Something for Nothing

I hung up the phone and immediately felt verklempt.

The caller told me someone recently helped him with his retirement fund.  Now he wanted advice on the best way to continue receiving that help for cheap.

Insert -> Ah-Ha moment.

Some folks will gladly use your time and not compensate you.

If they do attempt to compensate you, it will be in a way that benefits them.

Not you.

I spent 8 minutes on the call.

According to online career resource websites, that time is worth $ 6.35.

Why the caller felt comfortable asking me how to screw someone out of time was a bit unsettling too.

Either the caller thought I was an easy mark or a hustler.  Neither position felt good in this instance.

I offered one word.


OK, maybe I added a few more words.

 “Ask how s/he wants to be compensated.”

“Stockbrokers get paid.  Financial consultants get paid,” I told the caller. “Someone helping you with your retirement account may want to get paid in a way that is beneficial to them.”

*Call Ended*

Now, this may not be a “NewsFlash” for you.   But if it is, your time is valuable.

You have about 657,450 hours to spend in a lifetime.

If you want to share your time, that’s a beautiful gesture.

If it’s your choice how to use those hours.

And the ROI (return on investment) benefits you.

And how you use your time helps you achieve your goals.

Thank you for reading and sharing your time.

Open Salaries: the Good, the Bad and the Awkward


Companies’ open-salary policies bring pay inequities out in the open, prompting awkward conversations among employees and managers about who are paid too little or too much.

Story Synopsis | Salaries Revealed

Open salaries: humbling for some while empowering others.
For many workers, self-worth is directly tied to annual earnings. And when those two don’t match AND it’s publicly disclosed – the reveal can be cringeworthy.

Yet, In some large and small companies, like Buffer, employee salaries are public knowledge, and for others, like SumAll, individual salaries are available internally.

In fact, learning you make less than the new hire who just joined your department can drive you to distraction as it did one at SumAll. The Account Executive, named in the article, learned the new hire was making $10-grand more, and it bothered her so much she asked why.

What she learned is, the new hire determined what skills she’d need in the new job and then discovered the market value. Next, she researched what others, those with the same skills and experience, were getting in the same position. When the new prospect was hired, she negotiated for the appropriate salary. Then, using the new hire’s information, the account executive began to research for her next pay raise.

1- know your worth
2- see the value of your contribution
3- research salaries by industries

In the past, revealing one’s salary was taboo; then, in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law by President Obama, put the spotlight on the need for transparency in salaries. Today, it’s not uncommon for workers to learn what their colleagues earn.
Yet, salary transparency makes some employees uncomfortable, but others are using open salaries as a tool to get paid what they believe they are worth on the job.

Source: Open Salaries: the Good, the Bad and the Awkward  By Sue Shellenbarger (Jan. 12, 2016, 1:48 p.m. ET -WSJ)

Worth vs. Perceived Value

The Chicago Bears signed free agent Julius Peppers to a record-setting contract in the franchise’s history.  Peppers hadn’t even stepped onto Soldier Field yet, and even when he did, there would be no guarantee he’d be worth the money the team paid.  

In the world of negotiating, however, worth and perceived value aren’t necessarily equal. It is your job as a writer to know the difference to get your desired rate. 

“Setting fees and negotiating salaries have nothing to do with what YOU believe you are worth. It has nothing to do with what you believe your skills and talents are worth in comparison to others. It doesn’t matter what the market conditions are. Always remember it is what the market, prospects and/or hiring manager will pay to acquire YOUR services.”

You must assess the conditions and understand your intrinsic value and how it relates to the professional situation, even if it’s volunteering. You must understand your perceived value (tangible and intangible benefits) factors into each negotiation you encounter. Once you determine your skills, education, experience accomplishments, and (this is huge) the PSYCHOSOCIAL (involving both psychological and social aspects) benefits you provide, then you can demand a fee or salary above what THEY believe to be your perceived value. 

Case-in-point, former Free Agent now Chicago Bear Julius Peppers ‘ Agent Carl Carey, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, negotiated a contract with Chicago bears that is the most lucrative contract in franchise history. Carey allegedly beat the odds at $91.5 million over six years – $20 million the first year and $42 million guaranteed. While Peppers is a premier talent, I don’t think Carey beat the odds at all. I believe he saw how the Chicago Bears organization valued his client (Peppers). 

“Carey beat the odds and brokered a deal that was not supposed to happen in an environment of testy collective bargaining and agreement talks and positioning for a 2011 lockout. Peppers age (30) and questions about his motivation were supposed to work against them in the negotiating process.” 
“That deal is so good that Carl did” Peppers says. “He’s not even a full-time agent. He’s a professor at (Texas Southern)…

The bottom line in negotiating a salary/fee is understanding your prospective employer/clients’ expectations. While your prospect may say, “I want a nice tight copy for my website, a communication plan that will reinforce my company’s brand globally.” You must remember that it’s not a goal; it is an objective.  To secure your fee, you must uncover your prospect’s ultimate goal and assure her you’ll help her achieve it.

Julius Peppers and his agent, Carl Carey, believed the Bears wanted to get to the Super Bowl.  Peppers knew he could be instrumental in getting the team to the NFL playoffs. Peppers stated his ability to the Bears’ unspoken goal resulted in a lot of money for Peppers.  

The same can be true for you, the writer. You, first, have to discern what is really at stake for your prospect. 

Copyright (c) 2010 MH