Tricia Karp Tricia Karp
08 October 2013

Knowing your value

Lion cub

I’m willing to bet that other people value you and your contribution far more than you value yourself.

Here’s why that matters:

  • When you depreciate your own value, you say yes to the job/client/contract that isn’t paying you enough because you want the work – and then you’re resentful for sacrificing your needs and desires
  • Not getting what you deserve at work can have a domino effect on your self-worth in all areas of your life.  When you value yourself, your relationships are better, stronger and more rewarding
  • Convincing yourself that you don’t need as much money as someone else working in exactly the same role as you and being paid much more has nothing to do with deserving, and everything to do with devaluing your worth and sabotaging yourself, which, again, impacts every area of your life

As I write this, I’m hearing the familiar voice in my head snitching, No-one wants to be seen as money hungry or greedy.

Rightly or wrongly, it’s not perceived as a particularly nice trait for women.  And that makes money awkward to talk about. I’m the last one who wants to be perceived as an ambitious capitalist (as one of my husband’s friends mocked recently. Yes, it was said in jest.  And it riled me up, mostly because those words were preceded with these: Who would have thought that quiet, little Tricia would turn out to be an ….).

It’s also true that it’s never just about the money.  Time and again, studies have shown that most women place more value on choosing work we consider useful to society and meaningful.  We’re often happy to help without necessarily expecting anything in return.  We also want to go to work and be the same person as we are at home.

Money, for most of us, isn’t a way of being better than or keeping score, as studies have often found it is for men.

We do want to be fairly compensated for the work we do. We want equal pay.  We want to work in an even playing field.

If knowing your value – and owning it – is difficult, I have a few tips for you:

  • If you’ve cut your rates, jumped at a first offer, worked for free, or given in because it seemed easier and you didn’t want to make waves, you’re undermining your value.  And that’s disastrous.  Stop feeling grateful.  Get focused.  Go after what you want
  • Know the market.  If someone with the same level of skills and experience doing the same role as you is being paid more, there’s a conversation to be had.  Learn the skills to do it well, then instigate that conversation
  • Remember, you’re not necessarily asking for the money you need, but the money you deserve
  • This is not a women’s issue.  It’s not acceptable to say that this is just how it is for women.  Step up, go for what you want, and learn how to own your value so you don’t feel uncomfortable when you go for it
  • Ask five people you respect and trust how they perceive your value.  Listen carefully and breathe in deeply what they say
  • Learn to say no to what won’t work for you.  Being a pleaser doesn’t serve a professional adult woman
  • Learn how to negotiate
  • Remember that it’s not selfish to get your needs met.  Even when it inconveniences other people

And if that sounds confronting, too much, or too difficult, and is pushing your buttons, please know this:

When you truly own your value, and have mastered the skills to ask, you’ll claim what you want and deserve with confidence, strength and grace.  

May it be so.

~~~

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