The MSNBC co-host of Morning Joe shares her advice for women working toward raises and looking to increase their confidence at work.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated September 21, 2018

If you’re struggling to be paid what your experience and accomplishments make you worth at work, you’re not alone—women across the country, at all ages and stages of their careers, are right there with you. Mika Brzezinski has been there, too.

The Morning Joe co-host and author of the revised and re-released Know Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth (From $15; had to negotiate for pay comparable to that of her co-host, Joe Scarborough—and ever since, she’s been helping other women get paid what they’re worth, too.

We spoke with Brzezinski ahead of “Get That Raise,” an event hosted by personal finance company SoFi to celebrate the launch of an interactive tool that can help professionals verbalize their career accomplishments, where she spoke with SoFi VP of Membership Libby Leffler on how young professionals can know and claim their value in the workplace. During our conversation, Brzezinski talked about how women can begin to understand their worth, what getting a raise can do for your work performance, and more.

Hagop Kalaidjian/ for SoFi

No matter what your job is, taking it seriously and working hard is key, says Brzezinski. “When you’re starting your career, all you’ve got to do is bring as much to the table as you can,” says Brzezinski. “It doesn’t have to be the most important stuff, but the stuff you do, you’ve got to do really well.”

Eventually, this documentation will make it easier for you to demonstrate your worth when it comes time for a raise, promotion, or another opportunity. And don’t be afraid of failures; instead, “tabulate why they happened and make those failures make you stronger instead of personally devastated,” says Brezezinski.

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Don’t apologize for missing work because you need to leave work early or miss a meeting for a family obligation. “Everybody in their life, male or female, is going to have events that put a drag on their productivity,” says Brzezinski. “The key to balancing these events is to return to the office with clear eyes and renewed focus.”

Once you’ve put in the work and tracked your accomplishments, it’s time to internalize what you’ve put on paper. Reject the impulse to downplay your achievements, and own your success. Look back at your achievements (all carefully recorded, of course) with clear eyes: Have you helped your company succeed in some way? Have your efforts helped to increase revenue or promote growth? Have you or your organization received an award for something you had a major role in?

By looking at your successes (and the failures you have learned from), you can begin to understand your value in an objective sense—the same objective understanding you want to take to your boss when you ask for that raise.

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Knowing your worth is only part of the equation; the next step is to effectively communicate that worth to the people who are in a position to promote you, and to use it as evidence (see #3) that you have earned a raise, a promotion, or another great opportunity.

Use the recognition of your hard work and value to get even better at your job; you’ll be proving your worth for another raise—or a new opportunity, or increased access to executives—soon enough. “When I rectified my pay situation at MSNBC, the minute I got it, I got even better,” Brzezinski says. “I was glowing on the air, because I deserved the money I had earned, and it was finally my goal coming together.”

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