(This is a series of posts exploring my goals and direction for life…)
In my last post, I came to the conclusion that in the first job I ever did for money, I undervalued the service I was giving. Where has this led me?
Value of hard work
I love to work hard. I love finding a problem in the real world (physical or digital) and the challenge, knowing that if I put my mind to it, I can solve it. I get frustrated when I run into something I can’t figure out. Often times, finding the right solution takes time. I’ve fixed problems by trying something one day, and then something else the next, day after day, with sometimes days in-between thinking of another thing to try. Sometimes I don’t come to a solution, but often times I do. Sometimes, it is physical and it is literally a matter of the repetitive act of digging shovelfuls of dirt out of a hole to find the water main 6 ft underground that has a hole.
Having the right tools can help in problem solving. When I had to dig the aforementioned hole, I bought a 2 1/2 ft. shovel which made it much easier to get the dirt out of the hole. There are also tools to help solve the digital or process problems we have. Some of these can be in the form of organizational tools to help us keep moving forward with the problem at hand. You have whiteboards, paper, and other mediums to help mind-map or think out loud as you work on a problem. Even working with others is a tool to help in solving problems.
How do I measure value?
I’m being brutally honest here in these posts. I’m writing them for myself and it makes me feel a bit awkward knowing that at some point, someone else might read them, but I feel like I need to do it. As I think about this question, I realize that I love the satisfaction of seeing someone’s eyes light up. This could be because I told them something they didn’t know (I’m sometimes a know-it-all…) or I solved a problem exactly (or in some cases even better) than they expected. Team members have issues and they’ve spent time on them and I quickly can point them in the direction of where to look, or directly help them solve the issue.
I wonder if there might be some pride here too. I might receive satisfaction in knowing that someone else didn’t know how to do something and I did. I think I do an ok job at trying to control the pride and keep it in check. I try to be proud of the ability to find a solution, without seeing myself as better than the person who had the issue or brought it to my attention. This is always a risk in life and we need to keep it in control. Being a religious person, I also recognize that a lot of the success I’ve had in life is due to the blessings God gives to me. The ability for my brain to store and recall lots of random bits of information and the skill he has given me to connect these dots and create new things and solutions. I know that without God, I am nothing, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling some pride in the work I do.
What about compensation
So in my attempt to control pride, do I undervalue the work I bring to team members, my employer, or even clients I do work with? I often feel that I am overcompensated for the work I produce. If you have a contract with someone, it is a requirement in my mind to bring everything to the table and deliver above and beyond what you committed to. If that is the case, why do I still want to not charge people correctly for the work I do? Is it healthy (especially in the aspect of controlling pride) to feel you are overcompensated for what you are producing, thus leading you to continue to provide good work?
I wonder if this compensation issues is about wanting to give rather than receive? Maybe I’ll explore that next time…