Getting that pay rise you deserve. Lots of “F” but hold the “J”. 

Feisty, fabulous (but fictional) Clare Underwood from immensely popular House of Cards is someone that I  adore. Her real life alter ego Robyn Wright elevated herself to join the Michelle Redfern most admired feisty women list, which is a fictional but aspirational list which I’m sure people must be dying to get on! When I read this article about Wrights salary negotiation, she claimed her rightful place.  Wright demanded salary parity given her performance across a number of KPI’s (viewer popularity being the key one)  was equivalent or better than her screen colleague Kevin Spacey. Spacey was recieving $80K more (per episode I presume) than Wright.

Of course I was compelled to blog about it! The article not only highlighted Wrights feistiness (pay me the same as Kevin or I go public) but by role modelling courageous, feisty behaviour, and going public anyway, she made it OK or more “normal” for women to ask for a pay rise or salary parity. If you want to know my views on normalising behaviour,  read my previous blog on the “new normal“. 

I like this piece because it   provides some practical tips for women to use. This includes eliminating the dreaded “J” word from our vocabulary. JUST

Why am I so hot to trot on “Just”? In Playing Big, author Tara Mohr explains about communicating with power and eliminating “shrinkers” from our language. Shrinkers are diminishing words such as….just….actuallykind ofsorry, but….and I could go on. The impact on women’s credibility can be devastating. Particularly when negotiating salary with hierarchically more senior men! 

Another great wake up call about language habits comes from  Australian businesswoman Amanda Blesing, who none too gently says “own that shit” when you’ve got a seat at the big table. Her blog points out the unconscious habits that many of us have formed over a lifetime. Time to stop! Irrespective of what table you’re sitting at. Awareness creates change, so try listening to yourself. Every email you write, each meeting you’re in today, focus on those shrinkers. 

Me? I’m on a lifelong journey of feistiness. So give me a great big serve of “F”…feisty, fierce, fabulous but hold the “j” thanks.


Michelle founded Thrive Consulting & Coaching in 2016 to provide a safe, friendly environment to guide women who aspire to live a life well lived. Whether you are a leader, entrepreneur, founder or business owner, we will be your guide as you navigate the great journey of life and work.

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