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Negotiating salary and benefits as a designer: An unorthodox guide

Negotiating salary and benefits as a designer: An unorthodox guide

Salary and anything related to money is a sensitive topic for most people.

Especially in tech and UX design, where most of us are in it for the money, we generally feel like shit if we’re not earning the same, or more than your next door neighbour.

When I told my parents I was going to be a designer, they looked at me in horror and thought, “Oh no, our daughter is going to end up broke.”.

Fast forward to today, one of my cousins said that she wanted to transition to be a UX designer, and the whole family goes ‘Oooo’ at the current financial prospects of this career path.

The mirrored reactions only reflect the difference in eras and how far design has come as an industry.

I’ve been made to feel terrible for earning more than others, and made to feel worse when I found out I earned less than some others.

It’s completely an ego thing at this point. And I’m going to talk to you about how money works in the industry, with a lot of relevant personal stories.

So, let’s talk money. Specifically design money.

My boyfriend, who doesn’t work in tech nor design, mocks our privileged, money-mongering mindset that surrounds each and every tech professional today.

“You guys care way too much about money,” said he. “And the worst part is that most of you don’t even deserve it.”

I took offense to that initially, but realised the same second that he was totally right. The remains of tech and digital design today is the same hollow you see in consultancy businesses; echoes of arrogance, excess, and frivolous attitudes that fill our consumerist lives.

But the economy has to go on. And so the tech and digital design industry has pretty much made its stance against frivolousness through layoffs, compensation declines, and a stronger notion.

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