How Much Are You Worth?

I had a call from a recruiter this morning and the call went the usual way unit the big. question. What did you make at your last job?  Now I don’t like to answer that question.  The first  thing recruiters and HR types want to seem to do is put people “in their place. The funny thing is that the last thing I would do is judge the value of somebody because of what somebody I didn’t know thought of them.  I can’t understand how these people are so willing to do something that is so stupid.  Somebody, who they don’t know opinion matters so much that they are willing to go to any length to get it. Then they discriminate, or not, based on that opinion?

You know, for just about anything else other than salary, that would be illegal.  For good reason. That battle was fought and is over and while I don’t like some of the things that came out of it, I don’t have a problem with not being able to discriminate about anything in a work situation other than the ability to do the job.

Frankly, by any reasonable standard I am worth far more than what I was paid at my last job.  Circumstances worked against me and I didn’t get the raise that I deserved when the added responsibilities and tasks were dumped on my desk.  I didn’t think to ask for a promotion when the added responsibilities were added because titles don’t mean that much to me and just working was enough in the economy in 2011.  That was a mistake, but humans make mistakes. mostly because the are afraid.


I’ve been  taken to task for asking why recruiters and companies need salary information to make hiring decisions. In fact they were both rather rude about it. But for all their anger they never actually answered the question. What they don’t realize is that I’ve already heard all the usual answers as have multiple people in LinkedIn who are in similar circumstances. Mostly by people who seemingly are willing to fight to the death over that stupid little number. The explanation that it’s determination of somebody’s worth to their previous employer seems to be at the core of the whole thing. The problem is that how much somebody got and what somebody else thought somebody was worth is about the worst way to figure out how much somebody is worth to you. First of all, the previous somebody may have taken advantage to the candidate. Or the candidate was desperate and then didn’t feel comfortable asking for a realistic offer. There are a lot of reasons why somebody might be underpaid that have made that choice at the time. Now you want to chase that bad choice forward into their lives? Simply to save some money?

By barring companies from asking prospective employees how much they earned at their last jobs, Massachusetts will ensure that the historically lower wages and salaries assigned to women and minorities do not follow them for their entire careers. Companies tend to set salaries for new hires using their previous pay as a base line.

It’s not just women and minorities, it’s anybody who takes a low salary and never gets a raise.  Then you are stuck. The companies work very hard to keep you in that undervalued box they like so much, no matter how much you try to avoid it.  Make one mistake and pay for it for a very long time.  I’m not even sure that they realize how this taints the work relationship.

Goodbye to low-ball salary offers

Then there’s the issue of trust, or the lack of same. It’s obvious that employers don’t trust their employees, why should we trust them? They insist that we trust them implicitly while demonstrating by their action that they don’t trust anybody and are themselves untrustworthy.

It’s been admitted that the hiring system  is  failing, in spite of all the reasearch they were doing. All the tools they buy. The term “f—ing psychopath” keeps coming up.  Bad hires seem to be epidemic. The problem is that all the research in the world could not have prevented that. I’ve seen it happen other places. The best candidate in the interview, the one that looked the best on paper is the one that plays the game the best. Which means that the behavioral interview plays right into hands of those who can mold themselves into the shape that the interviewer wants. The real hard worker types take those questions seriously and bodge the interview.

Unfortunately those are also the most likely to have the tednency to create a fiction to fit what the interviewer wants rather than their real selves. If you want the best worker you have to go outside the box.

When things go sour it’s all too easy to blame the poor person who can’t defend themselves. All too easy to abuse people when they can’t really fight back. It’s so easy to punch at the job seeker.  It seems like people just can’t avoid the temptation

Of course somehow the poor job seeker is always supposed to be concerned about anything that might offend anybody at any time, especially the special snowflakes in HR and corporate management who might take offense. Where have we seen that before.

I have a choice, I can either try to fit myself in a box that some other person wants to put me in, even though I can never know the true shape of the box or I can be the honest and capable person able to to great things for people. The reality is that I can’t live as a result of somebody’s else’s fears, even if I knew what they were. I am not a purple squirrel

The fact is that the hiring system has all the bad issues that we are supposedly fighting in SF. Only the stakes are far higher for more people. What we have now is a system that is trying to hire people by punching the right holes in an IBM card and fit them in the right slot. It’s a 20th Century hiring system glossed, but still failing in the 21st Century.

A system that can’t fulfill the requirements of anybody. Not only are people not finding work, jobs are not getting filled.  I could understand if the companies were filling jobs. They are not though. All too often that is reflected in just about every field with ever lengthening unfilled positions. Along with a general feeling that the system has broken down.

Maybe I shouldn’t say these things. Maybe I should just cave about the salary thing even though apparently enough people complain about the intrusivness that it’s becoming a bipartisan in total agreement that asking the question about salary should be banned. The law has already passed in Massachusetts and more than likely it’s up in other states. There must be a reason for that. One thing to remember is that the people on the other side don’t care what you are worth, they just care how little they can get you to work for.

In the end a new job is about the future, not the past. maybe if people worked that way and stopped trying to base future results on past performance the system would start working again. You shouldn’t wait for the system to start working again.  It’s better to find your worth and do that. Don’t be afraid like the HR weenies and rest to think outside your box.  You are worth more than you think.


One comment

  1. R. Gogh · August 11, 2016

    The salary both you and your employer will accept is the definition of your worth in a commercial context. There is no other definition of commercial value, thus it is impossible to be paid less than you are worth. Maybe another employer would value you more, but today you are being paid exactly what you are worth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s