Monday, October 20, 2008

What's your number?

In today’s crazy competitive world it’s very important to know what your worth. Not, what the companies that hire you think you are worth but if someone were to ask you today how much you are worth, do you have your quote ready? The question intrigued me when my manager and I were having a casual discussion about spending time on manicuring the lawns. He told me that he would rather pay 20 bucks an hour and the get the job done rather than him spending that time on the lawn. According to him he is worth $120. It is very important for a professional person to come up with that number. That shows how confident one is when he/she is trying to sell their services. Having this discussion previously with my manager helped me a lot to help my friend realize how much she is worth.

My friend Mel moved from Singapore to Houston a couple of years ago. She owned and worked in her own spa back in Singapore. She found a job as a beautician which was paying her $10 an hour here in Houston. She drives 25 miles to get work and pays $7 in tolls everyday to get to work. She was working long hours with no proper lunch breaks. She was always complaining about how much she hated to work there. One of her clients referred her to another lady who is planing on opening a spa quite close to Mel’s house. The lady called Mel for an interview and offered her $10 an hour and my friend happily accepted as she could save all that money she was spending on gas and tolls and the time to get to her previous work place.

She called me and asked me if she made the right choice. She is one of finest people that I have ever got my eyebrows and massages done with. I advised her to let the lady know that she will only be able to work if she is paid $12 an hour. My friend was hesitating initially (since there are quite a few people who will jump in for previous offer) but she gave the lady a call and the lady agreed instantaneously. Knowing what you are worth is very important. Mel just increased her weekly earnings by $80 and monthly earnings by $320.

Here is how I came up with what I think I am worth.

1. What sets you apart from others: This defines your skills and how you adapt to the changing needs of the market. Do you make a confident and conscious effort to equip yourself with the new technologies or are you happy to work within your own area.

2. How confident are you within your skill set: If you were to rate yourself with you skill set, what would that rating look like. Do you try to find ways to do the job effectively instead of efficiently?

3. How open are you to learning: I see people at my work processing the same invoices for the past 30 years. They have made their cubicle a second home. Though I don’t intend to lookdown upon what they are doing, I always wonder why they do not get bored of what they are doing. I believe the quest to always learn something new keeps me alive. Our department is going through a new implementation replacing COGNOS (a reporting tool); I keep hearing from people how they hate to learn this new tool all over again. I think learning keeps our brains active all the time and something to look forward to.

4. Do you invest in yourself: How much do you invest in yourself? Not just getting dolled- up and looking pretty J but investing in your career. Are you investing in yourself to get new certifications and learning to new applications from time to time that will boost your career?

If the answer for all the above questions is a big “YES”, I am sure you got a big number over your head. I have been working for the past 2 and half-years and I constantly find ways to boost my career. Having said all this, you guys might be wondering what number I will attach to myself. Any guesses?

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