Thursday, November 04, 2010

What we get paid for...

I had lunch the other day with a long-time friend and work colleague, who just took a new job with a multi-national.

"They seem to love me", he said, "but I don't feel like I'm working nearly hard enough."

I thought about it for a minute, "So maybe you're finally reaching that part of your career where you get paid for what you know, rather than for how fast you can run."

This very statement stopped me dead in my tracks.  When we are young, we assume we get paid to work insanely hard, to be faster, brighter, stronger and more persevering than our colleagues.

As we get older, though, that changes.  As some point, we get paid for other things.

My friend, Joyce, said she believes that pay is directly proportional to stress:  Low-stress jobs don't pay well, in her opinion; high-stress jobs do.  I asked her if she'd ever been a daycare provider.  ;)

Another friend thinks that pay is linked to influence.  It's who you know.

Increasingly, however, I'm coming to realize that you really can be paid for experience and knowledge, work less hard, with less stress (or perhaps manage it better) and get paid more money.  I had another colleague today ask me, "Where did you learn how to do all this stuff???"  My answer?  "I got kicked in the head every day for years.  I decided I wanted to learn how to avoid that." 

I think we grow up with this idea that working harder is better; that the proverbial cake is a lie.  But it seems to not be bearing out.  I'm encouraged by this.

Our parents have known this for years, I suspect, and we simply haven't heard their lessons.

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