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Feeling Valuable in the Work Place

It is disappointing when we are picked last for the softball team.  It hurts when someone tells us we can’t sing or that the dog we just drew looks more like a deformed pig than a dog.  It put us in a place of feeling worthless.  So when we hit on something where we don’t get negative comments from our peers and teachers we cling to it like a drowning person clings to a log in flooding river.

When you care more about what other people say than you care about what you think or what you feel you have just given away your power in the situation every time.

Depending on how many times you have sacrificed your feelings, needs and goals in order to make others happy, may well effect how you take in the rest of this blog post.  When you decide that you are in charge of your world, you are in the position to change how the world treats you.

The corollary is also true. When you are willing to play the victim, you be cast in that role over and over again.

Women in particular have been taught that the way to be accepted is through hard work and self-sacrifice.  They also make one fifteenth what men make according to author Mika Brzezinski in her book Knowing Your Value Women, Money, and Getting What You Are Worth.  “I was my own worst enemy,” reveals Brzezinski.  She admitted that she could see when other people’s stock was up in the work place but not her own.  It put her at a tremendous disadvantage not only did she not know when the time was right to ask for more money, she didn’t know how to ask.  She is not unusual.

Brzezinski interviewed powerful women including Senior Adviser to  President Obama Valerie Jerrett.  Jerrett recounts that  early in career for the City of Chicago’s Department of Law she continued to get additional responsibilities but did not get promotions or salary advancement.  Her mentor, Lucille Dobbins advised her to ask for a promotion.

“Lucille said to me, ‘You are doing more work than your supervisor…you should be a deputy.’ I said, ‘Well my boss knows I’m working hard, and he values what I’m doing.’ She said, ‘You can’t sit around waiting for people to recognize your work, you have to ask for it.  You need to go in there and tell him you should be a deputy.  And you should tell him you want to be in the front suite of offices, because he doesn’t have a woman in the front suite.'”

Jaerett then went on to tell how she thought this was horrible advice, but she followed it and her boss just looked at her and said “Okay”.

“Jarrett was shocked.  She got the promotion and the front office.  ‘I felt that if I was deserving, then my boss should recognize that I was deserving, she reasons.  That’s what bosses do.'”

Jarrett is forever grateful that her mentor taught her that she was not valuing her own work and she needed to be her own best advocate.  Jarrett says that asking for that promotion “was one of the most uncomfortable conversations that I have ever had.”  Women wait to be recognized.  Men charge the hill. “If you’re not asking for a promotion and you’re waiting for your merit to be recognized, men are going to hire you to be close, but you’re not going to get the gold ring.”  The entire book, Knowing Your Value, contains more stories from women such as Tina Brown editor-in-chief of Newsweek, Carol Smith chief brand officer of Elle, and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.  Reading this book is well worth the time.

Here’s my challenge to you. Look into the mirror every morning and evening for a week and tell that person in the mirror.  “You are valuable.  I love you unconditionally.”

I predict something will change for you.  Comment on this blog and let us know what changed.

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