Know Your Worth – and Don’t Let Appearances Fool You!

Sit back and let me tell you a story.

Many, many years ago, a CPA firm asked me to help this company set up their books – and to do the books for the year, so they could perform a certified audit. They told me that company had a new bookkeeper, an older woman. She clearly didn’t know much, but try not to offend her too much. Just get a complete general ledger set up. (This was in the days of manual bookkeeping.)

With a little trepidation, my 25-year-old self showed up on the first day – and met Alice. Indeed, an older woman – about 50. Short. Graying hair. No make-up. A round figure, dressed by K-Mart. Wearing flip-flops because she had hammer-toes that didn’t fit inside shoes. And a face – round, rosy and glowing. This little butterball, filled with love, captivated everyone around her. But, it was true. She didn’t really have much confidence in her bookkeeping skills.

We worked together. As I showed her what to do, she grasped it immediately. Because she already knew. It wasn’t her fault the books were a mess. She had just started the job. But time was of the essence. So we worked together to each take a section of the system and record all the entries for the year – receivables journal, payables journal, payroll, etc. And in about a month, we had everything up and ready for the audit. She was a superb bookkeeper. I wish I had more folks around with skills like hers.

Naturally, Alice and I became very close friends.

A couple of years later, I was shocked when she revealed to me what she was getting paid. Coming from Rhode Island to Newport Beach, she allowed them to pay her just a bit more than she made in Rhode Island. She didn’t realize that they were getting her for about half the going rate in Southern Orange County. Living expenses are much higher in California, for heavens sake!

Alice was reluctant to speak to her bosses. And she didn’t want me to. So, I found her a job at a CPA firm. They were eager to hire her – and felt fortunate to get her at twice the salary she was then earning. With benefits.

Hesitantly, Alice gave notice. Her bosses were so upset, that they offered her the same pay – retroactive to the day she was hired. And full benefits. And a pension. She kept her job.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I keep hearing from people who are unhappy with their jobs, or their earnings. Yet, those are good at what they do are reluctant to face their employers to bargain for better compensation, promotions, or recognition. There’s a fear that you’ll lose your job.

Well, if you’re good at what you’re doing, you’re precious. And if your bosses don’t recognize that because they are blinded by the flashier, less functional people in your department – it’s time to get a new job. Use the Resource Box below to find a great job.

Employers, if you lose a terrific employee because you’ve neglected the dedicated workhorse on your staff, favoring the better-looking, more outgoing personalities – you deserve to lose that person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight to get them back.

Or if you’ve already lost your valuable staff member – use the Resource Box below to find someone new.

Alice stayed with that company until she could no longer work due to a paralyzing stroke. She was valued, loved and respected – and consulted from then until the end.