At every turn, we’re faced with the value of things. The food we consume. The clothing we wear. Accessories we adorn. Activities we adventure. Travel we embark upon. The education we seek. The car I choose to drive costs me a pretty ongoing penny compared to using my two feet to attempt all my Los Angeles main base maneuvers. Where I lay my head to rest for eves has a range of values depending on my current locale. If only for the fun fact that I’ve been a digital nomad traversing many beds on a given year (family, friends, associates, eco resorts, huts, no star to five-star hotels, and so on). And then there’s the work we do.
Lately, I’ve faced a personal value disconnect. In these every-growing population times, especially living in a big city busting at the seems with it’s infrastructure and employment versus homeless growth and other economic parallels, I find my last few years have shown that what’s missing from all this bustle is the value of a super able-bodied, excellent work ethic, enthusiastic human. Staring in the mirror daily, and I mean really taking more than a toothbrushing-minus-coffee-added-yet pause, I often peer deeply questioning what is my value? The best I’ve sourced is that my value is priceless. It’s not because I’ve linked my heritage to some royalty, or because I have a huge ego. My priceless estimate I’ve based on a series of default behaviors and skills.
If only webcams had been invented for everyday use by 1970, or in the least that video technology was as accessible and easy, as I would have loved my parents to capture me exiting the womb into this world. Why? My personal joke is that I swear I came out smiling, ready to get to work, and wailing about where should I start supporting others. I think many of us mistake babies loud carrying on for a painful adult annoyance when they’re actually communicating all sorts of exciting future things they’re preparing to do. That said, my point is an attempt to document that my genuine value stems from a sincere overdose of positivity.
If you’d like someone to be at ease, feel welcome, share a professional, intellectually stimulating or wildly interesting conversation, I’m a great go-to girl. I’ve stated before that I give great phone. I smile at strangers and familiars alike. I seek to engage with wherever I am. I actually feel my brain stretching to new dimensions when I connect with new people and as I resource new ventures, contacts, innovative aspects, or as I’m ideating. I aim to connect, explore, and please. And not any the disingenuous way. I can’t turn it off either. If I need some space, I literally seek quiet time for me solo, or a swim out in the ocean all on my own for a bit, or closing my eyes to meditate in a forest with only nature rustling around.
I chose to broadcast this value exposé mostly as I’m relating it often to job offers and that enigmatic life hurdle query: “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” I’m thinking a few of you may relate. Likely the ones I suppose may connect the most are my freelance, independently contracted compatriots. Where there seems to be a gap is the missing value of a monetary offer in many job offerings. Increasingly I find potential employers asking me to outline in detail my fees and services based on their initial descriptive. While my lengthy history of varied project management includes quite a bit of this breakdown, I’m usually already on the job earning when asked to do this legwork. After I’ve allied my way through on-the-job scenarios, and truly sought to provide my most polished qualified experience, there remains radio silence when I inquire the hourly and/or retainer fee baseline. I really enjoyed brain-teasers around second grade when entering full-time USA schooling for the remainder of my schooling after a couple years overseas. However, adult puzzlement isn’t nearly as fun and certainly not meant to be a creative exercise.
This value riddle must be solved. I prefer letting myself be mystified with the depths of our oceans, quantum anything, or trying to count the rings on a fallen redwood tree to determine it’s lifespan. Like nature and physics, we cannot and should not simply assign a finite value to a person. Yet, within our advanced working trades, we’ve allowed money to become the bottom line. Hand in hand, we as ourselves have needed to become worth a dollar amount. Differentiating from skill to skill, a project to project, job to job, company to company, organization, and event to moments and months. A mystery still presents to me that I may review a leviathan list of tasks proposed, but someone hasn’t got a clue what all that amounts to after the “$” sign. Or, for all the finesse defined, the numbers after that sign don’t add up to respectful compensation.
When I started 24/7 style employment in 1988, I didn’t really know any better. I was following the fun and my heart for the entertainment adventure. As time has turned into a few wrinkles, some gravity reviews as I do that mirror drill, and some pesky gray hairs, I honestly would have thought the summation of hours would have begun to match the bank account increase. Though not nearly consistently so.
IOU your life back. A value reckoning has begun. My life is so poetically precious to me. Since every day is a true gift to me, I decided as a 2018 resolution to aim for choosing work that adds value to my life, or where I provide value for the greater good of those who really need and deserve it. I’ve been holding faith for this longer-term miracle, like some of my evangelical Christian friends plug the rapture. Obviously, a combo is like jumbo sizing your favorite ice cream cone treat on a sweltering day. As we cannot turn back time, we can take charge of the present and future. Much like my beloved sister would choose a hotel over a tent, I recommend you consider your decisions lovingly and steer your path accordingly. Unless you modestly prefer winging it, whereby I’ll steer you to the reality-tv market since they script for you so well.
Today, I’m making my way realizing those attributes that landed and kept my career work until recently are significantly based on qualities on which you can’t pin a succinct cash bill. These aren’t résumé credits, awards, or history with a singular skill, entity, project or else. I’m talking about professionalism, confidentiality, mighty resourcefulness, a contact base that rivals George Clooney’s (or at least his assistant’s). I’m dealing with my skillZ in that legendary street narrative. My story is worth what you, your family foundation, your business, brand, project, or plan need if you so heroically have earned it. I bring the story of my well oiled (think olive, not petroleum) working history to give life to your future. In turn, I’ve made a deal with the angels that it will feed my own story further.
My value proposal is a priceless comedy, action-packed with some errors and pontifical humor with an edgy belief that I can make my dreams a reality if I just keep pacing the price line with inflation. Say it with me — A daily mantra to support your translation of priceless human value into net worth income happiness (Formed with giant thanks to Tina Fey and her Bossypants book; Please adjust according to your own preferences, or just rip away as is):
“Lord, Lead me to something where I can make my own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and be paid handsomely and not have to wear high heels.”