Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What is your worth?

The other day my nephew twitted the following thought:
"I have the potential to be one of those great professors that complain that their peers earn much more"
That made me think that, if at his age I knew what I know now I'd be making at least twice what I'm making now and if I didn't know what I know now, I'd be making at most half.
This post is for Diego.
First some definitions (maybe not the academic ones)
  • Value: The intrinsic value
  • Worth: The economic value
  • Price/Earnings: The actual amount of money received in exchange.
Your value
One of the things I know now (or believe) is that, in human terms we are all equivalent and what we earn or what we are worth does not change that value. 
Your worth
We are "economic products" with an economic worth. How much you know, contribute, produce, help, etc. With your talent and intelligence you have the potential to have a high worth. Keep cultivating it.
Your earnings
Your earnings will rarely reflect your worth.  But who sets the price? Look at examples around you and you'll see the answer: Some people let others establish their price, some set their own. That's how two to products (people) with the same worth (knowledge and ability) can have very different prices.
An extreme example: A pet rock was $4 while the same rock from a quarry was a fraction of a cent. The difference? The presentation (packaging and marketing)
Look around again and you'll see many "pet rock" people. 
I am not advocating for you to be a "pet rock" as people eventually realizes what your actual worth is. It is really up to you to decide if you want someone to undervalue your worth, to fight to have earnings commensurate to your worth Or to increase your perceived worth and increase your earnings. This same worth, same effort, very different results.
Your potential
Regarding that last point: It seems to be human nature to desire things with a higher perceived worth. An expensive restaurant won't necessarily be more nutritious than a small restaurant run out of someone's garage, however expensive restaurants are always packed. They package themselves in style, presentation, service, popularity, etc.
This is, if you project a high worth, people will perceive you have a higher worth and will pay accordingly!! Crazy, right? The more your charge the more desirable you become.

Bottom line: It all comes down to confidence, self esteem and your ability to project that worth. I started working on that late in life. You have a chance to start working on it right now, if that's what you want.