242 // Determine Your Self-Worth

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I’ve never really been a sentimental person. I don’t really get it. Certainly when it comes to sentimentality over things like jewellery or kitchen ware that is for sure. Then again, I’ve never really been given anything which has been handed down through generations or survived a key moment in my family’s history.

That is apart from my old Toshiba TV I had in my room when I was about 13, which I bought with my own money that my parents had given me. It was a great big thing which was as deep as it was wide. The coolest thing about it was that the boom at the back was see through, meaning you could see all kinds of amazing things like; wires. I remember buying it and thinking that whenever I move out I am going to have this TV forever.

I think it lasted almost a year before breaking, during that year you could have given me thousands and I wouldn’t have sold it. And this is where sentimentality and value have disagreements. That is because the value of something is not actually determined by the seller it is determined by the buyer. So you think your clapped out 1994 Volkswagen Polo XL is priceless because you went on a wonderful road trip around Europe with your wife who sadly passed away but a buyer just sees a worthless heap of junk and will give you £100 for it.

So if the value of something is determined by the person paying, where does that leave my self-worth?

I’ve been applying for jobs now for many months, and in that time I had exactly; 4 emails of interest, 1 telephone interview and on Saturday I will have my first face to face interview. That is a fairly poor showing if you ask me, and you better ask me, because I want to tell you.

Not only have I had little interest, but the majority that are interested are offering such poor salaries. So low* that it is beginning to make a large negative impression on my self-worth. After all, value is determined by the person paying right?

I personally feel I have many skills and talents, I also happen to think I can do the majority of jobs blindfolded with 1 hand tied behind my back, with a mouthful of Skittles Taste The Rainbow. That all counts for nothing though unless the person who is buying my skills and time, agrees. So far they have not.

So where does that leave my self-worth? At the moment it feels low, probably not as low as my market value, but low all the same. Maybe I am just being sentimental about my skills and my potential. Don’t get me wrong, however, I shall not remain in this bucket of self-pity for long – it is too cold for one thing. Regardless of when or what job I do get though, I know I will be trying to earn my living utilising the skills I enjoy, such as writing and creating.

I do feel a little short changed though. As we all have talents and skills in different areas and I feel mine are definitely in the creative areas, but the world seems to be set up for non-creative endeavours. Of course, we have creative industries, but for the average man on the street, the only jobs available are non-creative. Clock in at nine, send some emails, answer some calls, edit the spreadsheet and go home at 5.*

If you happen to be a creative person, you must work for free and hope someone decides you are worth paying for. So keep writing your books, your blogs, your music and create whatever your art may be and just keep your fingers crossed that it is valued by someone eventually.

There will be people out there who will say ‘if you are good enough you will be recognised’. This has proven not to be the case, In one particular study, some of the greatest classical musicians (who play to packed houses of thousands of paying customers) played undercover in the street – people weren’t stopping, people weren’t putting money in their hat. People were asked of their opinions after they walked by and their opinions on some of the greatest musicians on the planet were indifference, they just didn’t know.

People don’t know what the difference between good and bad is until they’re told.

Now I am not saying I am one of the greatest bloggers in the world (I’ll leave that for you to decide), but if you pass me in the street and I am sat typing away, you know it is probably some kind of experiment.

So I leave things on a contradictory tone because the things which I base my self-worth on are not the same things which are valued – in the monetary sense – by so society. This conflict is troubling because it is forcing me down a path which unhappiness can only be waiting. I have to pay bills so, therefore, I have to chase the money, and that puts my self-worth stock price on par with Enron or the Lehman Brothers.

Paul Green

*Just to give you an example, one company offered a salary that was £4,000 per year lower than the salary I was on out of high school 12 years ago. Since that job, after high school, I have lived and studied in 8 countries, got a Degree and a Masters – not to mention a plethora of work experience. 

*I should point out there is nothing wrong with this kind of job at all, and it suits people really well. I just know I won’t find happiness in that. 

Read more, it’s good for you.

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