What are You Worth?
Planning a career change or getting ready to ask for a promotion? Here's how to calculate your financial worth.

By Laura Benjamin

Have you ever noticed how much more you appreciate what you're worth to your organization when it comes time to update your resume? Perhaps it's a merger, an acquisition, a re-engineering, or it's just time to move on…but the simple act of documenting what you achieved in your job makes you sit back and say to yourself, "Wow! I really DID accomplish something here. I really do have a lot to offer!"

Don't wait until you're ready to leave your organization to gain a better understanding of what you're worth. Not only will it help you position yourself for promotion, increased responsibilities, or simply to hang onto the job you already have, but it will boost your self-confidence. You will see yourself as a solution to a problem versus someone who is only defined by her job description.

Here's how to calculate your worth:

List your 'Hall of Fame' achievements

List the accomplishments, projects, assignments or initiatives you are most proud of. They don't have to have won you an award or a promotion. These are the successes that solved a significant problem, brought people together, made your customers happiest, or better yet - made your boss happiest.

Most importantly, these are the highlights of your career where you feel you made a significant difference. What were the circumstances? Discuss the events leading up to or surrounding each problem or scenario you faced. How long had the problem existed? How many people had lost their jobs over this issue? How many customers had abdicated to the competition? How many employees had experienced accidents, or long-term disability? What was the history surrounding this issue and why was it so difficult for others to resolve it?

Quantify

Gather the facts and data to support the bottom line benefits you achieved. The best time to gather this information is when you're closest to it, both geographically and chronologically.

Did you reduce employee turnover or customer complaints? Did you increase satisfaction scores, revenue, or on-time shipping? What would it have cost your organization to hire a consultant to do what you did? What if the problem continued for another 6 months…what could have happened?

Categorize

Group your accomplishments according to functions: Operations, Project Management, Teambuilding, Sales, Leadership, etc. This will help you spot those areas where you excel, which clarifies where you may be of most benefit in the future. It also gives you an indication where your talents lie. We aren't always good just at those things we like to do, but many times we choose to put our energies into things that we enjoy.

Validate

Ask those around you if they remember the impact of what you accomplished. Often, we rely only on our perspective, which is just one 'data point' on the map of reality. Ask your boss and your bosses' boss for feedback on the impact of this accomplishment, from their perspective.

Project

Now, brainstorm how each accomplishment could apply to other areas of need within your organization or in other organizations. Use "what if" assumptions to arrive at probable results. This will help you create a template to use for future problem solving opportunities.

For example: If you taught the customer service department to sell product at each customer contact, could you not apply the same strategies to Shipping and Receiving or the Purchasing Department?

Don't operate in a vacuum

Clone. Look for the commonalties of what you have accomplished and find ways to be of benefit to others by using the same strategies…just tweaked to fit their different business operations. These are the skills that consultants use when they move from client to client by identifying reoccurring patterns.

Think and act more strategically by applying this formula and you'll begin to see patterns of how you can be of best benefit to your employer, your clients, and yourself.

Laura Benjamin works with managers, leaders, and business owners who want new ways to develop and retain top talent. She is a Meeting Professionals International (MPI) "Platinum Speaker" for 2003/2004, member of the National Speakers Association, Past-President of the Colorado Springs Society for Human Resource Management, and she is listed in "Who's Who" in America. Laura presents for business, government, and trade associations throughout North America and Europe. Subscribe to her free Management Tips newsletter at: www.laurabenjamin.com


 
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