I’m not sure who it can be attributed to, but it is said that by definition, we are paid what we are worth. A professional football player can make millions of dollars because he has rare attributes like Olympic caliber sprinting speed, exceptional physical drive and coordination, or a world-class throwing arm. As a tradeoff, they typically have short careers, high risk of serious injury and sometimes have rocky personal lives. A teacher, besides their financial compensation, receives payment in the form of satisfaction about the success of the students whom they teach, challenge and encourage along the way, and a schedule that often gives them rewarding time with their own family. A stay at home mom receives payment with typically aiding her husband’s career, improving her family’s lifestyle, and in priceless moments with her children.
So, if we are paid what we are worth, why are some of us unsatisfied? Should we gripe that our skills are unappreciated by society or that we may not have received a pay increase recently? The naivety of doing this is that many others are in the same boat or worse off. For example, some union or government workers might receive a relatively low hourly wage, but have a wonderful health package and handsome pension. Also, people in a low-stress job should not envy the compensation of someone in a high stress job. If you are an accountant in a job with work-life balance, you shouldn’t envy the compensation of a CPA working 60 hours a week.
The difference, it would seem, is all in attitude. You might be missing the boat entirely. If you are a grumpy stay a home mom who complains more than you treasure the moments, then you are paid what you worth. If you gripe that your profession should make as much as another profession with no comparison of other factors such as special skills, intrinsic rewards and flexibility, then you are paid what you are worth. However, if you have a good attitude in whatever you choose to do, then you are paid what you are worth.
An executive at one of the jobs I had distributed the below quote from Chuck Swindoll to all of the employees. It is timeless.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home, or an individual.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.
Once we embrace a positive attitude and gratitude we embrace life with its challenges and rewards. I think of a woman I know who just retired after 30 years at a common job with the same company. She is a happy person and looking forward to travelling in retirement and spending even more time with her grandkids who adore her. She is paid what she is worth!