a hand up

I’ve started a new job recently, one where I was asked how much I wanted to be paid. And, while I’ve been consistently employed making decent money, I really have to learn to ask for more.
Talking it over with my ladyfriend a couple nights ago, I realized that it might be another Canadian/American thing. Although she was certifiably bat-shit-crazy on many other fronts, one past girlfriend of mine was convinced of it; Canadians -especially in America- habitually refuse to stick a hand out and ask to be shown the money.
I suppose it’s just another kind of work ethic: I’ve somehow had it ingrained in my thinking that one advances in the workplace by working hard, and calmly, quietly asserting one’s skills. Of my last five employment positions, two have yielded small unsolicited raises after some period of hard work.
I’m learning that in much of the world, this is just not how one advances. Advancement seems to go to the person who solicits it, to those who advertise, rather than demonstrate, their skills. It’s a sorely American lesson for this Canadian. While I’m still disinclined to “renegotiate” the wage I’m now earning (who knows! maybe perhaps another unsolicited raise is in the works!), I’ll definitely be giving myself another 20% “raise” the next time somebody asks me to name my price.


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