21 Jan 2017 15:04 IST

What is your worth?

PIc credit: Arthimedes/Shutterstock

Objectively determining your financial worth will be an eye-opener and help you in your career

“What are you worth?” is a question that is rarely posed to a person, unless it is in the context of their financial value. Although this is only one of the many dimensions of a person’s worth, I will focus on the money aspect now.

Referenced evaluation

This financial dimension is not very well understood. A person tends to determine their worth in relative terms rather than absolute. Let me explain this with an example.

How would you determine the right level of compensation for you and your skills during placement season? In all probability, you will link it to the institute’s standing, the type of companies coming to the campus, and also the jobs being offered.

The next benchmark will be with regard to the average package being offered to others who have been placed. All this is relative. So, in absolute terms, a person’s individual worth is never even considered in this equation.

Such an externally referenced evaluation of financial worth has its own downsides in terms of affecting a person’s self esteem and confidence levels. It could affect individuals at both ends of the spectrum — it could make them doubt their own capabilities or make them over-confident.

More importantly, they remains oblivions to their own strengths and weaknesses, thereby neither leveraging their strengths, nor working on overcoming their weaknesses.

Balanced approach

A balanced and more objective approach to benchmarking the financial worth of an individual with regard to a job and the package for the same, involves a completely different approach.

~ Frank assessment: First, it would require a brutally frank assessment of the person’s skills. Note here that by skills, I mean actual skills that deliver results, not qualifications or degrees. These need to be evaluated in the context of a typical role that the person would like to pursue. For example, a student aspiring for a role in finance would require excellent numerical and analytical skills.

~ Homework: Next, the person needs to do a bit of homework and find out the market value of such skills. This is relatively easy nowadays, thanks to the internet. Try to find out what deliverables are expected from a person using these skills in a job. Then try to extrapolate that in the context of any business, and how much such a contribution would be worth, in terms of business results.

Be objective

The two points mentioned above would not only give a person a more objective view of their worth but also throw up areas of improvement, which would help increase their value. For example, a finance executive and a senior manager would both be required to have numerical skills. But the manager would be expected to also know analytical and people skills.

The problem arises when an individual who possesses only numerical and analytical skills aspires to be a senior manager, just because he/she has a management degree. This mismatch is very clearly assessed during interviews and is a key reason why students don’t get placed easily.

The fact is that a majority of students specialising in marketing end up having very poor communication skills. Yet, they neither realise this nor do they work towards developing the same.

I would strongly recommend that you sit down and determine what you are worth, regardless of whether you have been placed or not. This would be an eye-opener and help you in your career.

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