Valuing Yourself, And How Others Can De-Value You

My boyfriend and I had a very interesting conversation the other day that I thought was really important. We were talking about how someone can unintentionally de-value you and how you have to know your worth.

I work for a small business and I don’t get paid very much. All of my other colleagues get paid more than me, but still not very much in the grand scheme of things. We are still finding our feet and we are getting there, but not yet.

I started working for this company two years ago as an “intern”. I did gopher work and whatever anyone needed help with. I worked for product and didn’t receive checks. I still had another paying job. This was just something small I did once or twice a week. A year later, when I had all the product I could ask for, I asked to be paid real money as I wanted to be on the road to supporting myself and moving out. I started with a very small “salary” pay. This was minimum wage for 15 hours a week. A few months later, it developed into a sales position where I was earning commission on top of my small salary “cushion”. I quit the other job and am now working about 30 hours per week at this one. It’s still not a lot.

The point of this is that I unintentionally de-valued myself. I was willing to work for product just to get in with this company. Now I make no more than the previous job I had. But they aren’t just going to one day offer me 5x more than what I’m making, because why would they? And it’s based on sales, so it’s technically in my hands. Because I know my worth, I am going to change directions in life plans in the next year and I’m very excited about it.

Another perspective of this, is that we take as much free volunteer work as we can get. If people offer to help us out for free, they are unintentionally de-valuing the rest of us here. Why would we get paid to do something, when all we have to do is ask for help, and we get 5 volunteers to do the work for free?

One colleague here is easily worth double what he makes. But he doesn’t know his own value. He does phenomenal work and could take it anywhere else and get paid way more, but he doesn’t know it. He also does free-lance work on the side. If another company is looking for help and they talk to a specialized company who works for $100/hour and then they talk to him and he says, “Well I’ll do it for $30/hour”, he is not only de-valuing himself, but he is de-valuing the work of another company.

Know your worth.