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Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Golden Question: Elizabeth Benacka

Elizabeth Benacka is the assistant professor of communication at Lake Forest College. Professor Benacka’s areas of study are rhetoric of humor, rhetorical theory and criticism, and feminist rhetoric. Professor Benacka recently published her book “Citizen Colbert: Humor’s Function in the Public Sphere”.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned the hard way and who could you have asked for help?


I received my first full-time job offer when I was 18 as a receptionist in law firm downtown Chicago. Being broke with no other means of support, I took that offer without negotiating for a higher salary. Over the next ten years, I earned consistent promotions, but it was really difficult to justify increasing my salary beyond a specific percentage of that initial base amount. Looking back, I should have sought out advice from my brother, who was establishing his career in a related field. I now encourage my students to try and negotiate that first job offer!