We love Stephen Wright’s witty observations. This funny quote is also insightful.
Is it a raw deal, as the quote implies? Or could it be a recipe for success?
The answer is one of the best answers ever – it depends.
Which begs the question: On what?
It depends on your cost.
You’re getting a penny for your thoughts.
If your thoughts cost you more than a penny, it’s a raw deal.
If they cost you less, it’s a recipe for success.
We know – that’s a rather obscure statement. How do you determine the cost of your thoughts?
It’s an important question for consultants, coaches, authors, and even employees.
A simple example
Let’s consider an employee. It’s a simple example because an employee has one customer – his or her employer.
We’ll assume a straightforward relationship: Every time the employee comes up with a thought, the employer pays the employee a penny.
The employer then sells that thought to a customer for two cents. Let’s stipulate that the customer believes this thought is worth exactly two cents – no more or less.
So the customer is happy – they received value in direct proportion to the value they paid.
The employer is happy – they made a penny on the deal.
Is the employee happy? As we said earlier, it depends on their cost.
7 choices if you’re not getting paid what you’re worth
Is this reasonable compensation, given:
- the investment by the employee in education and experience, and
- the employee’s costs of living?
Let’s say it isn’t. What can the employee do?
He or she has seven choices:
Develop a bad attitude.
They could whine and complain. They could come to despise their employer. They could look for another customer (i.e. employer).
Let’s assume this employer is paying employees at a competitive rate, in line with their geographic area and their industry.
So the employee can whine and complain and despise and look all they want. They’re not going to find a better deal with a bad attitude.
This is often the easiest solution for both businesses and individuals. Since we’re talking about individuals in this case, what if the employee could decrease their living costs?
Now he or she can be happy with getting a penny for their thoughts – at least in the short run.
Increase the value
What if the employee could double the value of their thoughts?
So the employer could sell the employee’s thoughts for four cents. Then the employee could get two cents instead of one.
Of course, the employee may need to make an investment in further learning. However, this investment of time and money helps them come up with ideas worth four cents.
This is related to increasing the value. But we felt it deserved to be listed separately.
What if the employee could become the go-to person for one specific area of expertise?
Now instead of competing with hundreds or thousands, the employee is one of a few people whose thoughts actually matter on a particular subject.
Once again, this may require an investment on the employee’s part. Once again, the goal is delivering greater value to the customer so they willingly pay more.
Find a growth space
The employee is limited by the geographic area they serve and the industry they’re in. Remember, growth means opportunity.
Perhaps the employee’s thoughts would be worth more in a different geographic area. Or in a different industry.
Find more customers
Assuming the employee has excess capacity (i.e. they have more time to come up with more thoughts in this case), the employee could help the employer find more customers.
Some of the employee’s costs are fixed. So the employee can add income without increasing these costs.
Now everybody’s happy.
Eliminate the middle man
The employee could start his or her own business. Then they could sell directly to the customers.
The customers are willing to pay two cents. So the employee’s earnings will go up.
Just don’t think they’ll double. The employer has costs, too.
So it’s not a panacea. But it may lead to BIGG success!
If everyone else wins and you lose, it’s a raw deal. You always have choices if you’re coming up on the short end.
When everyone wins, it’s a recipe for success. It’s up to you to mix it up!
Thanks so much for reading our post today. We sure would love to see you here again tomorrow!
Image in this post from plattmunk