How To Determine Your Value In Life

What you will learn here is a college course in one read.  Forward it to young job seekers and family members struggling to find themselves in the job world.  The lessons learned herein, especially if you are a young woman or man entering the labor force, will be for a lifetime.  I’ve not read any of the advice I offer here to young job and career seekers elsewhere.  Most likely many young Americans are perplexed what to do with their lives.   Don’t read this too fast.  It contains important lessons most Americans will never hear, let alone apply.   Your teachers and even your parents have let you down because they never learned these lessons either.

Creating value

Often our children grow up thinking they will try to get a good paying job.  They may never really deal with the challenge of proving to themselves how much they are worth.  When real estate is offered for sale, determining the “highest and best worth” of the property is the appraiser’s job. The same is true for everyone in the workforce.

Some industrious young workers will take on two jobs, or work weekends.  That is a bulldog way of earning more money but never gaining much freedom.  Though working two jobs so the kids can have a stay-at-home mom is certainly worth it if one can avoid a burn out.

One thing good about working for yourself is there is no cap on your income.  In Seattle, which recently experienced the heaviest snowfall in 70 years, 18-year old David Holston offered his plow truck on Craig’s List to clear snow.   The calls kept coming in and he worked till midnight and earned $35,000 in just four days.  Holsten said he has a ten-year plan to expand his business and then sell it.    Ship of Fools: How a S... Tucker Carlson Best Price: $2.23 Buy New $8.27 (as of 10:55 EDT - Details)

The minimum wage versus achievement

Now the thing young people are obviously lacking at the entry level of the work force is experience.  Governments exert minimum wage requirements.  Underclasses want this minimum pay number to rise to meet their needs.  But workers may never be challenged to deal with the issue of increasing their worth.  The argument is that employees should be compensated for their skills, not their needs.  There is no dignity in anything less.  The point is, don’t wait for the minimum wage to be raised.

Raise the minimum wage in the U.S. and that might force most crops to be grown offshore and most food to be imported.  The loss of jobs needs due to that mistake needs to be carefully calculated before raising pay.

You’ve got to give up something today to achieve a greater reward tomorrow.  You can’t be playing B-ball all day long.  Watch this clip from “The Pursuit of Happiness” when Chris Gardner (actor Will Smith), raising a son without a mother, advises his son do something else besides shoot hoops all day long.

Yes, a lot of young people are privileged and start out on 3rd base in life.  But you will learn more and have a greater sense of accomplishment if you have to start at home plate and work your way around the bases.  Starting at the bottom has its advantages.  Watch the trailer from the film “The Pursuit of Happiness” starring Will Smith.  Read Anthony Belli’s book: “How Growing Up Poor Helped Make Me Rich.”

That’s not my job

All too often workers will not take on more tasks beyond those initially given to them.  “That’s not my job” is a common mind-set.

Employers want to get more out of their workers.  Multi-tasking is what it is called.  Refusal to do anything extra on the job is a self-defeating mind-set.  When workers apply for another job they will be asked to jot down what skills they developed, what responsibilities they took on in their last job.  They want to earn more money but they didn’t willingly take on extra tasks to increase their worth.

The worker who learns how to use the mailing machine, substitute for another worker while they are on vacation, show aptitude to help do some accounting work, will be building their own resume and skillset.

The worker who thinks they will be taken advantage of by doing extra work will be short-changing themselves.  And should the boss have to cut back on a few jobs because of a downturn in business, the last person the boss will think of laying off is that “jack of all trades” guy or gal.

Asking the boss for a raise

Now let’s say an industrious worker wants to get paid more.  The worker thinks they have to muster up the courage to ask the boss for a raise.  Their spouse urges them on.  But they have never learned how to shop themselves in the job market.  Your boss wants you to be a loyal employee, but you can be loyal to a fault. The Uniqueness of West... Richard Storey Check Amazon for Pricing.

Shop your resume

Everyone in the work force should have a resume that they continually shop.  Finally, they get an offer for a better paying job.  Now they go to the boss and say they love their job but to do justice to themselves (and their family) they have to take another higher paying job offer.

Now the boss mulls over in his mind if he can afford to lose that worker and how much it will cost to retrain someone else.  So, he asks what the other job offer pays and says he will match it.  Either way the worker has learned what his worth is in the job market at that time.

Picking a career

Now comes a challenging task.  What do you want to do in life?  Be a yoga instructor, speech pathologist, law enforcement officer?

When my son was in the 4th grade his teacher had a parent’s day and all the kids had to hold up a big sign above their head and say what they wanted to be when they grew up.  All the boys held up signs they wanted to work in public service: military, law enforcement or fire department.  My son was the only one to hold up a sign that was a higher calling.  His sign said: “inventor.”  Pray your kids don’t aim too low.

This is what our schools are teaching our kids.  Just to take a job and have the union negotiate their wages.  As good as those wages may be, they are still far short of what a self-employed person can gain as there is no top limit on their income and they gain freedom by working for themselves that others do not enjoy.  Sadly, there are only ~8 million Americans who have chosen to work for themselves.

Achieving happiness

Some career-minded workers seek happiness rather than achievement.  Watch the clip from the movie: “The Pursuit of Happiness” starring Will Smith.  If you are chasing happiness, that will be a fleeting and momentary reward.  (Watch the clip.)

The law of supply and demand

It is obvious many people can qualify as brick layers, stock clerks, cab drivers, so their incomes are limited by oversupply.  But even the very talented and skilled may find some careers are overpopulated with graduates who seek to fill a limited number of positions.

Of course, if you are the only person on the planet who can answer questions about a particular topic that is in demand, that would likely garner you a high rate of pay.  By my personal experience, there are very few people who can answer questions about the myriads of dietary supplements on the market.  So I am sought after by others.  Being in demand is the ideal place to be.

You hear from career coaches to follow your heart, to listen to the beat of your own drum.   However, Secret Empires: How th... Peter Schweizer Best Price: $6.13 Buy New $10.98 (as of 06:15 EDT - Details)

your value may be determined by supply and demand, not by your heart or drumbeat.

I know a very talented young female singer who is pursuing a career in opera.  But the number of voice graduates from music schools is abundant with females and short on males.  Operas need more males than female singers.  It becomes clear, the ability to get a job and command a good salary in opera will be determined by the supply and demand for these positions, not necessarily by voice quality.  Competition is intense.  (If my friend who sings opera blindly sang Ave Maria for you without knowing who she was, you would think her voice is as good as Barbara Streisand’s.).  There is a reported over-supply of female opera singers.  My friend’s dream to sing opera hopefully won’t fail to find a theatre or audience.

The number of piano players who could play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1958 at the concert level were few.  A young Van Cliburn at the age of 23 won an international piano competition in Moscow that year.  A recording of that 33-minute concert which Van Cliburn played without sheet music sold a million copies.  Today there are countless other accomplished pianists who can be found online playing that same Piano Concerto No. 1.  Maybe too many made a career out of playing concert piano.  As skilled as these concert masters are, their value is diminished by over-supply.

Labor pool shrinks

Largely due to women not having more than two babies (most developed countries in western Europe, Italy, North America and Japan are in negative population growth), the labor pool is shrinking and immigrants are being ushered into these countries so young workers can generate transfer payments to retirees.  This fact even caused President Trump to reverse his blanket blockage of immigrants at the southern border.  There is a “jobs available” sign out for LEGAL immigrants.  (Let’s hope the US figures out a way it doesn’t have to incur increased crime, disease and welfare payments just to fortify the labor pool.).  Immigrants already working in the US should be pleased with efforts to halt illegal immigration.   The labor pool will shrink and employers may have to pay more to hire workers.

The numbers may not be accurate

If the number of computer software graduates were tabulated there would be an estimated 1.4 million job openings with only 400,000 computer science grads.  But there is an army of self-taught software engineers that who don’t hold a degree.  In fact, there is no correlation between being a good software engineer and having a college degree.  Overall, for all jobs, only 33% of business leaders believe educational institutions are graduating students with competent skills.

So, don’t fall for the work shortage numbers published.  Many job openings are because workers vacated their jobs to take other positions or careers.

Learn basic executive skills

Given that America is sending young men and women to college to learn a career that doesn’t exist yet, it would seem important to teach students basic problem-solving skills that can be applied at any time or place.

My answer to young people searching for a career – be flexible.  You are trying to hit a moving target when you chart a career these days.  You will likely have many careers over your lifetime.  Your skills can be applied in many areas.  Limiting yourself to what you narrowly earned your college degree for would mean you would have to pass up opportunities that come your way.

In the quest for equality in society, when everyone has a college degree, what is its value?  It’s just like welfare.  When rent, food, cell phones and health care are free, their value becomes zero.  When government pays for everything, prices rise to the point of being unaffordable (look at federally insured home loans, government back school loans, Medicare/Medical-funded health care).  Fathom that bi-direction.

Keep your periscope up.  Watch for changes in the economic fabric of America.  The financial classes are making all the money.  How many want to become bankers?  If you seek a high income and you missed that fact, you are really out of the loop.

The Bible says there is nothing wrong with making lots of money but there is something wrong with loving it.  (The love of money is the root of all evil. – I Timothy 6:10). It is unfathomable today how the banking class could ever get into heaven given that lenders now plunder wealth (obtain near-free money from the Federal Reserve or use your money at less than 1% interest and loan it out at ~4% interest).  A sad thing today is that rich Americans invest in the speculative markets and the poor in the lottery.  The poor cannot see any other way out of their plight beyond a lottery ticket.

On the other hand, if you love children and want to teach them reading, writing and arithmetic, monetary reward may not be your top career priority.

The job interview

During an interview of a new job applicant I often ask the following tongue-in-cheek question: “What do you think you are worth?”  (I pause)

Sometimes the job applicant says: “Oh, I could never work for less than what I was paid on my last job.”  (Thinking I am trying to get them to work for less)

I respond: “Let me explain, we never hire people who are not worth a million dollars.  We can never pay good workers enough for their labor.  We just don’t earn that much profit to pay them that much.” J