Your Human Capital: A Key Investment


Capital is simply an asset that yields an income. Human capital is our knowledge, creativity, skills, health, or value, and it can be separated from our financial assets.

For many of us, our income — the money we earn through working — is our biggest source of money, and we rely on that income to take care of ourselves, our families, and create the life that we want to have.

So human capital is a critical investment to maximize. One way to maximize your human capital is to continue to educate yourself and develop skills in your field so you can keep moving forward in your career.

Another important way to maximize your human capital is to ensure you are getting paid what you well deserve in your current position. As we know, this is a tricky area for women. Women are paid on average 78% compared to men, and struggle in the area of salary negotiations, either because they do not negotiate, or because they can be viewed negatively when they do.

In my classes with teenaged girls, we talk about salary negotiations, and we practice them in simulations. I explain that negotiating is something that you get better at with experience, because of the nuance involved. But I do share these following tips to begin the conversation. I hope you find these useful for the basis of an understanding of what you can do to help maximize your investment in yourself.

  1. Do your homework and practice
  • Know what you are willing to accept before you walk in the door
  • Know what you are worth
  • Keep track of what you have done well
  • Know the market for the job — what other similar positions are paying in your area
  1. Realize what it’s like on the other side of the table
  • The financial position of the company matters
  • Personality is a crucial characteristic
  • The company’s interest may not be aligned with yours because they need to manage costs
  • Explain how you can provide value
  • Articulate your strengths in the context of what the employer needs
  • Discuss your experience and how it brings value to the company
  • Detail potential advances you can make for the company

4.  Things to remember

  • If you don’t ask for a higher salary, then the answer is always no
  • Money can’t buy you happiness. Sometimes the job is worth it even for a lower salary

Some of this information was taken from

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