How to ask for a pay rise… and get one!

I’ve been keeping a little secret, sublime seekers. While it’s true that I LOVE fashion and beauty and shopping and sharing the best of those finds with you, fashion and beauty and shopping doesn’t quite pay the bills (in fact they kinda create some bills of their own… errrr). In the rest of my life, I pay the bills by working in the business of people. For a long time I’ve been passionate about the difference people can make to organisational success and I get a lot of enjoyment from helping businesses get that relationship right to create the best environment for people and the best results for the business.

Now the last time I shared a secret with you guys, it was that I’m a feminist. That is to say I believe in equality for women (not burning my bra), I believe women have it pretty good in Australia (compared to other parts of the world), I believe there’s still some disparity in workplaces and I don’t believe that it’s anyone or any one group of people’s (i.e. men’s) fault.

Where’s this going?

Good question. I am constantly amazed by the incredible women in my life and our country, women who are intelligent, witty, wise, thoughtful and driven. And I know that description fits many of you that visit here on this website.


A sublime-seeking wonderwomen, just like you!

My work and study bring me in contact with a bunch of info and insights that might be helpful in assisting you to get where you’re going (and where you deserve to be!) in your lives.

If I could choose one thing to do on this blog, I’d love it to be that – to share some delightful discoveries with you bright, driven, lovely-things, to help you to be the most fabulous version of yourselves.

Perhaps it’s a new lippy that’ll save you reapplying 7 times in a day, perhaps its some tips on how to rock a new trend and feel confident doing it, perhaps it’s a sale to save some of your hard earned pennies, or perhaps (like today!) it’s a suggestion on how to get where you’re going in your career.

A quick disclaimer

While I work in the business of people, the info I’m sharing here is not specifically based on my experience within any particular organisation, but rather informed by study and reading and anecdotally coming to understand what’s happening in workplaces through networks and industry and stufffff. You know.

Lets talk turkey!

Lets! Studies have repeatedly shown that women in Australia are paid, on average, less than men who they perform the same job. It doesn’t happen everywhere, there are (of course) exceptions, great progress has been made etc etc but on average, the gap (albeit a shrinking one) continues to exist.

Mind the Gap

The Gap – yep, it’s still there. Can’t we get someone in to fix this thing?!

Data also shows us that women are typically less likely to ask for a pay rise than men! What’s that about? I have several ideas, none of which matter, because we should just get to the business of HOW to ask for a pay rise! Sublime seekers, I give you four (very detailed) steps to ask for a pay rise and get one!

1. It’s a matter of time 

For a bunch of reasons, timing matters!

  • Know your company’s remuneration cycle. There’s very little point asking for a pay rise at Christmas, if salary reviews are done in June. And truth be told, there’s not much point asking for a pay rise in June if salary reviews are done in June, because they’ve likely be budgeted for, and discussed, well prior. Depending on the size of the company, expect the behind-the-scenes salary decision making to start up to three months prior to you receiving a letter saying it’s time to shout yourself some Louboutins. If you’re not sure of your company’s process, ask your manager or have a poke around for a policy, it’s usually outlined somewhere. Note that in those policies, some companies have strict rules about pay rises outside of the designated time (i.e. they don’t do them).  The good news is, that within lots of businesses who make salary adjustments at end of financial year, now is a pretty good time to be having a discussion.
  • If you’ve been with the company or in your current role less than 12 months, or have had a reasonable/significant pay rise within the last 12 months, it might pay (pun!) to wait, rather than ask again just yet. You don’t want to appear money-hungry, or impatient. Read your situation.
  • Sometimes you need to read the mood too. If you’ve just contributed to a significant success, using that as a catalyst to have the discussion can be very smart indeed.
  • Very important to note: do NOT ambush your boss! Let your manager know you’d like to make a time to have a chat with them. If you’re nervous about saying you want to talk about salary, let them know you’d like to discuss “growth and opportunities”.

2. Make it easy for them to say yes AKA be prepared!

It pays (pun!) to demonstrate you’re serious about your agenda. Put together some succinct info to send to your manager before your meeting or take along to talk through at your meeting. It might include the following:

  • quantitative evidence of the impact you’ve had i.e. increased sales/revenue/results/results compared to budget/savings – the more translatable to $, the better
  • written feedback/praise from customers or others within the business
  • tasks you’re completing outside your position description (big ticket items only)
  • changes/achievements that have occurred since your last review. Note: if you are reminding your manager of an achievement they’re aware of, do so modestly. You do not want to oversell something they already know.
  • consider including a view to the future as well. Typically, bonuses are paid for a job well done, pay rises are given for a permanent change…  what are you able to continue to deliver rather that makes giving you a permanent pay rise worthwhile?
  • some people will suggest including market salary data, I’m not one of them. A well-crafted “I am valuable to this company” argument is much harder to rebut than the “you’re not paying me correctly” argument. You were happy to accept the job at a certain level, turning around and saying it’s no longer enough isn’t a smart play. It also makes it easy for business to say “well go there, then”. Even if you feel you’re underpaid for what you do, there’s a better way to state your case.

Ultimately, the upshot is this: your company will not pay you more for doing your existing job. You need to be able to demonstrate the ways you do more… and are therefore worth more.

It’s important to put your case in writing. Your manager likely won’t have the final decision on adjusting your pay. Arm your boss with the evidence they need to state your case further up the chain.

3. Influence widely. 

It is common within organisations to have a moderation process during salary review time. This helps ensure that the generous manager with average performing staff doesn’t give bigger increases than the budget-conscious manager with high performing staff. Managers have an open discussion about the comparative performance of their people, in some organisations they will even rank them. Obviously, it pays to have more than one person in the room singing your praises!

"Andrea? I've never heard of Andrea!" will not lead to a pay rise.

“Andrea? I’ve never heard of Andrea!” in moderation will not lead to a Chanel-sized pay rise.

If you’re asking for a pay rise outside salary review time, there will still be other stakeholders involved in the decision. Engage outside your area.

4. Be prepared to hear no… and capitalise on it

We won’t all get a yes, every time. But a “no” now, isn’t necessarily bad, in fact it can often be the groundwork you need to get a “yes” next time.

The saying, ‘there’s no harm in asking’ is only true if you handle the answer well… regardless of what it is.

If you get a “we agree you’re worth more, but can’t increase your salary right now…” answer you can thank your manager for their consideration and either seek permission to revisit the topic in 3-6 months when the climate is better or ask them if they’d consider an alternative arrangement. This might include company support of training/professional development, exposure/opportunity in another part of the business, flexible working arrangements, the promise of a half-yearly pay review etc. Think broadly and be ready to discuss this before you go in.

If you get a “you’re not ready yet…” answer

  • be gracious
  • ask for feedback, “what can I do differently?” “what would you need to see from me to justify an increase?”
  • make a plan, in writing. Agree with your manager on the development required, add it to your development plan (make one if you don’t have one) and revisit it regularly with your manager to seek their feedback and ensure you’re on track

Remember that the person telling you ‘no’ is likely apprehensive! Ensuring the conversation goes positively (regardless of the answer) can leave a lasting impression!

When you get that “yes”…

  • crack the champers baby cakes! We’re going to the shops!

PinkChampagne pic by

Some Dos and Don’ts


  • practice your conversations first, out loud.
  • revisit the Finds to make you feel BRAVE post if you’re feeling nervy
  • dress for the job you want! This is most certainly a hair-brushing occasion!


  • get emotional. I believe there are some occasions it’s ok to cry at work. This is absolutely not one of them. Practice until you’re not emotional about it.
  • bring up your colleagues pay. EVER. Pulling out the “I know what <colleague> gets paid” booby trap is bound to put your employer on the defensive.
  • discuss your personal reasons for wanting or needing a pay rise. The reasons to give you a pay rise are related to your output at work only, not your personal life.
  • use another job as leverage. Unless you’re really prepared to walk if your current employer says no. Even then, kinda crap way to leave. You might not burn your bridge but you’ll probably singe it.

(NB – I’ve tried at least half of these don’ts! We live and learn baby, live and learn.)

Things you can do now to set yourself up for a pay rise in the future

Even if it’s not the right time to ask for a pay rise, it IS the right time to lay the ground work!

Do this now:

  • indicate your desire to grow and perform well in your company
  • seek clarity around the expectations of you. Ideally, ask what exceeding those expectations would look like, too.
  • make a plan with your manager to grow your experience and deliver. Stick to the plan, revisit the plan with your manager regularly.
  • if something doesn’t go well at work, acknowledge it with your manager, share your learnings/insights and move on
  • if you’re new to a role, be careful about too aggressively indicating your desire to take ‘the next step’… some workplace cultures love this, but others don’t. If your culture is the latter, talk in terms of your desire to ‘learn and contribute as much as possible’.

Take a crack at it, sublime seekers. If you play it smart, you’ll end up with a pay rise, or closer to a pay rise. Money isn’t everything and won’t make you happy at work, but it sure does help you to buy shiny things, and shiny things are ALWAYS a good idea.


Have you asked for a pay rise and got one? What are your tips? How do you feel about this sort of post on Sublime Finds? I’d love to hear your thoughts below! 

Wonderful Workwear: The (non black!) Suit Edition

Ever feel like you need an uber polished corporate look but don’t want to succumb to the black suit? Ever astonished by the complete absence of ladylike workwear? Want to feel like you look the part in business attire but don’t want to sacrifice your sense of style or your femininity?

I HEAR YOU, sublime seekers! Over the next few weeks we’re going to feature a collection of gorgeous, feminine pieces that won’t look out of place in the office. Finds to make you feel fabulous and functional! Today… I give you the black-suit-alternative edition!

Now don’t be gettin’ me wrong, there is a place in every corporate dame’s wardrobe for a black suit. But there are occasions that call for a not-so-black suit too, and those can be harder to find. Not today! I have tirelessly scoured the interwebs for options and behold! TWENTY of the most fabulous matchy-matchy suits to make you feel polished and ready for action!

50 Shades of Grey
You might argue that grey isn’t particularly feminine and you might be right. But it is a great staple to take you through all seasons, and the right tailoring and accessorising can leave you with a lovely ladylike look!

Events Sadie Stitch Dress Events Sadie Stitch Jacket
Events: Saddle Stitch Dress $179.95; Jacket $179.95

Madeline Micro Diamond Jacket Madeline Micro Diamond Skirt Madeline Micro Diamond Pant
Portmans Madeline Micro Diamond Jacket $99.95; Skirt $79.95; Pant $89.95 or three pieces for $199

Forcast Elise Suit Jacket Forcast Elise Suit Skirt Forcast Elise Suit Pant
Forcast Elise Suit Jacket $89.95; Skirt $49.95; Pants $69.95

Alannah Hill Lets Fall in Love Jacket Alannah Hill Lets Fall in Love Skirt Alannah Hill Lets Fall in Love Pant
Alannah Hill: Let’s Fall in Love Jacket $289; Skirt $169; and Pant $189

Saba Claire JacketSaba Claire Pant
Saba Claire Jacket $199; Pant $159.20

JCrew Sidney Jacket in Super 120s JCrew Hutton Trouser in Super 120s
J.Crew Super 120s in Heather Grey, Sidney Jacket $361.90; Hutton Trousers $245.10

Terrific Tweed
Channel Chanel with these classics! Entirely suitable for ladies who lunch or modernise your look by teaming your tweed jacket with  a pair of jeans and pumps on non-work days. At work, you’ll look classy and polished!

Jigsaw Dash Tweed Dress Jigsaw Dash Tweed Skirt Jigsaw Dash Tweed Jacket
Jigsaw Dash Tweed Dress $329; Skirt $199; Jacket $379

Carla Zampatti Porceline and Sky Tweed Skirt Carla Zampatti Porceline and Sky Tweed Jacket
Carla Zampatti Porcelain & Sky Tweed Skirt $399; Jacket $789

Kay Unger New York Cutaway Hem Jacket and Sleeveless Lace Top Sheath Dress
Kay Unger New York  Cutaway Hem 3/4-Sleeve Jacket $338.50; Sleeveless Lace Top Sheath Dress $461.10

Ann Taylor Tweed Jacket Ann Taylor Tweed Skirt
Ann Taylor Zip Front Tweed Jacket $271.60;  Tweed Pencil Skirt $135.10

Albert Nipon Shimmery Tweed Skirt Suit
Albert Nippon Shimmery Tweed Skirt Suit $461.10

Powerful Pinks & Purples
Are you game? Try these for a bold and on-trend look!

Farage Mia Cotton Trousers Fuchsia Farage Lydie Jacket Fuchsia
Farage Mia Trouser $188; Lydie Jacket $342

Neiman Marcus Albert Nipon Two-Piece Knit Skirt Suit, Fuchsia
Albert Nipon Two Piece Knit Skirt Suit $464.60

Ted Backer Thalea Lavanta Suit Jacket Ted Baker Thaleat Lavanta Trousers Ted Baker Thaleat Lavanta Skirt Ted Baker Thaleat Lavanta Dress
Ted Baker Thaleat Lavanta Suit Jacket £215.00; Pant £125; Skirt £119; Dress £165

Best of the Blues
Can’t go wrong with these modern twists!

Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Jacket Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Pencil Skirt
Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Jacket $495; Pencil Skirt $275

Target City Dressing Long Line Blazer Target City Dressing Black Spliced Pencil Skirt
Target City Dressing Long Line Blazer $69; Black Spliced Pencil Skirt $49

Review Hanalisa Jacket Review Hanalisa Pant Review Hanalisa Dress
Review Hanalisa Jacket $189; Pant $109; Dress $179

Herringbone Lydia Twill Herringbone Lydia Twill Skirt Herringbone Lydia Twill Pants
Herringbone Lydia Twill Jacket $529; Skirt $189; Pant $269

Ted Baker Jacket Ted Baker Pant
Ted Baker Zivia Peplum Jacket £239.00; Zaviat Tailored Trouser $£139.00

Pretty Patterns
For the bravest among you, rock a pattern-on-pattern option like this one! With a confident walk and a big smile, you’ll pull it off! 

Charlie Brown Final Check Pant Charlie Brown Final Check Blazer
Charlie Brown Be Heard Final Check Pants $249; Fan Club Final Check Blazer $349

A Suit Styling Tip: you’ll rarely be lucky enough to have a suit fit perfectly off the rack. If you’re going to invest in an item to keep through many seasons, spend the extra money at the tailor to have it adjusted to be perfect for you.

Of course, corporate dressing for women is not limited to the suit by any means! And not every corporate culture is right for suits either. But if yours is, consider investing in a non-black option and rock a little colour in your world!


How do you feel about suits for work? What colour suit would you love in your wardrobe? 

Finds to help you feel BRAVE.

What was the last thing that made you feel uber nervous? Perhaps it was giving a presentation or a speech? Maybe it was asking for a pay rise? It could have been an exam or a high-pressure work situation? Perhaps it was a job interview, making an offer on a house or ending a relationship you knew wasn’t working? We each find different things nerve-wracking, but I reckon the sensation of squishy-insides is the same the world over. 

I had a one of my own last week. In the days prior my belly would fill with butterflies whenever I thought about it. I was dreaming about it at night then waking up thinking about it in the morning (or at 3am). Nervy nervousness all around! But! There’s only so long one can feel nervous before one must suck it up and get it done. I rolled out my kit of things that help me to feel brave, had the conversation… and got the result I wanted! Change is on the horizon, sublime seekers! But in the mean time, I’m sharing my bravery-inducing finds with you!

1. Rescue Remedy

Bach’s 38 flower remedies have been around for more than 80 years, each derived from wildflower to act as a safe, natural way to restore balance between mind and body and cast out negative emotions. Rescue Remedy contains 5 of their flower remedies which help you manage nerves or shock and get you focused on the task at hand. Now on an ordinary day I’d scoff at someone trying to sell me wildflowers to sort out my problems, but I was put onto Rescue Remedy about 8 years ago and now I won’t leave the house without it. Ever. Perhaps it’s the magical wildflowers, perhaps the effect is psychosomatic… whatever the case, it makes a difference. I’m a fan of the spray, a quick squirt (or four, depending on the circumstances) on the tongue (or under, if things are curly) is like a little shot of courage. There are also drops and lollies and apparently it can work wonders with your pets too!

Rescue Remedy Spray Rescue Remedy Pastilles Rescue Remedy Drops

1. Rescue Remedy Spray $23.99 2. Rescue Remedy Pastilles $9.69 3. Rescue Remedy Drops $23.99 all from the Chemist Warehouse (or your local Chemist, they’re stocked widely).

2. Red Underwear and/or lipstick 

In a team pep-talk prior to my nerve-inducing conversation, VM gave me this advice “wear red underwear, it’s supposed to make you feel more powerful!” I attempted to take her advice and discovered my red underwear is all Christmas-themed! Decided that may hinder rather than help (does anyone else have a collection of Christmas themed clothing/underwear? Such is my intense love of Christmas!). But I looked into this suggestion and as normal, VM is onto it. Psychologically, red is a warm and positive colour that exudes strength and power and and promotes ambition and leadership!

L’Oreal have also revealed that when surveyed on whether or not red lipstick makes women more confident, a whopping 75% answered yes! A bold lip goes a long way towards making you feel like you’ve claimed your place in the world!

Either way, you’re onto a winner with red. Hit it up:

 Pleasure State VIP Eternelle Balcony Bra Bras N Things Smooth Comfort Brief Lady Rider Red Suspender Set Honey Birdette - Sublime Finds

1. Pleasure State VIP “Eternelle” Balcony Bra at Myer $79.95; 2. Smooth Comfort Boyleg by Bras N Things $19.99; 3. Lady Rider Red Suspender Set by Honey Birdette (ain’t nobody messing with this b*tch!) $174.95

And for lips – there’s a squillion options, here are some classics:

MAC Russian Red Rouge Coco Gabrielle

1. MAC Russian Red $36; 2. Chanel Rouge Coco Gabrielle (Channel the Chanel goddess herself!) $45 at your closest Chanel counter.

3. A (bloody good) plan

This particular part of the five-step-plan is a little harder to buy, but could be the cornerstone to success!

If your nerves are the result of an impending decision, a good old fashioned pro’s and con’s list can be a major help. If you’re at a fork in the road, I find jotting down each likely scenario helpful to clarify my options.

If my butterfly-inducing event involves me needing to speak, I never go at it without writing out exactly what I want to say, word for word. Even if I don’t refer to the page once during my actual conversation/speech, just the act of writing out what I want to say helps cement the words in my head. AND has the added benefit of saving you in a stage-fright scenario. Part 2 of this is finding a good friend to practice with and give you some feedback. I ran my words past three loved ones before the real deal last week, tweaking things a little each time. It made a HUGE difference!

4. A little bit of leopard print

I don’t have any science to back this one up, but I know if I’ve got a peep of leopard print showing it feels like a little bit of ROAR; confident without taking myself too seriously! I bought the Kate Spade Rissa dress in November and decided in the change room that it’d be a dress I’d wear on occasions when I need to get shizzle done. Check out this chick in my dress, she’s gonna get what she wants, right?

Kate Spade Rissa Dress - Leopard Print - Sublime Finds

Some other leopard print finds that you might work into your all-conquering outfit:

Seed Leopard Spot Scarf - Sublime Finds Witchery Adrianna Point Flats - Clothes to feel brave in - Sublime Finds Seed Ocelot Peak Cap - Sublime Finds Mimco Studio Casablanca Wrist - Sublime Finds Mimco Studio Casablanca Wrist Inscription - Sublime FindsAnimal Jacquard Pencil Skirt by Cue - Sublime Finds

1. Leopard Spot Scarf by Seed Heritage $49.95; 2. Adrianna Point Flats by Witchery $129.95; 3. Ocelot Peak Cap by Seed Heritage $39.95; 4 & 5. Studio Wrist by Mimco (how gorgeous is the inscription on the inside of the crystal!? This is going on my birthday wish list!) $99.95; 6. Animal Jacquard Pencil Skirt by Cue (and a midi skirt at that! So hot right now!) $189

If leopard print ain’t your thang, choose the outfit that YOU feel confident in. Don’t muck around here, there’s nothing worse that feeling like you look like a dingus when you need to so something important.

5. A YES YOU CAN song!

I’m a huge fan of a big power ballad to get fired up! Alicia Keys’ ‘Superwoman’ is my song of choice, I have and will listen to it on repeat before my moment in the spotlight. 4 minutes of I! Am! Superrrr! Wooooman!

Errr… after watching this and reading the lyrics a little more closely, I suspect I’m not quite the ‘superwoman’ that Alicia had in mind when writing the song … next time I might borrow one of AW’s favourites; Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire!
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!
Louder, louder than a lion!

Yeah yeah! You can do it! Either track will set you back $2.19 in the Aussie iTunes store.  (I’d love to hear if you’ve got a YES YOU CAN song and what it is, tell me in the comments below!)

That’s a wrap sublime seekers, go forth and summon your most courageous self to achieve your dreeeams!


What are your tips to make yourself feel brave? Do you have a go-to power ballad? Share your secrets with your fellow sublime seekers below! 

A Sublime Find for Womankind

It’s International Women’s Day on March 8 and also time for a little confession, sublime seekers: I am a feminist! *Cringe*, right? There’s a stigma about the word that makes you think I’m likely to a) burn my bra b) go picket for equal pay or c) become a fierce man-hater. But I’m not going to do anything of those things… I think my bras are awesome (and expensive… err), I’m paid pretty well for what I do (*gasp*) and I like boys so much I married one.

Jamila Rizvi of Mamamia wrote an article in 2012 that really got me thinking about the word ‘feminist’. I’m a feminist because I believe in equality. I also believe things are pretty bloody good for women in Australia. I believe that women do not always have the same opportunities that men enjoy in many of our workplaces. And I believe it’s not men’s ‘fault’. Nor is it women’s.

I share this view with Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Office of Facebook and the author of the book ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’. I read Lean In in the middle of last year and was surprised by the profound affect it had on me… so much so that I’m calling it a Sublime Find!

Lean In Book - Sublime FInds

What’s this book all about?

Sheryl does several things in the book. She talks about the gap between men and women at work and she explains why the gap is there (after reading the book I studied gender diversity as part of my Master’s degree and was convinced of Sheryl’s genius summation of the issues around gender equality). She talks about women and likeability as well as women’s relationship with other women in the workplace (including this little gem of a quote; “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”). She takes it one step further though, and tells us what we can do on a personal level to start creating change. I’ll give you a hint: it involves letting your man-friend hang out the washing.

But the best thing that Sheryl does in Lean In is an incredible call-to-action, which starts in the very first chapter where she asks this question:

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

She says this question is posted on the walls of Facebook’s offices and goes on to share that her answer was write Lean In. I couldn’t help but ask myself the same question.  My own answer was confronting (because I AM afraid, Sheryl, I am positively scaredy-cat-ish) but ultimately led me down the path of starting this blog and I expect will carry me on towards several other new and exciting/terrifying experiences.

Sheryl talks about learning to ‘sit at the table’ and more actively insert yourself into the field of vision. She talks about asking for what you want, and how to do it. She talks about crying at work, about finding a way to be comfortably feminine in a male-dominated field and about being realistic about balancing work and family. She advises ‘don’t leave before you leave’ by mentally veering away from professional experiences for reasons outside of work and she talks about the importance of leaning in to opportunity.

And this is the bit of the book that resonated most with me. I believe wholeheartedly in being actively involved in all parts of life, not a bystander. I think life can be richer, more interesting and ultimately more rewarding when you take control of a situation rather than letting it happen to you. I think you stand to achieve more when you take time to consider what you want, then make it happen. I don’t think this call to action is just for women who work, I think it’s for all women, all people. Lean in to your life. It is simply too short to have it pass you by.

I want to Lean In! Where can I get the book?

You’ll find it at all major book retailers (online or instore), you should pick up a copy for around $30. I bought my copy on the kindle e-store to read on my iPad for just under $10. After reading the book, I bought 4 copies for the Glamazons (my closest girlyfriends), I know I’ll share it with others too (boys and girls) and of course, sublime-seekers, I want to make sure you’re all over it a well!

At 200-odd pages, it’s not a long read and Sheryl’s style is engaging and easy to follow. Even if it’s not the sort of thing you’d usually read (especially if it’s not the sort of thing you’d usually read!) I’d recommend giving it a go. It might just change your life, like it did mine!


Have you read Lean In? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Tell us below!