I had to pause when the person complained about her salary. She doesn’t have a college degree and is ten years younger than I am. She has a gap in her work history due to having children. And yet, her salary was comparable to one I was making two years ago with a Master’s Degree and 20 years of experience. I’d never witnessed this person putting in any extra hours at work while I rarely work just the required time.
I didn’t know whether to feel ashamed about my salary history or disgust that someone would have such a sense of entitlement that they thought they deserved what it had taken me years to achieve: an achievement that involved getting my master’s degree while pregnant and giving birth to my first child. And I never took time off work to focus on being a mom.
Then I remembered what someone had recently said to me. The conversation had nothing to do with salaries but everything to do with my philosophy about life. He said “I don’t know why people don’t want to give to help the poor. It’s not really our money anyway. Everything we have is because of God. and I can’t believe God gave us resources so we could only use them to benefit ourselves.”
At the time this was being said to me, I nodded my head vigorously. But then, it was easy to nod my head. He wasn’t attacking me or my belief system.
The comment about the “salary being too low” was. I took at as an indirect slam on me.
I shouldn’t have.
I don’t judge the value of any other person based on his/her salary, so I shouldn’t value myself on that criteria.
Instead of a big pay check, we should all be striving to live a life that makes the world a better place. Period.
For some people, that might mean giving back financially. For others, it might mean giving their time. And for some people, that might simply mean sharing their talents with the world.
For me, it means having a career that involves earning a smaller paycheck but going home every day with a sense that my little corner of the world is a better place. And it means determining my worth not by what I receive but what I give.
And when I do that, I consider myself one of the richest women in the world.