Whereas if a woman says, “You know what? I’m negotiable.” You have to let the employer know what you’re looking for, otherwise they’re just guessing.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. And I feel like it becomes this uncomfortable standoff because they do do some negotiation for clients in my job but there’s this awkward standoff of no one is going to say a number. So you just keep going back and forth and eventually someone has to say something. I’m curious, so just hearing about the discrepancy you mentioned between men and women, how did your… I know you touched on super early on $15.50 was what you arrived at. So, obviously, you know all the ins and outs now, but how was your experience in the corporate world negotiating? Were you always confident? Did you have to build it? What did that look like?

Ashley Paré: Yeah, so I think I became less confident as my career grew because in that-

Meghan Dillon: Imposter syndrome.

Ashley Paré: And also just the risk felt higher, the consequences felt real. Leaving college, I had no idea what it was like to work in the real world. I remember my first day on the job, guys were throwing a football around the office and I was like, “This is work.” What I envisioned work to be as adults was very, very different than it turned out to be. And so when I negotiated my first job, I didn’t really think about it. It was really just, “I have more experience and I have a degree, so I want to make more than I earned in my internship.”

But as I grew, early on in my career, I worked in startups and so I was reporting to and/or working with CEOs and CFOs early on and so I did a lot of self-advocating. But, usually, it was really emotional for me. One of my first negotiations with one of my male bosses, I cried. Like it was just the more I felt like I had to stand up for myself, the harder it became. So it was difficult, I think, because I felt as if, again, there was more potential consequences. I worried more about what my boss might think of me or what was the right amount to be asking for. But, again, I had salary access. I could see everyone else’s data.

Meghan Dillon: Oh, that’s just such a different-

Ashley Paré: Yeah. And so the one side of that was like, “Oh, if this person’s earning that much money then I know I can make that someday.” So that was really great. But at the same time I was like, “Hmm, I’m doing all of this work and this person’s making more than me.” So it puts me, I think, early on in my career in this position where I didn’t know what was right. The more HR experience I got, the more I advocated for other people. Eventually, I came back to you, “You know what? If I’m not doing this for myself…” I just told them I see this with my clients too.

Working hard and keeping our head down unfortunately in the corporate world is not enough. So, I had a very complicated relationship with it for myself and that’s why understanding the emotional component of feeling worthy, feeling how deeply money is connected to our self worth, in our society and especially as women, that’s the work I do now. It’s really addressing that.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: Yeah.

Meghan Dillon: Oh, go ahead Beck. No, go ahead. I was just going to say I feel like that really resonated with me. I feel like most people, where we’re working in these large corporate firms or offices, are really high achieving. And I think, to your point, that hard work really is obviously amazing but it does only get you so far. And I feel like especially as women, I found that I have to not shout it from the rooftops but continually remind managers or people that I’m talking with exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it and why I think I’m doing a good job. And that’s really hard for me emotionally because I hate talking about myself and giving myself a pat on the back. But I actually wanted to go back, and this is not related to budgeting. But you mentioned crying in one of your first meetings. And I’m curious because I think that these conversations can definitely be very emotionally charged. As a crier sometimes myself-

Beck Banyan: Same.

Meghan Dillon: -I have to physically pinch myself. I’ve had to pinch myself. I’ve had to just excuse myself, come back. What do you think are good strategies in that situation? If you feel like that’s going to happen, do you let it happen? Do you leave? What do you think the best thing is?

Ashley Paré: First and foremost is just to acknowledge and to be kinder to yourself because being emotional is being a human being. Right? And men have emotions too, it’s just they might show them in a different way. So I think caring about what you do and the work that you do, it just shows in terms of becoming emotional. But if you know that self advocating brings up a lot of feelings for you, I definitely recommend trying to get to the root cause of why. A lot of work I’ll do with my clients is helping them prepare for the conversation.

Whether they’re looking for a new job or asking for a raise, the preparation piece is not only about writing a script or figuring out your salary range. It’s really dealing with the fears and the emotions and why it’s difficult for you to pat yourself on the back. And often that goes against how we’re raised as women or little girls and where we’re told to be in our world. So what you said was great. If you actually become emotional in a meeting asking for some time or asking for some space… And I’m going to say ladies and men, do not apologize for being emotional. Right? Just say, “Thank you so much for understanding. I need a minute.” Versus saying, “I’m so sorry.” Because you’re allowed to feel the way you’re allowed to feel. And from the employer side, it should be a sign to them that you really care.

Meghan Dillon: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ashley Paré: But we often beat ourselves up much worse than what the other person across the table is probably thinking about ourselves.

Meghan Dillon: Yes. Yes.

Beck Banyan: Yeah, definitely. To the emotional side of things, so I just went through a salary negotiation and it turned out very well.

Ashley Paré: Yay. Congrats.

Beck Banyan: Thank you. But I had this story that I was telling myself, that if I asked for a certain amount of money then they would think that I only cared about money and not act the actual job. And I don’t know where it came from, but it was like having the devil and God on my shoulders. The devil was like, “They’re going to think all you care about is the money. And they’re going to think you’re so self-centered and you don’t care about this company and blah, blah, blah, blah.” And I had this feeling constantly. I didn’t know how to get rid of it.

And I tried to tell myself like, “No, I’m worth this amount of money. I’ve done my research, I’ve done everything that I’m supposed to do, and this is legit what I’m asking for.” But it still was there. I’m curious if you’ve ever coached someone through that or if you’ve had that experience yourself.

Ashley Paré: Yes and yes. That is what I call the deep coaching work of owning your worth. Right? That’s where this all stems from, truly. When you’re aware of those self limiting beliefs or those mean voices or inner voices, whatever you want to call them, you can never get rid of all of them but it’s where do you take action from. Right? Is it a place of confidence and still you’re a little nervous or do you listen to that voice that’s saying don’t do that because it’s going to mean you’re greedy or you’re only thinking about money.

So kudos to you, Becky, for going for it anyway. But if I were to coach you on that topic, you said you don’t know where it came from. Right? You have no idea?

Beck Banyan: Mm-hmm (Affirmative).

Ashley Paré: Yeah. So I would ask you to think about is that your belief? Do you really believe people who have money are only working for the money? What do you believe about people that have whatever amount of money you were asking for?

Beck Banyan: I think that they probably deserve it.

Ashley Paré: Yeah. Right? So you have these beliefs, you’re not sure where they came from, but if we were to do coaching work around this you either saw something, experienced something or were told something by someone at some point in your life where you were modeled something and you just created what you called a story about if I ask for money it means this about me.

Beck Banyan: Right.

Ashley Paré: But the cool thing is if you get to figure out where that comes from, whether it’s from the way you were raised or your parents or a bad experience at work one time, you get to rewrite your story and say, “You know what? I am worthy, I am valuable and I’m going to go for it.”

Beck Banyan: Mm-hmm (Affirmative).

Meghan Dillon: Totally.

Beck Banyan: Yeah. I definitely have an inkling of where that comes from, but we won’t get into that today.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. No, and I think that’s a perfect lead into what I’m thinking about, just that money is so taboo and also how you grow up I feel is how you internalize how to see money in this world. And I have definitely struggled with that. And I feel like my parents, personally, just never talked about it. That was such a taboo thing. Yeah. We would never discuss it in our house, but none of our friends or family or anything like that. And I think that it’s interesting that even in today’s world it still feels very taboo.

So as far as talking about it, maybe we’ll start in a work setting, how do you feel about that? Discussing it with your peers? I feel like, obviously, people above you usually do know what you make if you report to them. But do you think it’s fair to discuss it with coworkers?

Ashley Paré: Yeah, absolutely. I think the taboo piece of it is you’re now even tapping into why you personally become emotional. Right? Because you learned it was not okay to talk about money or that’s just not what you do.

Meghan Dillon: Right.

Ashley Paré: And so I always suggest that you start with people that you trust either in your company. Or if you don’t feel comfortable asking your peers in your company, then LinkedIn is an amazing resource to reach out to people with your job title somewhere else and just say, “Hey, I’m doing some market research. It’s important to me that I’m paid fairly and competitively for my contribution. I know this is an uncomfortable topic for many of us, but would you be willing to share what your compensation package looks like?” Right. “And I’m using this as information to help me in my career development.”

Or you could say, “I’m thinking about asking for a $20,000 raise that’s going to put me somewhere around $110,000. Is that around what you’re earning for your work in this role?” So the best resources that we have are real people in real jobs. And it’s not for you to go back to the employer and then say, “Hey, so and so told me they’re making more than me. Pay me more.” Right? That’s, obviously, not the best approach. You may feel that way, but then that’s when we get back into the emotional side of this.

But it’s information for you to then build a strong case where you feel grounded; where you feel confident that, “Hey, I’m going to ask for this number. No matter what the company says, I know that other people like me are earning this, so it’s possible for me.”

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the tough part. They feel like once you’re armed with knowledge you’re kind of like, “Eh, but I can’t say but this person’s making that.” You know? So it’s kind of like you want to make sure that you obviously aren’t calling someone out but you have that knowledge.

Ashley Paré: Yeah, it’s about… Listen, you can give a company any and every reason you want. You can ask for whatever you want. Truly. We put limitations and glass ceilings over our own heads all the time. You can ask HR, “Hey, can you tell me the salary band for the position that I’m in? Can you tell me where my current salary falls within our salary band for my level?” You can ask, “Why did you decide to offer me this amount of money? Can you give me a little bit more information about your pay philosophy within your company?” Right? If you’re considering a new job.

But this is why I’m so passionate about what I do, because either we’ve learned how not to be at work versus learning that there’s information available to us all the time. All we have to do is just ask. And if somebody else gets annoyed or if they’re rude or if there are real negative consequences, then, that’s more about them and their stuff and their response than what you did. Right? It’s not about you doing something wrong.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: Mm-hmm (Affirmative). Yeah, totally. I think it’s so important. And I’ve noticed too just in my experience that a lot of times that secrecy about the pay philosophy comes from leadership or people who have been there for years and years.

Ashley Paré: Yes.

Beck Banyan: And I think it’s important that people know that it doesn’t have to always be that way.

Ashley Paré: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Because as employees we can do our part by holding employers accountable and also… My hope is some of my clients are also managers or leaders or even CEOs so you will become, at some point, a people manager if you continue growing your career. So it’s about learning these lessons and understanding how it is to be on both sides because we’re all people at work. But leadership, again, it tells you a lot about the culture of the organization and your future there, what it could look like for you to grow your career.

If there is that secrecy, usually it’s because top leadership or the employers or even HR they’re afraid of what could happen if they were more transparent. And that’s that gap that I mentioned earlier between the employer and the employee. And everyone just wants to… It’s not even about being fair, it’s just about understanding how the process works. Because I don’t know about you ladies but, for me, every time I’ve asked for something even if I heard no, I always felt way better than if I had never asked at all.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Ashley Paré: Because it’s not about getting everything you ask for. It’s about understanding, if the reason’s no, why.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. Yeah, and I feel like as a person in life in general I have to understand why or it doesn’t resonate with me. And everywhere I’ve worked it’s shrouded in secrecy and I don’t know. I feel like, to your point though, it really does hold people accountable when you actually ask. And I think so many people don’t ever even ask because maybe they don’t feel like they can or there’s a precedent that people don’t. But that’s important to just arm yourself with the fact that you can literally always ask.

Ashley Paré: Yeah, because… One of my big fears when I wasn’t asking was that it was a fear of hearing no.

Meghan Dillon: Mm-hmm (Affirmative).

Ashley Paré: And, yes, that’s always possible. Right? I mean this goes for negotiating your rent or everything. We hear nothing no all the time but we give more meaning to no when it comes to our career or our paycheck. We end up making it mean something about us versus it just being this company or this person isn’t willing to say yes to what I just asked for.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: Right.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: Yeah, that’s true. That kind of transitions well into another listener question that we got, so this goes past salary negotiations just but just being somewhere. So this person is working somewhere and they’re not super clear what the policy is on working from home. And they want some advice on how to negotiate that, how to bring up that topic of working from home, as part of their compensation package.

Ashley Paré: Do you know if they’re already employed or if they’re considering the job?

Beck Banyan: They’re already employed.

Ashley Paré: Oh, they’re employed? Okay. So if there is no formal policy, the first thing that comes to mind for me is do other people have that benefit? But working from home is one of the big things that people are wanting to negotiate for now. So from the employer side, many companies depending on the field you’re in or the industry, will have a policy. If they don’t, then, it’s usually up to the manager to make that decision. So my recommendation is to-

Beck Banyan: So, is this-

Ashley Paré: Go ahead.

Meghan Dillon: Oh, no. Did we lose her?

Beck Banyan: Are you there?

Meghan Dillon: Yeah, you’re back.

Beck Banyan: Okay. Sorry, I lost you for a second. Can you start that answer again?

Ashley Paré: I forget where we even were [inaudible 00:48:41]. What was the last thing you heard? I was going to say my recommendation, but I don’t know if you have more information about-

Beck Banyan: Oh yeah. Yeah. The last thing that I heard was usually there’s a policy in place, but if not, and then it cut off.

Ashley Paré: Okay. So if there’s not a policy in place already about working from home then, typically, the employee can just negotiate this with their manager. So as an example, if employees would ask me for more vacation time when they were trying to negotiate a new job offer, from an HR standpoint I would say our policy is three weeks. That’s what everybody gets. But if you were to work out, something with your manager off the books, then, that’s between you and your manager.

So my philosophy, from an HR perspective, is I want to empower managers to manage their team. So if a manager sees it’s appropriate for whatever reason, and obviously this is where we have to be careful about treating people fairly meaning that not one person only can get this benefit. So I think the question about working from home in general really becomes how does it benefit the company? Why are you asking for it in terms of you don’t have to share all your personal stuff or personal reasons, but why would that help you stay motivated, stay committed and really be excited about doing your job?

Maybe sharing a little bit about, if it’s a commute issue or whatever it might be. Because at the end of the day, this manager is not going to want to lose the listener. Right? She’s a great, or he is a great, employee. Then the manager is going to want to understand, well, where is this coming from and why? And let me see if I can support you. So I think it’s about asking and building that trust with the manager to say, “This is why it’d be really important to me. This is what I’m going to commit to. This is what you can expect from me going forward if we make this arrangement. Do you think that would be possible? Can we try it for three months to see how it goes?”

So I don’t even see that as really a negotiation. It’s like you’re just creating a deeper relationship with your boss and setting the agreements about how you will work. Now if the culture is there’s no work from home and you’re setting the precedent, you might have a longer uphill battle. But, again, it’s about certain cultures have this fear that people work less when they work from home.

Meghan Dillon: 100% and nothing-

Ashley Paré: And that’s the opposite.

Meghan Dillon: Nothing irks me more. I’m like, “If anything, I’m online earlier, working longer, more efficiently because I’m not chatting with every single person.”

Beck Banyan: Exactly.

Meghan Dillon: I don’t know. I can get really fired up about antiquated view that we can’t work if we’re not all together. Obviously, certain times you need to be with your team and if you’re working all week remotely, that probably doesn’t work very well. But a day to get your shit together, I don’t know.

Ashley Paré: Yeah. It makes you appreciate working at the company more. It makes you, I think, a better… We all need more time to be able to do strategic content, be creative, be innovative.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Ashley Paré: And I would say too that if you are asking for, or negotiating, flexibility I don’t really see that as a huge benefit to you. The employer is also getting something, which means they’re getting you as a happier employee. So I’ll just tell that listener that if they think they’re underpaid or if they want something else, they can ask for both. If they’re granted, if you will have the ability to work for home, it doesn’t mean you have to suck up other ways that might not be working for you. Because it’s about you at the end of the day.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. And I love that you said that because I feel like at the first job I was at was crazy. We would work a 90 hours a week. I used to work in finance, no more. But I felt so guilty if I would take a day to work from home and I’ve really had to train myself this is just how a normal person would be like, “I don’t feel well. I’m going to work from home. End of story.” And it’s also one of those situations where I would never judge someone. But it’s interesting when you work and the mentality you need to drag yourself to work on three hours of sleep. I feel like it becomes so warped that you feel guilty about just like functioning at your highest capacity.

Ashley Paré: Yeah. I mean, we get our view of the work world from our very first experiences at work. So if you were in one of those organizations that valued face time, that valued 90 hour weeks then, of course, you have that feeling of guilt. But that’s where, as a job interviewee, it really is your job to interview the company to really understand if it’s a place and a culture that you are going to thrive in, that you’ll be successful. Because every company is different and every company runs on different values, but you don’t have to subject yourself to-

Meghan Dillon: Torture.

Ashley Paré: Yeah. We work more efficiently than we give ourselves credit for.

Meghan Dillon: Totally. I’m looking at our list Beck. Did we have any other listener questions? I know we’re coming up on… I can’t believe it’s almost been an hour.

Beck Banyan: Oh my God.

Meghan Dillon: I know.

Ashley Paré: I just looked at the time and I was like, “No.”

Meghan Dillon: We could pick your brain for, honestly, many more hours but-

Ashley Paré: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: So we have one more question that I do want to address because I feel like it’s an important one, so going back to interviewing. The question is what’s the best way to frame a gap in employment or how can you best address a gap?

Ashley Paré: Good question. Without knowing what that gap really is, my thoughts here are always to be as honest as possible without sharing stuff that you’re not comfortable sharing. So whether you became a mom and you took time off and you want to go back into the workforce, whether it was a medical reason, whether it was literally burnout and you were like, “I can’t take this anymore.” No matter the reason, for you knowing that you gave yourself permission to do that first of all was really brave and courageous.

And taking that back into the interview process to say, “You know what? I had some personal situations or thing or something came up. It unfortunately required my full attention. But the reason I’m back on the market is because I am looking for and ready and willing to do blah, blah, blah.” So this is about, first of all, being kind to yourself and then framing it like you haven’t lost anything. You still have all of your experiences, all of your background, all of your education. It does not mean you have to accept less just because you needed to leave the workforce at any point.

And if you were fired, if you feel comfortable sharing that things didn’t work out and you had to leave the organization unexpectedly, you can say that. You can say, “It didn’t work out and what I’m looking for now is a company or a job that has blah, blah, blah. Or that will enable me to do X, Y, and Z.” I guess honesty is the best policy in terms of you don’t have to share all of your personal information. But you can frame it in a way that says, “I’m still capable. I know I can do this job because I have all this great experience and this is what I’m looking for next.”

So if you are clear and if you are confident then the employer is going to be way more willing to… They understand. At the end of the day, again, we’re all people. But it’s when a candidate either doesn’t give a real answer or they feel like the candidate is avoiding the question. If you go into that, if you’re feeling awful about it… What I’m trying to say is if you can get a great answer and story around your reasoning, employers are going to be more likely and willing to understand than if you try to avoid it. It just paints the worst case scenario picture in the employer’s mind.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah. And one thing that comes to mind that I do feel like people are talking about more, but it is such a problem with burnout and with just our world today, is depression and mental health. I can’t imagine trying to, A, deal with that, go through it and then try to answer why you took a break. You know what I mean? So, for things like that, you don’t want to seem like you’re dodging but-

Ashley Paré: Yeah. And so this is, again, where we as employees get to change the story around this and change the dynamic because so many people stay in the workforce too long, which costs them their health or their right. And that’s not good for anybody either. So it’s, again, about finding that balance and when you’re feeling good about yourself putting yourself back in the market. Look, you are the talent. Companies need you to operate, to make their money, to meet their revenue goals. So we really do have a lot more power than we give ourselves credit for in the workforce. And, again, your skills don’t go anywhere. It’s just your confidence.

Meghan Dillon: You don’t delete your whole resume because and that’s what I feel like it is, these gaps. It’s like, “And why was there a gap?”

Beck Banyan: Yeah. I feel like, at least, I have this issue sometimes. It’s forgetting that my managers or leadership are also people and they’ve lived lives as well, and more than likely they’ve experienced some of the same things you have. And I feel like so often we put them on a pedestal like, “Oh my gosh, they’ve had a perfect career and they’ve done all of these things and they would never understand if I were to bring this up.” But it’s like, “No, they probably do.” But you just need to, have the confidence in yourself to talk about it and be open.

Ashley Paré: Yes. And that’s a really great point because I’ve been in many interviews with managers where a candidate would either say, “I took time off to travel the world because it was a dream of mine,” or, “I took time off to care for my mother who had cancer.” That is a human experience that the manager can also relate to and say, “Oh, I did that 10 years ago when I wanted to travel the world.” And that’s exactly what I meant about being honest but also just clear that that’s what you needed at that time.

And, again, you don’t have to share your medical history, of course. But everyone has a story, everyone has a relationship with money and you’re going to feel much more excited about joining a company when you’ve been able to tell a version of the truth and-

Meghan Dillon: Yeah, and be authentic in who you actually are.

Beck Banyan: Yeah.

Ashley Paré: You’ll be accepted.

Meghan Dillon: Yes.

Ashley Paré: Or that fear hanging over you.

Meghan Dillon: Yeah.

Beck Banyan: Wow. So just to finish things off, because we are almost had an hour, which is crazy. Maybe we’ll have to do a part two with you. But where can people find you? I’m sure a lot of our listeners will want to work with you after listening to this, so how can they find you? How can they work with you? What do you have coming up?

Ashley Paré: Yes. So reaching out to me directly via my website is the best way to reach me. My email’s there. I have a lot of free resources and interview guides. My website’s and my email is And I do have an exciting update that I’m launching of own your worth, a new product, a program called The Negotiator in early 2020. So it’s going to be, basically, all of my HR insider knowledge on both asking for a raise and a promotion, and negotiating your job offers.

But it’s going to be a civics week self-study course with a bunch of videos and webinars, and eBooks, so that will be coming out in early 2020. So listeners can head over to my website to get updates there and I’d love to connect with anyone who wants to reach out, always happy to connect with listeners.

Beck Banyan: So exciting. I’m so excited for you. I’m so excited to see this business just take off and for more women to learn about you and work with you, and really feel the empowerment. I feel like if I didn’t just go through a negotiation, I’d be ready to go through one right now.

Meghan Dillon: I know you.

Ashley Paré: I’m always here, whether it’s negotiating or just even having a tough conversation at work or thinking about what’s next for you in your life and your career. Owning our worth, it’s not just about money. It’s really about just living our best lives, living into our full potential. So, yeah. Congrats again, Becky, on your reviews and-

Beck Banyan: Thank you.

Ashley Paré: Remember, you’re worth it, you deserve it, you’ve earned it and you don’t have to do more.