Archive for January, 2010

Perception is Reality

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Something happens. You go forth at the best of your ability with the best intentions. Things seem to pan out alright – you did what you had to do according to plan. Then you turn around to find that others around you respond in ways you didn’t anticipate. It may even be the case the response was undesirable.

What went wrong? You trace back through your steps – nope, everything occurred as intended. Except the response.

Well, being as unpredictable and illogical as we are it is no surprise the ‘human factor’ is at play here. While you may understand your own actions very well, it’s not in our nature to put in the effort to try and understand other people’s circumstances. At least off first impressions. We lean towards simplicity and the ‘easy way’ – no one has time or patience for explanations.

And to me, that itself is a tragedy of human nature.

The Human-Element Economy: A Brief Examination of Our Obsession with Bigger Paychecks

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Getting into the workforce seems like the natural progression from graduating these days. We set ourselves up with education, usually in a specific field, then dress up our resume as best we can and then compete for the career of our dreams. We get our foot in the door and things start to pick up steam from there. Sometimes it leads to the success we’re looking for, sometimes it doesn’t but what we have in common is that we always seem to strive for more.

The reasons why we strive for more are varied. For some a mortgage has to be paid, an ego needs boosting or an obsession with shoes has to be fulfilled. And with these needs draws us towards the ever-so-delicious higher paycheck. But it is very easy to over-simplify our needs to a dollar/euro/pound salary.

Instead, take ‘other’ salaries into account – emotional salaries (positive and negative). In other words, what price would you put onto things such as flexibility, enjoyment, time with friends and family, stress, responsibility? And yes, I did just say to put a number against things that are considered ‘priceless’.

Now, put a price on your own capability; what do you think your value is in the workplace at this very moment? With this we can put it into this formula:

V – Pe + Ne = S

where: V = Self-assessed value in the workforce; Pe = Cost of Positive emotional/social elements; Ne = Gain from Negative emotional/social elements; S = Salary range of an ideal job

Using this representation career-oriented people tend to have a higher Ne value (making more sacrifices to achieve more pay), whereas family-oriented people may have a higher Pe value (making more sacrifices to achieve a better balanced life).

So come promotion/new job time take a moment to really look at what you want and how you want to balance your life. You may not use the above formula explicitly but at the very least take the principles into consideration. Realise what you’re willing to sacrifice and you may end up netting more than what your employer can give you.