Knowing what you’re worth is an age old question. On the one hand you don’t want to over price yourself that you don’t deliver on what a company is willing to pay you; but on the other hand you don’t want to undervalue yourself! So what is the right answer here? As you might have guessed knowing your worth is a bit of a loaded question. It’s super important to realize that there is no correct answer. There is no numerical miracle that will make the value of your time worth it if you are doing something that you simply don’t like doing. In today’s blog we’re going to discuss how to determine how much you are worth, what your salary expectations should be in different parts of your career, and why you might put a higher price tag on your time doing things you don’t like doing:
Experience Talks – When you’re coming out of college and might not have experience, it is without a doubt really easy to undervalue yourself. For some, they might look at their college debt and look at how much a company is willing to pay them, and make their best educated decision if an offer sounds fair. Yet, what if I told you that calculating your worth in the workplace is a tad more complicated than that? When coming out of college and having debt on our tails we seem to only look at the bottom line and forget the opportunity. The opportunity and how fast we grow in a company is extremely important to our worth and should be taken into consideration. It’s super important to realize there is a glass ceiling in many organizations; a point that you reach and can no longer grow both financially and personally. When coming out of college employers are going to take into consideration that you don’t have any “experience.” However, it is your job to convey to them that you do! Every deadline, every exam, and every achievement has been an experience and you need to convey to employers the skills you have developed from the environment you have been in for the past 20 years. Keep in mind that experience is nothing more than a set of skills you have set out to acquire. When meeting with a potential employer it’s important to outline those developed skills and show an eagerness and willingness to learn more!
Experience Talks…Again – What I’ve come to find in my experience, is even if you work at a company for 5 years and want to shift a subtle direction in your career, your experience talks and weighs much more. Unlike having no “experience” coming out of college, you now have the 2-5 years experience that the market craves. You’ll find yourself being able to qualify for more positions, and this is where you can start to become competitive and really think how much your time is worth. You’ve created leverage and have proven experience of why you are an effective linchpin and why any company would be lucky to have you. With that said when coming up with an offer for salary it’s extremely important to be reasonable. What I’m saying is that if the company is absorbing all your benefits, plus offering great work-life balance, etc.. it’s important to show the company how much you appreciate that. Remember you’re there to create value not milk them for everything their worth. As you grow in your career you’re going to have more opportunities than ever before. The skills that were new to you coming out of college are going to be greatly honed now; and it’s because of those skills that you will be able to really dive in deep earning not just more money but more fulfillment as well. However fulfillment can only happen if you are doing something that excites you! Which brings up my last point:
What’s The Number – What interests me the most is how we value our time. The way I look at it, is that if you feel you should constantly be getting paid more there is a really good chance you might not like what you are doing or it might not be a challenging fit for you. It’s so important to keep in mind the goal is to be challenged, not stressed. When we feel challenged we feel good about our work and environment. When we feel stressed we assume feelings of being unappreciated or as the saying goes “I don’t get paid enough to do this.” When putting a dollar value on our time and calculating our worth I think there is a big piece that we are missing: It depends on what we are doing! If someone paid me $5.00 to sit on the couch and watch TV that would be amazing! But yet if someone is willing to pay me 30k to sit in an office with no windows and make cold calls all day to people who are difficult on the other end of the line, it might be a different story. See what I’m getting at? Your worth isn’t a magical number, it’s the price tag you put on your time. Find meaningful work, and you’ll see the price tag for your time won’t matter as much.
Conclusion – As the quote that opens this blog reads “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” These words couldn’t be truer. When we come up with our worth I have a firm belief it isn’t about money as much as we expect; its the price we put on our time when we do things we don’t want to do. As we progress in our careers it’s so important to take a step back and evaluate not only where we are financially but where we are on a level of happiness. What are your thoughts? How do you value and put a price tag on your time? Let us know in the comments below!