On July 1st, 2008, Roxana Popescu decided to start asking for things and blog her adventure on The Daily Asker.
For one year she asked for something different every day. During her
365 days of asking, Popescu inquired or requested “perks, discounts,
upgrades, 2 for 1, 3 for 2, a better restaurant seat, application of an
expired 20 percent coupon, salary boost, access to discretionary funds,
lower insurance rate.”

The point? “To simplify [her] life and boost [her] financial
situation by asking”. She hoped that by becoming more comfortable with
the act of asking, over time she would be more able to “identify
opportunities, identify [her] needs and desires, develop strategies,
maximize savings and earnings.”

Popescu’s motivations stemmed from reading Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s book Women don’t ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide.
The book “identifies the dramatic difference between men and women in
their propensity to negotiate for what they want.” The idea was
discovered when Babcock, the then director of the Ph.D. program at
Carnegie Mellon, realized that her “male graduate students asked for all
sorts of things—travel money to go to conferences, exemptions from
course requirements, opportunities to teach courses of their own—that
the female students rarely asked for.”

Recognizing that men in her program were more willing to ask than
their female counterparts, she began to investigate whether “female
students were missing out on a lot of resources and opportunities from
which the men were benefiting, and from which they would reap ongoing
benefits later on in their careers”, simply because the men were asking
and the women weren’t.

Babcock and Laschever reveal some interesting statistics on their
website. The authors state that “[b]y not negotiating a first salary,
an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are
more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary.”
They quote one “study that calculated that women who consistently
negotiate their salary increases earn at least $1 million more during
their careers than women who don’t.”

Apparently it pays to learn the delicate craft of negotiation.
Roxana Popescu’s (aka The Daily Asker) quest to become an efficient
asker/negotiator certainly paid off during her yearlong adventure. She
became comfortable asking, however her blog seems to suggest a caveat.
Asking, for Popescu, was okay as long as she had nothing to lose.
Asking when there’s something at stake is certainly more difficult.
That’s not to suggest you don’t ask, but if you’re risking something,
like a job, you’ll want to be prepared and practiced.

On her blog, Popescu lists the 88 things she discovered on her asking
quest. While admitting that negotiating salary is difficult, especially
during a recession, it is always worth it, and she does offer a
valuable piece of advice.

Plan whom you’re going to ask for a raise, and how you’re going to
ask. The ‘who’ may be obvious, but the ‘how’ might require further
investigation and research. Always know your market value, and practice
your approach.

Popescu also discovered that contrary to the findings of Why Women Don’t Ask, some women are amazing askers, and some men are not.

Regardless of gender, the lesson I learned while reading The Daily
Asker is that asking is essential. Popsecu’s approach is an interesting
one, and a great way to brush up negotiating skills. It always pays to

What do you think? Ready to start negotiating a salary increase?