Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Test of Your Own Self Worth


We hear a lot these days about being overworked, overstressed, over-stimulated, and under-appreciated or under-paid.

These sort of comments, because of how general they are in nature, must be quantified before they can be strategized and "solved"

What does it mean to be 'over-worked'?
Does it mean you worked more than 40 hours?
Does it mean working 25 hours while going to school part time and raising 2 kids?
Does it mean working remotely, being accessible 24/7 without necessarily subscribing to a traditional structure?

The maximal capacity one can be asked to produce in a given work day is subjective, and has a lot to do with one's goals. If your goals are to minimize your effort, your 'overworked' definition will be at 40 hours and 15 minutes... conversely, your future opportunities (potential) won't look much different than exactly what you're getting right now unless you find a way to reinvent your productivity and workload within your scheduled time.

What does "over-stressed" mean?
Studying for an exam?
Taking money out of your house to be able to finance payroll this week for your business?
Managing a marriage, a family, a career, and other personal goals while maintaining personal relationships?

Your stress again ties to your values and the relationship you have with how hard you're willing to work with how much you want the outcome tied to those efforts (in every sphere of your life).
It also deals with your stress management techniques... do you exercise, meditate, or do yoga, or do you spark a cigarette?

Over-stimulated is something that parents and employers are more likely to complain about, because they notice the impact of banner ads, spam mail, video games, and instant messenger and how these can derail employee or their children's productivity (taking them away from studying or important projects)

Under-appreciated is an important one to address.
If people feel under-valued in the work they do, it's important they ask...
- am I doing what I am passionate about?
- did I give 100% to the task my manager asked me to do or that I took initiative to do, even if it's not what I love?
- am I working in a culture that appreciates people (even if not 100% of the time but that that is their intent and people get recognized at least consistently)?
- did I produce more for the world than I consumed today (work, carbon footprint, impact on people through your attitude, etc)?
- if you can answer yes to all of these questions, people who don't show value to you right away won't matter because a) you will feel validated yourself, and b) you will be patient enough to hear the appreciation for your fine work, and finally c) you will be empowered and competent enough to find a new employer if your current boss just plain can't see how valuable you are.

If you take care of all of the above... trust me, the pay will take care of itself.

The truest test is now what you get paid or what your job title says... it's how you feel about your own performance if you can learn to judge it from a more objective, more hard-truth oriented perspective. That is, how do you feel about your performance? Don't ask how your mom would feel about your performance.

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