Merge's Blog

What is your worth at work?

Do you believe your worth is recognized in your workplace?

After my father passed away, I was clearing out the basement of his house.  I found an old metal beaten-up trunk tucked away in a corner, one that I actually recall from my childhood travels with my family.  I put it in the pile of things that were destined to be donated to our local Goodwill store. Later that evening, my husband saw it and suggested that I might be able to get about $50 for it if I listed it one of the many online sites that trade in used goods.  Since $50 is better than nothing, I thought that to be a good idea, so I pulled it aside to post online later in the week.

A few days later, a visiting friend saw the trunk and asked me about it.  When I told her about my plan to try and sell it online, she was aghast.  “This is an antique trunk from the 1960’s,” she said, “you need to take it to an antique dealer, you should be able to get far more than $50.”  Intrigued, I did.  Imagine my surprise when the dealer offered me $300 for the trunk; the very one that I originally thought to be of zero value.

Worth varies!

It turns out that this old beaten-up trunk had a different worth, depending on who you asked.  To the Goodwill store, it was old, dented and the paint was peeling, so it was worth just a few bucks, if that.  To an online buyer who probably thought it “interesting” and “unique”, its value was $50.  But to an antique dealer, who recognized its history and its potential, it was worth $300.  For me to achieve the greatest possible outcome, I had to find the person who valued it the most.

There’s a powerful lesson in there if you feel you’re not being valued where you work.  If you want to thrive, be productive, and have the greatest possible outcomes in your career, then you need to find the workplace and people who value you (and your skills) the most.  You need to find the workplace that is equivalent to the antique dealer; the people who recognize your past experience and your future potential, and those who are willing to acknowledge your worth.  And if you’re not currently at this workplace, then you should keep looking until you find it.

I’d love to hear about your search for the workplace in which you’re valued.  Are you there already?  Or are you still looking?  Please share your story, and your challenges, by commenting below.

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