You Are Valuable

What is Value?

Say the word 'value' and a few things come to mind: promotion, self-worth, productivity, etc. As frequently as the word value is used, it seems hard to define or demonstrate. I have spoken with colleagues who are up for a promotion. "How do I show my value?" they ask. They ponder over the ambiguity of the word. They further struggle with how they show their value to a supervisor despite having a list of accomplishments. Which brings me to my next question...

"How do you show your value in the workplace?"

Some may start by looking up the definition of value. Webster's dictionary has a few as one can imagine: 

1) a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged;

2) relative worth, utility, or importance

Given the context of this post, these two definitions seem the most relevant to the subject at hand.

Or are they?

I think back to a friend who was looking for a job who said she wasn't 'cut out' for the positions she sought. I thought to myself "You have a degree from a world class institution. You're personable, communicative, accomplished. You bring so much....

"Wait a minute..." I thought to myself. 

The word value was about to cross my mind. I restrained myself from speaking out loud. Instead, I let empathy be my guide. She'd been unemployed for months and I was afraid she may have thought I was being patronizing rather than helpful. I offered to look over her resume and meet in person for support.

Looking back, I wished I would have said something. 

I say this because as a professional she does have value even if she's not employed at the moment. She has value because she is talented, reliant, and works hard. And I had known her to produce great results.

Why It's Hard to Show Value

Even when a professional is outstanding, why is it hard to show value? Or better yet, why is it hard for supervisors to see our value

When I worked in food service, I was taught to greet customers within five seconds of them walking through the door, hand them their correct order, and clean everything down to the shine. We were told these 'tiny details' added value to the customer experience.

And it did. But that's not what brought customers back. It was looking someone in the eye while greeting them and using their name. Asking them which condiments they wanted and moving tables together so a large party could sit together. 

To me it was these details that not only added value but built relationships. 

Yes, adding value builds relationships. 

Yes, it takes time. 

But it's worth it. 

Some people gawk at small talk because they think it's trivial or a waste of time. I see it as an opportunity to get to know someone and build a relationship. 

It's vulnerable building relationships with people because we're afraid of being judged or ‘seen'. So we keep our guard up. We settle on a 'working relationship’ (ask yourself how long did you last in a job with such a dynamic?!) That's why it's hard to ask for a raise. "How will I be viewed for asking for more money?” "What happens if I'm told no?"

Value = Relationships

So you may wonder how building a relationship sets the stage for adding value. 

Because people do business with people they know. Another name for it is connection.

I know what you're thinking. You may not want to get too close to people at work. I understand. A friend once told me “You can be personable without being too personal." When we get to know our co-workers, they have an opportunity to not only know us, but understand how we approach our work and so forth. We also get to understand our co-workers in return.

But most importantly, we get to understand ourselves better in relation to others in our life's work. If we want others to value us, we must first value ourselves. We must know what we bring to the table, how we deliver, and if we take ownership in our work (both the good and the bad). 

Showing our value starts with our own selves. If we can't see it, it's not fair to ask others if they can. 

With that being said, we can know our worth, show our value, and still not get the job or promotion. 

So what do you do? Do you continue to try?!

Of course you do! 

You are Valuable! 

When I was a student at Tacoma Community College, I worked a few odd jobs. And I worked hard!  I worked graveyard and swing shift at two workplaces. Talking about it now makes my head spin.  I also was a reporter for our school paper and president of the Black Student Union. It was crazy but I developed a work ethic during that time I had no idea would influence my career. 

Having a work ethic added value to my life because I learned how to work towards a goal. When I go out in the world, I can demonstrate my value because I own it, walk in it and know what I have gone through to get where I am today. 

If you find yourself at a crossroad of not getting that promotion, job, whatever it is you seek, take a moment to pause. Maybe it's not the right time or company. You may have to further your personal development or skills set. That is fine. If it's worth it to you, you will put in the work. Always remember, it's not how far you have to go, but how far you have come. 

Now that I have shared with you my thoughts, I'd like to hear from you! How do you define value? How do you show it to the world?! 

In my next post, I will be talking about how I manage my time with so much to do!

Until next time,