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Busting through the pay gap in 2018

Will the next generation get equal pay regardless of gender and race?

My day job is being a Senior Art Director in the advertising industry. An industry run mostly by white males and filled with stereotypes, overt bias, and hidden bias, that have made my career not boring to say the least. It’s been a tough 10+ plus years working to bust through to the top and to retain my self of sense. Sadly enough, my industry isn’t the only place where this happens. This happens worldwide! All across America, and even worse across other countries that are still punishing women by death. Trying to achieve my goal of being financially independent and to become a millionaire, is hard enough already, but made even harder by the fact that there is an unequal pay gap between women and men. To add even more hurdles in my way, I am also Chinese. Minority women are even further behind in the unequal pay gap. How is it in 2018 that women get paid less than a man for doing the same job?

The 3% Movement
https://www.3percentmovement.com
Last week I was so fortunate to be able to attend the 3% Minicon held here in Los Angeles. What is it you say? When the 3% Movement started only 3% of the creative directors in the industry were women, with less being minorities. Since then the numbers have risen to 11% but they won’t stop until it’s at 50%! Their mission is to bring inclusion for all genders and all races. I spent an entire day listening to speakers from top positions from well known agencies speak up. There was even a 13 year old girl there who spoke so eloquently about the issues and was extremely passionate! All of us, or a majority of us, definitely were so inspired by the next generation. We’re fighting for us now, but we’re also fighting to make the future brighter for generations after us. The minicon was overrun with women with a sprinkling of men everywhere. I would have liked to see more men there too!

From the company I work at, 8 women attended. I very much would have liked a few men to attend as they also need to know these issues. It’s harder for people to know what the issues are if they are not confronted with it day by day. Doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the solution, but hearing the speakers inspired us all so greatly. Our next steps are to consolidate our learnings and action steps together so that we can share it with the rest of our company. From there we can take our next steps and push the movement forward!

The facts
Women are half the population is this world and we’re hampering our entire world by limiting that growth. Women live longer than men, yet have less in their retirement funds due to unequal pay gaps. Women also tend to invest into their children and community on a higher rate. Women minorities are even more likely to earn less for the same job. Maternity and paternity pay, as well as family leave, aren’t as widespread as it should be in the US, and mostly hampers women as they take time to take care of their families.

Look at the CEO’s of the biggest companies in the country and they are most likely men. Look at our government, how many white males are there vs women?

My dreams vs my reality
It would be great to be evaluated based on what I can do and what I know. Regardless of my gender or skin color. That everyone start on equal ground.

My reality is that I am judged every single day by how I look. I am a petite Chinese woman who looks young for my age. On first sight people assume I am much much younger than I am and don’t realize my age until they talk to me. The smarter people take that time to know me before making a judgement. The not so smart people judge instantly and think that I am in a lower position and don’t know much. I remember these people.

Not just diversity, inclusion
No more tokens! No more including one of each type of person for diversity purposes. It’s not a checkbox that you have one female in the group, one black person, one asian person, and one male. Not only do we need to have all types of gender and races together, but we all need to give them the power to have an equal voice. In my industry it’ll make our work more powerful to have all voices together than just from one view. Our world could use that same power.

 

So what can we do about it? Not just for people in my industry but everywhere.

Become a mentor
I am forever grateful to the women and men who have stepped up throughout my life and career to take the time to help me. These people weren’t officially labeled my mentors, but they took my under their wing for a short time to teach me. They took time out of their day to help someone along. They’ve taught me so much and gave me a great example to follow. It takes time to be a good mentor (notice I included good) but it’s well worth it. Not only do you help someone grow, you yourself as a person grows too and gain a new perspective.

Stand up for what’s right
If you see something happening that is wrong, correct it. No matter who you are. Doing nothing is also a choice you make. It is allowing the status quo to keep on as is.

Challenge your inner bias 
Everyone has bias already. I know I do and I’m constantly trying to adjust to stamp it out as much as possible.

Know your worth – negotiate your pay
There are plenty of sites that post salaries. Look it up and see what your worth and ask for it and more! This goes for everyone.

Equal pay studies
See if your company has an equal pay study or a pledge for one. Some companies have already done those studies and have implemented policies to change unequal pay. Others may have done it but not published it.

Paid maternity, paternity and family leave
Push for maternity, paternity and family leave. My company doesn’t currently have policies in place but I’ve been pushing for it and will continue to do so. My husband has 3 weeks paternity leave. Which is great since men also need leave for their children.

Let our voices be heard
Don’t interrupt women when speaking. Studies have shown that women are more interrupted than men when in a group setting. Our voices are literally being spoken over! If you see it happening, say something. Don’t do it, and bring the issue to light. Most people most likely aren’t doing it on purpose. Also support the person interrupted by bringing the conversation back round to them. Allow their voice to be heard.

It’ll take everyone to step up, women, men, everyone, to change things
Yes everyone, absolutely everyone, will need to step up in order for things to change. Women, men, the people in power, the people not in power banding together to create one large voice, it will take everyone to change. This is everyone’s problem. Everyone has a mother, a friend, an acquaintance that is a woman. Possibly a daughter, a niece, cousins who are women. Even if you think it doesn’t affect you yourself, it’s affecting someone close to you.

 

This is obviously something very close to me as I just wrote a long article about this. I could’ve written even more! I’m doing my best to fix this in my industry and in the world. Let’s do it together!

Going for Your Dreams

From Howl and Rose
From Howl and Rose

I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to find a career that I love being in! I picked the right major that helped me get to where I am. I honestly can’t even figure out exactly why I majored in Digital Design because I barely had any skill with computers. I had an art background, but there was so much I had to learn to even catch up to my peers. Fortunately, I did catch up and I’m still in the career that made the most sense for my major. I’ve been through different jobs and taken risks, but it’s all paid off and I’m pretty darn happy!

It amazes me when I hear about someone who changes careers entirely and risks everything! A friend of mine that I met at my very first job is doing exactly that right now. She’s always loved photography and she’s been doing it through the years. She decided to finally strike out on her own to try to make it her career. It’s only been a few months since it’s happened and it’s slow going for now. Hopefully it will start taking off soon! Los Angeles is a hard place to make it in when you’re starting out in any career. A big city can have more opportunities, but there is also more competition too.

Definitely check out her photography!
Howl and Rose

Jacky’s pretty darn amazing I would say, and she definitely has that special touch that brings out the best in her subjects. I count her as my favorite photographer actually. She took our engagement photos and as soon as I start a family, I’m booking her for sessions!

Taking risks
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is to try freelancing with a small (but reputable) company. There was the possibility of full-time, but it never came to fruition, and I ended up with a few months of not having any work. It did pay off in the end though since it was a very good experience. For my friend though, she is starting over from the beginning. That means not a lot of money coming in and she has to work her butt off even more. I don’t love the times when I was starting out and money was tight and it took creative methods to make sure bills were paid. In the end though, she’ll be doing something she loves and getting paid for it! The perfect career right?

Starting a career
Knowledge and experience are the two biggest things to be able to start a career. Many people I know who have started over have gone back to school or taken special crash courses. For Jacky, she’s been working on her photography for years and has a small portfolio put together. In her desired choice of career that’s pretty darn essential. My four years in college taught me a lot about design and the internships I had gave me experience even before I graduated.

Making it happen
Not everyone can make it in their career unfortunately. Some people aren’t cut out for it and others aren’t right for it. The mindset now is to do something you love and get paid for it. Not so according to the older generation. Having a stable job was the most important, and loving your job was a very small priority. For me, I want to work in a career I love and get paid for it! It’s taken awhile to find a company and job that fits me well that I look forward to going to work. I’ve worked long hours and nights to get to where I am, and I still work really hard to keep at the top of my game. No matter what, it always takes hard work and patience! I still have a far way to go, but I hope that I’ll make it.

 

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done when it comes to your career?

 

Back to a Traditional Full-time Job

 Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc

Today was my very first day back to a traditional full-time job! For the past year and a half, I was freelancing and working strange hours. An opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up, and so I’m back at a normal 9 hour, 5 days a week, permanent office job. In my industry, it’s actually not uncommon for people to go back and forth depending on what company they get to work with and what works for them at that particular point in their life. Some people have always been freelancers and would never consider full-time. Others love being full-time and wouldn’t like being a freelancer. It’ll be an adjustment for sure, but for now I think it’ll work out for me.

I’m definitely going to miss making my own hours and not having to go into an office every single day. I had a lot of freedom to go out for a two hour lunch, but I was working much later hours since my work day was more spread out. I wouldn’t have considered freelancing at all if I hadn’t mostly been working with one company either. Many others jump from company to company and are never in one place. Being self-employed didn’t mean I could do whatever I wanted to either. To some extent, yes I could as in I could take on projects I liked. I still had to work with other people and satisfy clients.

I loved the flexibility of being self-employed, but I really disliked the taxes portion. My life has been moving forward, and it was time to make a change when the right opportunity came along!

What works for you now might not work later
I’m really glad that I was able to be self-employed for a year and a half. It was a really good experience and I learned a lot from it. At different points in my life, I might go back and forth between self-employment and full-time, but it’s whatever feels right at the moment. I’ve been freelancing for a while so a regular full-time job is fine now. Later on, I might miss the flexibility and want more freedom in how I plan my days.

Better stability
With the amount of lay-offs in the last few years, full-time jobs aren’t as stable as they used to be. If the company is doing well though, it’s still much more stable than being self-employed. You might not know if you have a job lined up next, and there might be weeks or months where nothing comes through. Some people really don’t mind this and just think of it as a vacation. For others, it can be extremely stressful always looking for your next job opportunity. I didn’t love that feeling of uncertainty. If my husband didn’t have a stable full-time job, I wouldn’t have been able to be self-employed for so long.

Different opportunities
Every company works in different ways and has different projects and clients. Some companies work exclusively for only one client and day-in and day-out end up doing the same thing. Working with different companies will allow me to be able to work on a varied number of projects. One company could work mostly with creating websites, and another could be more about animation. They work to their strengths of course and usually become well known for doing certain types of projects.

Being a freelancer versus full-time will be different in many ways. A freelancer can come and go as they please, and they don’t need to be bothered with office events. With full-time, you are a part of the company and will be more involved in everyday activities and events. You’re more immersed in the company culture and expected to participate. You’ll definitely get to know your coworkers very well. One big minus of freelancing is that sometimes you don’t see people very often and you work alone. Of course, this all depends on the person and if they actually want to work with others or not.

 

Day two tomorrow! It’s hard to believe, but it’s full-time for me now.

Have you ever been self-employed and gone back to full-time? What were your reasons?

Short and Sweet Blog Carnival

Happy Friday! To kick it off here’s a short blog carnival!

Here’s some tips on saving gas. Everyone could use a bit of this!
Elizabeth Atwood presents 10 Tips For How To Save On Gas posted at rockabyeparents.com.

Make some money through YouTube! Didn’t realize you could do this actually.
Martin Poldma presents How to Earn Money Through YouTube: 7 Steps posted at Success and Personal Development Blog.

Here’s a positive story about being laid-off and being better off afterwards!
Mr. Utopia presents I was Laid Off and Lived to Tell posted at Personal Finance Utopia.