A Closed Mouth Doesn't Get Fed

Ask. Believe. Receive.

What are you expecting from life? Wait, I have a better question: When is the last time you asked from life what you want?

It's been said that a closed mouth doesn't get fed. And I know this to be true. No one is going to give you what you think you deserve. And the only person who will ever truly look out for your best interest is you.

I've been coaching a peer for almost two months now on how to transition from the temp agency she was working for, over to the consulting firm that I'm with. Basically, she's been getting screwed by the company she's temping at with them stringing her along with promises of full-time employment for over a year. Side note: we're working at the same company. She took my advice (at least most of it), which included talking to the temp agency about the terms of her contract: Would the consulting firm have to pay a fee? Was she under a Do-Not-Compete Clause? Blah, blah, blah... And it looks like the transition will take place on December 1st. But, there's one big problem: she is not happy.

I approached her about her progress a couple times over the past month because I know the importance of placing a sense of urgency on your goals and your money. During that time she seemed sort of stand-offish and didn't want to discuss, so I left it alone. I didn't want to push. So, she finally came to me last Friday and said it's a go; they're going to bring her on. I asked if they'd given her benefit options, and she said no. So, I forwarded the packages that they offered me (yes, as a consultant), and told her to go back and let them know that she needs benefits and PTO.

It is with great sadness that I must report that she pulled me aside today to tell me that they would only give her a one-year contract, with no benefits, and no PTO. To make matters worse, she'll transfer over on December 1st, and won't get her first check until December 31st...OUCH!

I stood in the hallway shaking my head at her because I know the game so well. Now she's mad...AT THEM. But here's the deal, that's not how the game is played. Plus, I told her ALL of this up front. No company will ever pay you what you think you're worth; you have to demand it. You may as well stop thinking these recruiters are your friends and that they're sitting on the other end of the phone line holding their wallets open, just waiting to rain money down into your bank account because you're so awesome and wonderful. At the end of the day, you're going to have to look out for the YOU Corporation.

When I signed my contract two months ago, it was for two years. During that time it has been extended to 8.5 years, if I want it. Remember, I have some sayso in this too. My recruiter and I also negotiated and agreed to a salary before I even interviewed with the company. When it came time for me to sign my contract, the rate had been dropped by $2. Oh, hell no! By the time I got finished with her, I had my $2 back, plus they were paying $40/week for my Metro.

Now, here's the deal, do I get tired of being perceived as the angry black woman when I ask for what I want? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop asking for--and receiving it.

Stop expecting life to just walk up to you and say, "Hey, here you go. Thank you for existing," and start asking...and getting what YOU want. Because, remember, a closed mouth doesn't get fed.



Samantha said...

This post is very timely for me. I am guilty of keeping my mouth closed and waiting until I'm asked about what I want.

Recently I did get a raise because I initiated it. They happily gave me one. I am planning a couple other things to bring to their attention soon.

One thing that my son does and which I'm trying to teach my daughter is to ask for what you want. He is not fearful or expecting a no. He knows exactly what he wants and he get it (most of the time).

My daughter on the other hand is fearful and too often expects not to get what she wants. So she doesn't ask and she still doesn't get it. Ironic, huh?

Lisa Maria Carroll said...


Did you say they happily gave you a raise? I'm really not surprised because when you negotiate an intial salary, the employer doesn't start at the top end. They usually start at the lowest point of the pay grade. That gives them a lot of flexibility for counter offers.

You make a great point. I talked about asking for money, but it doesn't apply to just money. My baby girl has ALWAYS asked for what she wants and, like your son, usually gets it. On the other hand, I have a daughter who prefers to play the victim with a sense of entitlement. And, let me tell you, that gets her absolutely nothing, from me or anyone else.

Go ahead, speak your mind, and bring those other things to your employer's attention.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post about the power of confidence and the belief in yourself. The world gives you what you asks of it. If you ask for nothing that's what you get.

Montina Young Fortune (@sparkwisdom) said...

EXCELLENT information! "No company will ever pay you what you think you're worth; you have to demand it." I remember sitting across from my Director's Director last year and told her the amount I was worth to my company. Guess what? She did not flinch or blink an eye. She agreed and unfortunately was unable to "bump me up" that much in my company. I did earn a $20k increase (YES in a recession) and am doing everything I can to double that salary in under 2 years. We do not have to just accept what life gives. Lisa, YOU have this science figured out. I'm looking forward to seeing you work with more women to EMPOWER them with the ammo they need for their breakthroughs! This case study is an excellent example.

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