Suppose for a moment that every single job on this planet paid the same salary. It wouldn’t matter whether you were a Sanitation Worker picking up litter after a parade, or you were the Mayor of the City, drove an ambulance or worked in a steel mill; everyone received the identical compensation. With money and the status it brings out-of-the-way and a non-factor, what would you want to do as an occupation?
Think about it and stretch your imagination for a moment; if all jobs had equal compensation attached to them, you could no longer be denied – or afford as the case may be – that red-hot sports car you may have always wanted. IF the compensation was the same, no house would be more out of reach for you than anyone else you knew. What it would really come down to then was what do you want to spend your money on?
The job you would choose to pursue, and the things you would choose to acquire; you’d pursue and acquire because they hold some value to them that you attach. So not everyone would want that log cabin by the lake with the gravel and sand country road leading to it at the end of the day. Nor by contrast would others choose a condominium on the 28th floor of a densely populated metropolis. Some might choose to still rent, while others would choose to own outright. Behind those choices there are values and ideals being expressed by those that make those decisions.
So pertaining to work, why would some choose to operate an ice-cream truck while others would choose to go after a job teaching? The answer lies in that individual again attaching perceived value in the work being done. So while the Ice-Cream Operator might value the autonomy, the popularity, and making children happy while working independently, a person choosing teaching might value the imparting of wisdom and seeing children grow. The Teacher might also feel they have a knack for delivery, and the ability to connect with students that gives him or her satisfaction.
Inherent Value therefore is some measure of importance we assign as individuals to work being done, and by association, the people doing it. This is why when we meet someone new, we will within the first few questions ask, “So what do you do for a living?”. Based on our own values and those of our society, if the person responds with a trade, job or career that we attach a strong value too, then our estimation of the person rises. By contrast, if the person responds with a trade, job or career that we and our society at large attach less value to, we often by association, see the person doing the work as somehow of less value.
Now whether you personally care about what others think of you and what you do for a living or not, that really isn’t the point of discussion here. What is of significance however is what is it that you yourself find value in doing? What do you take comfort in, happiness in, satisfaction in doing? You may find you can answer this question with a several occupations, jobs or trades. The next thing to do is to look at your own skills, qualifications, motivation and interests and determine what is the distance between where you stand today and how near or far those occupations are from you.
So if I find the work of a Truck Driver of value to me and I have the qualifications to drive a rig, it may be an occupation that I could achieve relatively quickly, and derive satisfaction from doing. Conversely, I might also see the value in the work of an Astronaut, and by doing some research learn that the job of just training to make the shortlist of candidates would take more years than I want to devote to that endeavour. In this case, I can admire and respect those in the field, but I personally might choose to get on with other things and not really divert any energy to really moving toward that goal. My best shot might be then to buy my way onto a space trip as a tourist. (Yes you really can start to do this).
Knowing what you value with respect to work is one key to overall happiness with your chosen occupation. So when someone down the road says, “Good job”, it validates our own belief that we are valued and performing at a desired level by our peers. And when a customer or client expresses their satisfaction with our performance and it improves their lives in some way, so too do we feel good because it validates our work and the choice we made to do it.
Now in our world, we don’t receive identical compensation for work performed, but should that really have as much of an impact on what we decide to do with our time? Yes money buys the things that we want in life, and they have value to us like a cottage or a holiday. However, you will spend 7 or 8 hours a day, 140 hours a week, 6,720 hours (4 weeks vacation thrown in) doing work of some kind in any given year; shouldn’t it be something YOU value?
Something to think about.