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In Order to Negotiate Better, I Had to Unlearn 'L.A. Law'

Unlike on TV, getting what you want is all about clear and effective communication.

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Once upon a time, I was conditioned to believe that negotiating was a bitter conversation between two or more parties over a valuable possession. I learned this lesson after watching countless hours of the hit '80s drama, L.A. Law, where everyone appeared to be negotiating over everything with such emotion and anger.

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When I entered into the workplace, I quickly learned the difference between my expectation and the reality of self-advocacy. After accepting a job in a mid-sized boutique law firm in New York City, while grossly underpaid, I thought that if I worked hard for the first year, "someone" would notice my contribution to the firm and increase my salary  —  and I was wrong. Essentially, I was afraid of commencing a difficult conversation, which I thought would be contentious, so I continued to suffer under the mounting pressure of last hired, least paid and most qualified.

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