That Awkward Pause When Asked For Your Salary Requirements Gives Me Nightmares

The SRQ breaks my little heart

Oh yes. The dreaded salary requirement question: in a second, you will go from feeling great about the interview to double-thinking every single moment of your short life. What should you ask for as a recent college grad? If you came here for answers…sorry. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.

I recently interviewed and the SRQ (salary requirement question) made me nauseous. We’re in an economic crisis, 19.8% of people below the age of 25 are unemployed…it is a mess. So what should I have done? If I answer too high, I sound uppity. If I answer too low, I am selling myself short. I was lucky enough to be asked this question twice for the same position. The first time I was asked the SRQ, I did nothing short of sell myself short. I went home, did some research on the title and what similar positions. I learned that I undersold myself by nearly $15,000! DO NOT DO WHAT I DID! I am talented, I have experience and I just spit out the first number that came to mind!

Do your research before a job interview, because I then looked like a fool when I had to correct a previous salary range.

But then came the opposite extreme. According to (which I have now made my bible), I should have been asking around $47,000. For some unknown reason, I feel too terrible asking that much and I am not sure why. I could not bring myself to say that number. Usually I am not one to turn down money, but I could not fathom asking for anything greater than $40,000. According to Ronnie Ann, author of the blog “Work Coach Cafe”, women always ask for too little during negotiations. Come on, ladies…we deserve more than what we’re getting.

I just need to figure out how to get around this inexplicable guilt trip I experienced during negotiations. Solutions? Comments?

Addendum to My Prior Post

I would first like to say that, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be great at an art or profession without years of training; this is what makes someone a natural talent. Professional actors without training are usually strikingly believable and an overall better performer; the same is true for some professions (with the exception of surgeons and the like, because that would just be undoubtedly frightening to have an operation performed by an untrained hand. But I digress).

I have gotten some feedback that confuses and astounds me. Readers are concerned that I have doubted the exigence of my diploma. It is not that I regret becoming a legitimate job seeker with a bachelors degree, but I am baffled by the fact that one needs a diploma to even be considered for a position. I find it astonishing that my  international experience, my eye for design, my ability to communicate with and speak in front of large groups of people would all be for nothing had I not gotten a degree. My natural talent would be lost and I would be working at a burger joint (presenting customers with the BEST level of service they had ever seen).

I can see both sides to the argument, though.

It is our culture to believe one needs a diploma to become successful. However, to the people who stand behind this belief, I ask this: What about the entrepreneurs who pushed us into a new century of technological advances like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Why can’t I be the next Coco Chanel or Simon Cowell?

That is what I mean when I say that a college degree is unnecessary. If you are brilliant enough, determined enough…nothing will stop you. You have to be fearless, see debt and march right into it (I’ve already met this step of the process) and believe in yourself when no one else does. And to be honest, I believe I am on my way.

I am sorry to those who have been programmed to believe that “nothing is impossible” is a lie. Critics of my drive and dream are my biggest fans, and I’ve had these “fans” throughout my entire life. Thank you for pushing me to go above and beyond what I think is possible.

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat”