As a keen follower of your weekly column, kindly allow me space to share a recent experience which made me ask the question, “What am I worth?”. A few months ago, I submitted an application to a job I had come across online. It was an exciting opportunity based in a thriving east African economy with great prospects for career, personal and financial advancements. Not long after submitting my application, I got a call from a recruiter based in the Middle East regarding my suitability. He was quick to say he was highly impressed with my qualifications and experience and wanted to proceed with my application to the next stage by introducing me to the actual employers. He also asked about my expectations, interests and willingness to relocate and I responded accordingly.
Over the next few weeks after that initial phone call, there were several more phone calls, e-mails and Skype conversations with my prospective employers. However, I noted that a number of things changed. Firstly, I was offered a position lower than that I had applied for and which was specially created for me to beef up their team and my would-be immediate boss who I was told had more experience than me. Fair enough. Between the first and subsequent phone conversation, the pay offer nearly halved. By the final conversation, the offer was one third of what I had initially requested. Housing and vehicle were to be provided but details of this were not disclosed fully. Considering the cost of living in eastern Africa, notwithstanding comparative packages for expatriates in the region, I made it clear in my final communication that unless we reverted to my initial financial request, I would not be taking up the offer. By this time, I had done my due diligence and research upon which I based this position.
Nearly three months have passed without a response and it may be wishful thinking to expect one at this stage. As a result of the experience, I took time to reflect on why things had turned out as such and what I would do differently next time. One thing is for sure, and that is I would still research and, where possible, consult colleagues in my network of professionals working abroad as to conditions in their regions. I would, as something different, be better prepared to articulate my worth in financial and non-financial terms with clear benefits to the employer. I would however not compromise my worth if and unless equal recompense was made by a prospective employer. For example, a reduction in pay offered would have to be matched by an equivalent increase in some other benefit e.g. provision of education for children or pension fund, for example.
On a broader scale though, the experience gave me an opportunity to think of my value in financial and non-financial terms so as to bargain better for myself without any prospective employer thinking they are being short-changed. My financial value comprises what I need to be able to provide for my family and medium to long term financial goals such as building a house, education fund for my children, investments, and so on. My non-financial value comprises my network, character, goodwill, skills and other attributes to which a price tag is difficult or impossible to apply but which compliment my overall package as a human resource and potential employee to a firm.
I hope that other Rise and Shine column readers can also learn big lessons from these reflections of mine. How much are you worth? Have you done a holistic evaluation of your worth? May be now is the time for you to do that exercise. Good luck!
NOTE: This week’s entry is from an anonymous keen follower of the Rise and Shine column. He was influenced by a recent Rise and Shine column article that asked the question “How much are you worth?” He was also influenced by a column article on Tom Bott’s framework for deciding whether to stay on or leave for another job.