What You’re Worth

May 28, 2012 1 comment

How much is my time worth?  Most people don’t ask themselves that question enough, but more importantly, most people only equate “worth” to “how much money” they’re making.  Doesn’t work like that.

For the past three years, I made good money; I ran both a consultancy and brokerage business and had 3 payment models: 1) Consultant – paid hourly (made a ton of money here!) 2) Consultant – paid based on attaining sales or marketing metrics (more risky, but made a ton here also) 3) Brokering deals and taking a 5%-10% cut of revenue on a monthly basis….(this worked in my favor as well).  So clearly, I had figured out how to make money.  What I hadn’t figured out was how much I was worth.  Really worth.  Because all I was looking at was the monetary piece.

So living this seemingly great life, working 20-30 hours / week and making more money than I’d ever made before, I SHOULD have been happy; even thrilled.  And I should have felt like I was getting what I was worth.  But I didn’t.  I felt empty.  Almost all the time.  

Then I had a meeting for a potential consulting client and when I met their team and understood the mission of the company, I followed up the meeting with an email stating, “You had me at hello.  Let’s create a position for me”….and lucky for me, they did.  

As we were going through the negotiating process, I realized I was going to be taking quite a salary cut.  And I realized I’d be working 60 + hours / week, so not only would I be taking a paycut yearly, but hourly as well.  I should have been bothered or annoyed; but I wasn’t.  In fact, I hardly negotiated.  Some of my colleagues that I was nuts (for not negotiating); and I had to explain to them, “money is just one way for a company to show me my worth.  There are other factors I’m taking into consideration”.

So what were those factors and how did I determine what I was worth?  First, I figured out what mattered most to me.  And I listed the top 10 things that matter to me about a job.  “Compensation” was relatively low on the list.  What I wanted in return for sharing my skillset  was as follows:

  • I wanted to look forward to waking up in the morning.  Every morning.  Without fail.
  • I wanted to be inspired and do something that changes lives as well as the world we live in.
  • I wanted to be surrounding by people who are smarter than me; so I’m constantly learning and bettering my skill sets.
  • I wanted to be mentored; by those who are patient enough to make me a better person both professionally and personally.
  • I wanted to be a part of something that matters.  Not just a company, but a family.
  • I wanted the opportunity to be in a role where I could drive change in an organization and thus, drive change in an industry.
  • AND I wanted to be compensated commensurate to what I had made previously.

So that being the order of my list, I found that my worth could not be 100% measured in compensation.  I DID want to be paid “what I was worth”, but at the same time, had to balance money against all other assets; the other “wants” that really made me happy.  So, I actually took less money.  I didn’t want to negotiate.  And we see articles all the time written about how “women negotiate “X”% less time than men” and there is “unequal pay in the workplace”.  And these articles are informative and point out that women may be losing more than half a million dollars over their lifetime by NOT negotiating.  But I wonder, could it be that women just realize there are more important things in life than money?  I know in my view, “not negotiating much” was a concious choice.  Could it be that women just see the “bigger” picture and realize that money is not the be all and end all?  I wonder if anyone has ever looked at the gap between men and women being paid differently from that angle.  Is it possible that there is a small segment of women who CHOOSE to make less money or who believe their worth is displayed in different ways?  I’ve always wondered this….

And my response to my own situation as well as what I recommend to others is always the same:  Set up a structure where you will get paid for PROVING what you’re worth.  What you’ve done and your accomplishments in the past should lay the groundwork for you to GET a job.  It should not dictate what you get paid.  What you WERE worth in one job may not transfer to your worth in your new role.  Take a lower base salary and set up a compensation structure where you make MORE money for each contribution you make.  Define your contributions by quarter, define your goals; everything from strategic to tactile to driving revenue to cutting costs.  Everything is measurable.  Even one’s ability to “inspire others” can be measured.  That is where you will find out your true worth.  In looking at your overall contribution to a company, both quantitatively and qualitatively.  

If you’re not willing to take the lower base salary and structure something measurable – how confident are you in your worth?  Not enough for me to hire you…

How to Inspire the Uninspired

April 10, 2012 3 comments

I used to collect quotes.  I had books and books of them, starting when I was 16 and going until about 23. What I loved about quotes was that no matter the mood I was in, I could always find a quote that “matched” my mood.  In other words, I had validation that what I was feeling was “okay” or “normal”.

I guess it was around age 23 that I realized I didn’t need validation because it didn’t matter what other people felt.  I don’t know if this was a good or bad thing as I vividly remember the last quote I wrote down was,

“23 and so tired of life…such a shame, to throw it all away.  The images grow darker still.  Could I have been anyone other than me?

DMB.  

At the time, I was sure that by age 23, I knew it all, had done it all, and life had nothing more to offer me….

Looking back, now I think this was a relatively normal feeling – sometimes dubbed as the “quarter life crisis”.  I started working and got out of my ‘funk’, met my husband, and rode off into the sunset….sort of….

I’m now 31 and while inherently fulfilled with amazing family, loving friends, my perfect husband, and in general – a pretty nice life; something is missing.  Or maybe, something WAS missing.  For the past two years, when I tried to think of a quote to described my life, I heard the repeat of Ani Difranco in my head,

“Somebody do something, anything, soon.  I can’t be the only whatever I am in the room.  Why am I so lonely?  Why am I so tired?  I need back up. I need company.  I need to be inspired”.

And in a way, looking at my life, this is ridiculous.  I’m 31 and back to feeling the way I did when I was 23?  How did that happen?  And my life was seemingly perfect…what was missing?

So I started to look for answers and engaged in activities that had inspired me previously.  I watched TED videos.  They lifted me up for about an hour post watching them, then I got over it.  I exercise and walked on the beach a few times a week, thinking the inherent beauty would spark something.  Nada.  I made a lot of money…maybe I could buy inspiration, right?  Nope.  I read a ton of books.  Perhaps I could get so lost in someone else’s world that I could forget about the perceived lack of purpose in my own world.  Good escape for short periods, but…at the end of the day, was still stuck with me.  I threw myself into work and family as these have always been the two most positive parts of my life; and again, great times when I was actually “working” and actually “with family”, but once alone again…no inspiration to be had.  I was stuck, and lost, and getting frustrated.

 

And then something interesting happened. Actually, a few interesting things happened at once. First, I decided I needed to go back to work full time for someone else. I knew I needed to get back to doing something mission driven, not just consulting for money. So the interviews began and I was at the top of my game. At the same time, I started working with my old boss again. He has always be an inspiration to me, but I never through about the WHY behind it – I just assumed it was “him”. I was back on a natural high. So I started thinking about WHY my boss had always inspired me and started thinking about the other people who had impacted my life and they all shared several commonalities:

1) They were smart – and not just “work” smart or “book” smart, but LIFE smart. Every lesson I learned from them was able to be applied to both business and personal life and served to enrich both.

2) They were driven by passion. None were driven solely by money or power, but by the mission of what they were trying to accomplish. Many things can be trained; feeling truly passionate and being able to communicate that passion is innate. I was mesmerized and fascinated by each of them.

3) They were all teachers. Not “teachers” in the occupational sense, but teachers in the sense that they understood the importance of a mentor / protege relationship; and knew the importance of being on both sides.

I could go on and on, but basically I realized what I needed to do. I needed to find something I was passionate about, working with people who fit the above description. So I did that. I found a killer job for an awesome company. I believed in the mission and I believed in the people…but…something was still off.

And it took me until a few weeks ago to realize what it was; I wasn’t building anyone.

I’m at my best when I can work with and better those around me. That is my natural high…finding what I term to be “wasted talent” and building those individuals into superstars. Or not even superstars, but building them to be whatever it is they choose to be. And 99% of the time, these individuals don’t know what they want to do or be…but they do realize that it’s the journey that matters, not the actual destination.

So I started engaging with a couple “kids”. Well, I call them “kids” now, but really – younger 20 somethings that I thought were “wasted talent”; I started really listening to them and trying to work on different ways to motivate and better THEM. And since then, this is the first time in two years, I’ve had the motivation to sit down and write a blog post. And it’s not a good post…it’s not like my old posts – but as with everything else, writing takes practice and I’m just getting back into the game. What’s important here is I recognized what it takes to “inspire” the uninspired….

It’s helping better someone else. At least for me, it is.

And when I look at this blog post, I want to puke at the way it’s written. Everything in me is saying, “tighten it up; this is so long; the lessons are not clear”…that said, this post was not for my readers. It was for me.

Social Media: Is More Needed in Healthcare?

February 25, 2012 1 comment

Originally posted on savedHealthcare:

Getting involved with social media is like following through with a workout plan; in the beginning, the potential for big results fuel a gung ho attitude. As the days turn into weeks, bad habits creep in when the fruits of hard work are not as grand or immediate as expected. Similarly, organizations expect a lot out of social media. Its glamour and promises push companies to delve into its deep waters, but like all strong tools, a great reward only comes with hard work. Social media can work well when ingenuity and a long-term plan to realize benefits are employed—not boilerplate strategies.

Slow to pick up, the sluggish healthcare industry is beginning to use new communication mediums, such as social media, at an increasing rate; social media’s charm is not responsible. Pressure from competition is forcing healthcare’s engagement, or opponents may gain ground in the communications arena. Facebook and Twitter…

View original 563 more words

February 25, 2012 1 comment

Originally posted on savedHealthcare:

Getting involved with social media is like following through with a workout plan; in the beginning, the potential for big results fuel a gung ho attitude. As the days turn into weeks, bad habits creep in when the fruits of hard work are not as grand or immediate as expected. Similarly, organizations expect a lot out of social media. Its glamour and promises push companies to delve into its deep waters, but like all strong tools, a great reward only comes with hard work. Social media can work well when ingenuity and a long-term plan to realize benefits are employed—not boilerplate strategies.

Slow to pick up, the sluggish healthcare industry is beginning to use new communication mediums, such as social media, at an increasing rate; social media’s charm is not responsible. Pressure from competition is forcing healthcare’s engagement, or opponents may gain ground in the communications arena. Facebook and Twitter…

View original 563 more words

Stop Talking. Start Doing.

August 13, 2011 2 comments

I wonder how much more productive we would be if we didn’t talk about how productive we could be. I wonder if it would be easier to ‘find our purpose’ if there weren’t thousands of blogs and people telling us how we should find our purpose. And I wonder if everyone would be happier if we didn’t over analyze everything to the nth degree using the myriad of social media and blogging outlets.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater. I have a blog. I use social media tools. And I definitely over analyze everything. But last week I just stopped. For one day, I decided to stop talking and start doing. And here’s what I found: First, I found that I was lonely. I was so accustomed to my ego being stroked by the people I surrounded myself with online that I had forgotten what it was like to be alone. Someone once said you can only be happy when you’re alone if you like the person you’re alone with. I think today’s society has taken away from alone time. Even when we’re alone, we’re still communicating; be it on twitter, facebook, blogging, google + or the next “big thing”. Second, I was productive. I wasn’t writing about “getting out of my comfort zone”, instead I was actually working to push myself out of my comfort zone. I found work to challenge myself and enveloped myself in it. Third, I had time to speak with my friends – to find out how their days were – and to just talk about something…or nothing at all…and while we may all feel like our “tweeps” or the people who read our blogs are our friends – I would say that they are a new “type” of friend…but not the type whose house you can go to at 4 AM when something is wrong.

Most importantly, I was doing. I wasn’t talking about what I WOULD do, or what I DID do. I just did. And I realized that while blogging and podcasting and social media and all of these other communication tools are great to market oneself; they also take away from the concept of self. All of the sudden, people need positive reinforcement for writing a blog post or developing a podcast. I would ask, are they ‘doing’ for themselves? Or so they can receive the positive feedback their egos crave?

I wonder when this movement of talking about oneself will end. I wonder if it will end. People naturally think they’re interesting; and they inherently want to be liked, to be noticed. But most importantly – I wonder what would happen if we all just stopped talking about what we are doing, or did, or going to do – and just started doing.

So I plead with you to discipline yourself. Be honest with yourself. Take some time alone and find the real reason you are seeking constant communication, approval, or even disagreements. Could it be that you, too, have forgotten how to be alone? And you’ve forgotten how to “do” without talking about it? Take a step back. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

CAMP – and How it Shaped My Career

June 30, 2011 2 comments

It’s been 2 months since I’ve posted on my blog and time to get back into the swing of things. I tried everything to get motivated to post. I read, I listened to music, I had conversations with mentors, and even read a Motivation Guide …but nothing worked.

So I’m talking to my friend, Lisa, today, and we started talking about sleep away camp. If you’ve gone to camp, you’ll understand this post; if not, hopefully you’ll continue to read to see how something that’s only 15% of your life each year can shape who you become later in life.

I loved camp. When I first started getting panic attacks in college, a therapist told me to find a ‘safe place’ I could direct my thoughts when one started; my safe place – CAMP! The one place I had ALWAYS BEEN HAPPY!!!

So as Lisa and I were talking about our similar camp experiences (Color War, horney beetles, bug juice, Tetherball, Canteen, Socials, “Peggy’s porch”, the mess hall, “it’s your birthday…”, the alligators in the lake, the horse – black jack, Sadie Hawkins Day, TAPS, Zetta Burgers, Daytona beach, piercings, camp fires, sitting “OD”, clean up wheels, SING, writing on the ceilings, my first ‘hook up’, first kiss, making friends that would last a lifetime), it became clear to me how much of my life had been defined by my actions taken every summer.

I learned at age 8 that “winning” was the only thing. Being decent at sports, color war was the center of my universe. I quickly learned that competition was key to motivating me – and I also learned how to win. and lose. with dignity. I went from being decent at sports at ages 8 and 9 – to focusing my entire school year on getting better so I could “win” at camp the next summer. I learned dedication to a long term goal while gaining short term immediate gratification along the way. And sure enough, from ages 10 until college – I was “the best” athlete – and I saw how being “the best” allowed me to get away with, well….pretty much whatever I wanted.

This certainly translates into my career over the past decade. I quickly saw that sales was similar to Color War – just all year round. How fun that would be! I was in competition all year round, I could practice and learn to be ‘the best’ sales person, and if I was driving more revenue than anyone else I pretty much was left to my own devices. Pretty simple. And similar to looking forward to being a color war general, I was always looking forward to “my next step up” the corporate ladder into a higher level management role.

It was also at camp I learned how to negotiate. I vividly remember clean up time being right after breakfast…and I remember that pinwheel that moved one space each day so we always had a different cleaning job. I remember at first, getting in trouble for not cleaning / doing my job (not much has changed), but I also remember as I got older, I learned that I could “trade” my canteen tickets or the RAMEN noodles or Swiss miss under my bed so someone would clean for me. I hated to clean and I snuck in a ton of RAMEN. I learned how to cut deals by age 11. I don’t think I’ve cleaned since.

I learned how to interact with different types of people in all different settings. Another necessary skill for both sales and marketing executives – especially in today’s world. Not only did I always have my best friends in my bunk, but there was usually another group of girls I lived with who…well – we may not have liked them – but we all learned to live together. Many times they were foreign (I vividly remember hearing someone ask if our camp had turned into EPCOT), and so many of the counselors were from Europe – we were exposed to differences at such an early age; we lived with them and thought differences were normal…I still think that way…

I probably should transition this into an ending….or I could continue, but am too excited to go post this on my “camp” FB page….

“Oh Universe Fair and true – in our hearts we belong to you…as the campers of the past did too – and they love you though they are gone….”

In one of THOSE Moods

May 11, 2011 4 comments

I love quotes. Always have. Some people kept journals their whole lives – not me; anytime something good or bad or sometimes when nothing happened and I was just feeling…an unexplainable feeling….I would look up quotes. And I realized – this did 3 things for me; 1) It was a release; a way of venting – cathartic 2) I was journaling…using other people’s words. I can look at a quote today and think of exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first wrote down the quote…my history is written in them. 3) quotes made me feel better about how I was feeling. It was and is comforting to know that people feel the exact same way you do…even when you think you’re going mad. You see others felt it and got through it – and you know you will as well.

So this morning, I’m feeling a bit off – not good, not bad, just aching for some inspiration really – and I pulled out my quote books and realized I was done with quotes; I could write and journal on my own now…but what I also found while online journaling was this picture. It was a graffiti picture of a quote and I thought, “wow – now that’s badass”. So I thought I’d share a few. Enjoy and apologies for not being my usual ‘ business’ thought. This is just ME.

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