Hi meaningful leader,
It’s Tuesday again, so we get to hang out and I’m excited. I would like to propose that for this week we deep dive a bit more regarding last week’s topic on identity and how we perceive ourselves and project it onto others.
One of the things I struggled the most as a young professional was dealing with compensation. I was growing professionally each day, I knew the value I was creating for the organizations I worked for, I saw tangible results with my teams, as I implemented new processes and ways of working, yet verbalizing that into a fair compensation conversation, was paralyzing for me.
Believe it or not, if I could have afforded it, I would have worked for free just to avoid having compensation exchanges with my boss. Naively, I though that my hard work and the results I was creating will prompt management to approach me and voluntarily offer to raise my salary…WRONG! Unfortunately, it’s not the way it normally works.
One day I’d had enough of it and I armed myself with all the courage I could muster and walked into my bossâ’s office. I’d asked him earlier in the week for 30 minutes of his time to discuss “a few things” and he’d agreed. I open the conversation with a plethora of all the things I had achieved and the efficiencies I had created, showing concise examples and numbers, while my boss nodded in agreement; he was well aware of all of them. After all that was established and I felt good about saying all these things out loud; with a smirk, he immediately agreed I deserved a raise. Confused I asked him why he never offered me one, if he knew all the extra work I was doing, and his answer was worst than an bucket of iced-cold of water…he said: “why would I offer you more if you haven’t asked for it.” He actually used a more colloquial Spanish-speaking phrase that can somehow be translated to “the one who doesn’t cry doesn’t eat.”
Bottom-line, regardless of my effort he would’ve been perfectly happy underpaying me. And what I felt at that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life…I felt I had been taken advantage of and that’s one of my biggest pet peeves, because I always seek out the good in people.
From that moment on I started to craft my professional brand. Who is Maria? and what value does she bring?, regardless of the job I perform or the organization I perform it for. I mapped out an academic path that I followed strictly. I armed myself with personal development books and tools. I seek out mentors. And I stop perceiving myself as an employee and instead became a service provider.
I’m sharing this because I know thousands of professionals struggle to one degree or another with defining their identity and finding a way to create a meaningful career that doesn’t require quitting all other aspects of their lives.
There’s nothing personal in business. Leadership focuses on people, but business focuses on increasing profitability, while reducing any risk of liabilities, plain and simple. By approaching my employment as a service provider, I keep the control of my service offering, and the agreed compensation that offering, and its results should generate me. I no longer struggle with having to ask for an increase as if asking for a favor, I negotiate a desired outcome with a desired compensation for it….a straightforward business transaction, without the emotional sabotage I used to torture myself with.
I know quite well the value added my knowledge, experience, and particular approach towards leadership and business brings to an organization and I craft my service offering beyond a pre-determined job description. I provide my employer with solutions they didn’t even know they needed, and I get compensated accordingly.
The great resignation has been a wake-up call. People were forced to see themselves under a different light and in the uncertainty of it all, they found their identity back. They realized life was more that a paycheck and a two-week vacation, life could be fulfilling and that became for millions of people a non-negotiable.
It’s easy to get diluted when our main goal is to climb the corporate ladder, but exchanging our identity and our dreams for a paycheck sounds like hell to me. This idea actually reminds me of the scene from Up In The Air, in which Ryan (George Clooney) tells the man he’s firing (J.K. Simmons) that this is an opportunity to go back to the dreams of his youth…how much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?
My message to you is that settling is not the solution, it might feel conformable to a degree, but it will always leave you wanting. Figure out who you are and why are you here, thatâ€™s your purpose; then map out your goals and chase them with all you have in you. My coach asked me last week why settling was off the table for me, and I explained that I know my capacity and settling is cutting myself short of achieving my all. He followed with a quote that explains this perfectly, he said: “hell is meeting the person you could have become”…OUCH!
I hope this article serves as an inspiration to do more, want more and dream more. Life is full of challenges, but conquering each one creates a satisfaction few things can match. Please share this article with one dreamer you know, also, please like and subscribe.
Have an amazing rest of the week my friend, and God bless,