Recently I’ve had conversations with several people about self worth or related topics. Some people need to feel emotionally rewarded in some way by their job, for example being in healthcare would give you a feeling at the end of your day that you helped an ill or recovering person. Some people need to see visible evidence of their efforts. For example, if you are a bricklayer you will be able to see an additional few rows of bricks at the end of your day. And then some people are just driven by financial rewards. They will do anything for money. These can be anyone ranging from your average meth head sex workers to your suited and smiling business consultant.
I’ve been two of these roles, and no, sex worker is not one of them. When I finished high school I wanted a job I could travel with and I followed my guidance counselor’s advice and somehow ended up studying radiography and I worked in Georgia, Tennessee, California and Johannesburg South Africa. I couldn’t get qualified when I moved to the UK so I did several temp jobs until I ended up in Birmingham England and got a job for British Gas as a call center agent.
I detest phones. I have a squeaky voice like Minnie Mouse and a slow as molasses southern accent. No one can understand anything I say. Even when I make a concentrated effort to say ‘wahhturrr’ instead of ‘waaaaatahhh’ I still get confused looks. And no water.
At British Gas I made a point of always moving on, getting new skills, getting as much training as possible until I became first, a business analyst and then a data quality specialist and then a data migration manager and then I was head hunted by an international consulting house. I was brought on in hope they won a specific contract and when they didn’t they made me redundant.
So I spent 6 months there at an obscene salary, and I only went on a single project. I then was made redundant at a point when I was desperately homesick for returning to South Africa and my children, and it gave me the perfect opportunity and cash payout to do so.
I’ve been lucky to not be without a client my entire time here in Cape Town and to make a decent salary while doing so. Don’t get me wrong, it’s about a quarter of what I made in Europe and probably even half that with the current exchange rate of 20 rand to the pound. But we get by.
So when other people in IT complain that they are not satisfied by their jobs I cannot relate. I don’t get my feeling of self worth from my job. I get that from within. My job is just my job. I want it to pay well.
I don’t mean that I would want to clean sewers or even be back in healthcare. I enjoy what I do and I’m good at it. But I won’t lie, it’s the cash that drives me.
What gives you your sense of self worth? Does your job give you satisfaction or is it all for the money? I’m very interested in hearing your views.