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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181 // Carving A Career Out Of Nothing

196 // New Drugs For Depression

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28 Comments

  1. Lauren

    It’s very difficult isn’t it, to not let what others value about you to become what you value about yourself and what defines you. There are so many famous people with wonderful success stories after having every last door slammed in their faces, because some how they found a way to keep going and keep chasing their dreams. I wonder how many times they nearly gave up? I wonder how many sacrifices they made, how many jobs they did that they hated, how many people and their opinions they had to tolerate to stay on the right path?

    No matter what you have to do to get by, just don’t let go of your dreams and what you love. Protect it fiercely and tell yourself that everything before you reach your goals, is just temporary. Keep going until your reality meets your dreams.

    X

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Paul Green

      You’re hitting all the nails on the head there Lauren, you could get yourself a job as a joiner.

      Theres so much truth in what you’re saying and I think everyone should always hang on to what they want and keep working for it. I know I will.

      I suppose it is just a reality check, and a mark of how much further I have to go. Oh well, on we trot and thank you for your marvellous message of inspiration.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Lauren

        Haha 🔨🔨🔨

        I hear you, reality checks can bruise a little but you got this. Keep going 🙋‍♀️

        P.S. It took me a while to find those hammers but I was determined to include them. Comment dedication right there ☝️😂

        Like

    2. dd416

      I totally agree with everything you said. I want to be an author and also an entertainment journalist but i am so scared of rejection because I had this one teacher just belittle me one time during a presentation and it stuck with me. but I can and will not give up,because like you said there are many famous people who had the door slammed in their face.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. S. Hansen

    I have no great advice for this situation… I mean I do a job I could do with one hand tied behind my back and at times have done while rolling around the store on trollies…
    On the other hand it pays me more than my previous job which required two years of specialised training… so that’s confusing.
    I think you have to take your self worth from the people that count. Random employer has a side of A4 with your work experience on it. They don’t know your work ethic, your talent with metaphors, your life experience or that you’d be a font of knowledge if they would just employ you. They don’t know you.
    Siobhan knows you and she’s sticking around, she’s my bestie so I know she isn’t an idiot. You’ve got a lot of value Paul but people are too distracted by ticking clocks and societal convention to notice you my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Paul Green

      Always reliable for some up lifting words Hansen.

      I know full well you are right. You said it, they just don’t know you. And they are so inundated that they don’t even need to get to know you. That is also partly why the salaries are so low, so many people are applying for jobs.

      I’ll keep going and see what I can make of it. You too I hope Hansen, when is the second book coming?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. S. Hansen

        Well as long as we both know why we can’t get our dream jobs everything is fine… :p I have found the manual labour and tedious factory work stuff to be better paid because people turn there nose up at it. But it works for me because it gives me plenty of thinking time. It’s all about what works for you and paying them bills.
        I was honestly hoping to get the second book at least ready for editing by the time a year ticked over from the first publish. Things aren’t looking too good for that right now :/
        Although about half of the first book was written in the space of roughly two weeks, so there’s hope if I can get past writers block or whatever is holding me back from writing.

        Like

  3. crackedreality

    Great post. I was unemployed for three years and it really hit my mental health badly. Even as a literature graduate I was rejected a job in a bookshop because I didn’t have experience selling books. It’s a cruel world for the creative types.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Goose Andeluse

    I hear you! I’m in a city that’s at a cost of living of 117 over the national average sitting just a few classes shy of an engineering degree. In the currently unlikely scenario I did get it completed, I can look forward to a whopping salary of (from an actual job posting) $30k. 😯
    Consulting salary.com I find my current qualifications to be worth $36080. I’ve had better, but this number is realistic. Now, this puts me on the shitty side of the tax bracket so my take home after deductions and cs is more like $26375. The income driven student loans and one half of the rent takes another $11500, leaving me with barely over $1000 per month to pay for everything that isn’t a structure to take shelter from life in.
    In exchange, I get stress, anxiety, drinking problems, etc.
    On the other hand, I can dive into my creativity. I’m broke and being berated daily with phone calls. If I put in enough effort, I might be able to summon the creation I pictured in my mind or something close to it. I soak in my self gratification for such a job well done. Then, the trial. You present, brace yourself, and hope that if you don’t get the payoff you at least get a freaking compliment, even if it’s too obviously faked. Once in a great while, your work resonates and you enjoy the bounty of your efforts. Life of a starving artist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      The numbers are grim reading. Kudos to you for doing it though, I’m still one stage behind you and I feel like you’ve just roadmapped the way, and quite frankly it doesn’t get me excited.

      I hope there is some artistry left somewhere that is of some value to someone somewhere.

      I hope it begins to work for you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. unironedman

    Yes, it’s a bit of a race to the bottom these days. A buyer’s market and that includes employers. As a freelance graphic designer, I can relate to your post, and feel your pain. Our daughter has just started college this week, and is interested in taking anthropology and sociology as two of her subjects. When I told one of my mates, he said that’s great – she can get a job in Facebook – they are always looking for anthropology graduates as they really want to understand the way the human mind works… that to me was profoundly depressing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul Green

      Ah man, some people just don’t get it. My heart sank a little too.

      Great stuff on the graphic design. I think I need to retrain and/or learn the ropes of it. I rushed into non-creative subjects at college and university. I think some retraining is in order.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. unironedman

        If it’s any help, although I did go to art college, I ended up playing in bands for years before I finally returned to graphics. And you don’t need a college degree for that either; a short, intense course can get you started and then learn the ropes on the job. Best way, I reckon.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. openhearttin

    It’s frustrating. I’m in the same boat. I do believe we determine our worth though. If I want to settle for what other people are paying, then that’s what I get, but if I think I deserve better, I’m not going to settle. Faith and patience is what I’m learning, but my patience is running thin lol. Best of luck with interview.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anne Clare

    Good luck on your interview! It’s tough to find a job that’s creatively interesting AND lucrative- and to make the creative jobs pay off takes a LOT of work and time (as evidenced by a couple of family members who’ve done it- the rest of us just got ‘day jobs.’ Though I did find that teaching required a lot of creativity, and was pretty fun:) ) Maybe if you’re (temporarily) stuck in a dull job, you’ll have amazing amounts of creative energy stored up at the end of each day????

    Liked by 1 person

  8. whencatsattackblog

    I agree with you that creative jobs tend to be harder to find and pay a lot less than they should. Wil Wheaton wrote a post a while back about being contacted by a group interested in publishing some of his blogs, but they didn’t want to pay him for them. It was a really eye-opening about what looks to be an unfortunate trend: http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/you-cant-pay-your-rent-with-the-unique-platform-and-reach-our-site-provides/ .

    I have a lot of freelance designer friends, bloggers, web designers, and even some basic technology specialists who constantly are hounded for work they’ll do for free or next to nothing. The ones who have survived are the ones who refuse to lower the worth of their work and know how to market themselves to clients that want quality and are willing to pay it. They had to put in their dues, to be fair. One of my friends worked for a number of years at a corporate email marketing company and then with Princeton Review…but she had a plan of becoming a freelance email marketer and web designer. It was just a stepping stone for her.

    And like your example of music…being great at your work doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be famous. One of the biggest advantages of sites like YouTube is that I have been able to find so many unique musicians I would have never known in the radio-only days. It was cost prohibitive for people starting out to advertise, use a recording studio, create physical copies of their music. Now you have so many opportunities online to not only get exposure you wouldn’t otherwise have, but also release single songs or albums to sites like iTunes and build up your fanbase.

    But it is still a “radio friendly,” music for the masses industry. In reality shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent, fans ultimately choose the vanilla acts…anything you would either hear on the radio or see in a theater every day of the week.

    I went to get my Master’s in Education. I really wanted to be a high school business and marketing teacher. But when I graduated there were no teaching jobs to be had anywhere within a 2 hour radius. And then I saw their starting salaries…the same or less than what I had started out with after my 4-year degree 😦 With about $30k more in student loans. I ultimately had to go back to email marketing and got a job doing less than I did in my previous job and making $10k more a year. How does that work? And it was $15k higher than the teaching position. It sucks…I had to give up something I’m passionate about in order to basically not live on Ramen Noodles all the time.

    Have you considered working with a recruiting agency? That seems to be the way to go for a lot of people I know who freelance or desire a more specialized creative kind of position. That’s actually how I found my current position. There are some downsides, a lot of jobs are short-term, and depending on where you live, there may not be benefits or anything you would get with a full-time position. But they do a lot of the legwork for you and can usually use their contacts to get your name noticed more often, even in a sea of applicants.

    Best of luck and please don’t let it get you down. It’s possible you may have to modify your plan of where you want to be eventually and when you’ll get there. But don’t lose sight of it and consider anything else before that point a stepping stone. And don’t settle for something that is below your worth. As my best friend always says, “If the company wants me to pick rocks, I’ll pick rocks. But I’ll be looking for another job while I pick those rocks.”

    Like

  9. mydangblog

    Great post. I hear this from so many people these days–employers just don’t seem to value creativity, or people who could really bring so much to their work. I wish you all the best in your interview, but don’t base your self-worth on what a prospective employer might do. Keep writing–I really value the things you have to say:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. helentastic67

    Sweet music! Ironically, people never value me until I have moved on to the next thing. That quiet space in between is painful however take it as the Universe giving you rest time before it all gets crazy again. Thanks for the vote of confidence for all our unappreciated creative endeavours. Good luck! Cheers,H

    Like

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