Negotiating for a raise can be scary—especially for women. Women are systematically paid less than men on average (though estimates vary, the Pew Research Center puts white women's income at 82 cents on the dollar, and Black and Hispanic women earn even less than that), but they tend to hesitate more when it comes to demanding a raise.
If you’re reluctant to ask for more money, a Facebook chatbot is here to help, as Mashable reports. The ad agency R/GA has created an automated Facebook chat service based on Cindy Gallop, a former advertising executive who now runs a sex-positive porn channel and advocates for women's equality, where her robot alter ego will give you advice on landing a pay raise. (The bot has nothing to do with Gallop’s business MakeLoveNotPorn, in case you were wondering. And while it’s designed for women in honor of Equal Pay Day, the career advice is applicable to anyone.)
You just need to open a chat window with Ask Cindy Gallop on Facebook, and the bot will start asking you for some information about your current job, experience level, and location. She’ll take that information and pull statistics on what the average salaries in your field and region are, so you know what the baseline salary you should be getting is.
The Cindy Gallop bot is somewhat responsive to the information you give it, but it does follow a script, and if you try to veer off, she probably won’t answer you. When I interrupted her to ask “When should I ask for a raise?” I didn’t get an answer—she just went on to the next question. The idea is that the message thread is part personal cheerleader—loaded with “you go girl” asides and the occasional GIF of Gallop herself holding up fistfuls of hard-earned money—and part script preparation tool. She will prompt you to tell her about a time when you went above and beyond at work, what your biggest accomplishment is, and why you deserve a raise. You may be talking to a computer, but it’s good practice for the actual arguments you should be making when you present your case for getting a higher salary.
It’s really more of a choose-your-own-adventure story than a conversation. Instead of replying to all of her messages, you can click on canned responses to questions like “what if I’m nervous?” or “what if the budget is set for the year?” You may not be able to ask your more personal or obscure questions, but you may discover helpful answers to questions you wouldn’t have thought to ask. Who knew that the best time to ask for a raise was Friday morning?
Just note, there’s plenty of controversy about wage gap statistics, including how much women’s choices in work or in taking time off to raise children play a role. And it's not like the only reason men and women are paid differently is because women don't ask for raises. In one 2016 study, Australian women were just as likely to ask for raises as men—but they were less likely to receive them when they did ask.
Still, if you never ask, you could be missing out on some serious money—so go ahead and let Cindy convince you to demand a bigger salary. You can message the bot here, and then set a meeting to ask your boss for that deserved pay raise. Tell Cindy when you want to ask for your raise, and she'll message you back to remind you on that day to go through with it.