Thursday, June 21, 2007

What Are They Paying Me For?

I was eating lunch yesterday and went off into a little money meditation space-out... I was having a slice of pizza with chicken and bacon on it. Normally I get a plain slice, and find myself thinking I shouldn't always be so boring. But whenever I get some fancy slice with toppings on it, it's never all that satisfying, and I find myself missing the cheesy goodness of the plain slice I could have gotten for about $1.50 less.
So I'm not sure it really relates, but from thinking about pizza, I made some kind of mental leap into thinking about my job. My company pays me quite a good amount of money. What are they paying me for? Are they paying me for my skills at what I'm good at? Or are they paying me to do things that I'm not especially good at?
I've taken those Meyers-Briggs personality tests in the past, and found them annoying, but I was always fascinated, if somewhat perturbed by the results. My personality type is supposedly that of a person who should basically be sitting in a room alone all day, making numbers balance on a spreadsheet. But am I an accountant? No-- instead, a lot of my job involves managing people, going to meetings, making presentations. Does that mean I'm in the wrong job? I don't think so.
I think I am pretty good at some of the things I do in my job. I can make presentations confidently. I have good ideas sometimes and am not afraid to speak out with them in meetings. I am kind of naturally introverted, but it doesn't mean I can't present myself well in business situations. I can be outgoing and charming and diplomatic-- it's not like I'm some troll they need to hide in the back room! But my job also does involve a lot of numbers and analysis, and that is one of my strengths.
As for managing people? I'm not sure I'm all that great at it. I compare myself to others and think I may be too hands-off. I work with adults and expect them to behave like adults, so I tend to feel confident that they can work independently. I don't like to micro-manage, and perhaps sometimes that is a good thing. But there are times when I should micro-manage a little more than I do. I wonder if it has something to do with my not being a parent-- I've noticed my co-workers who are parents, particularly moms, seem to be very hands-on managers. I doubt that having kids would change my management style-- it's more that my personality is ill-suited to managing employees for the same reason it's ill-suited to managing children!

How about you? What is your employer paying you for?


Anonymous said...

As a (newish) MBTI facilitator, one of the things I say to participants is that there are all types in all jobs, even though some types are more drawn to certain careers. You probably use some of your MBTI characteristics in a different way in your job than another person with the same type and use them well.

Anonymous said...

That's a great question. I got my degree in Art History with a minor in Economics and now I'm working in derivatives. I got scouted my last year of university and never, not once, thought I'd be in finance making the money I make at my age.

I chose Econ as my minor for a backup and it turns out that I'm not using it, instead of my arts degree.

Your question is interesting, though, because I think my company pays me for my personality. My job involves a lot of traveling and meeting with clients in many different countries. I'm also trilingual, which is always an asset. But to narrow it down to one skill... mine would be personality. As a woman, I take pride in being able to come across as a strong person, without being labeled as an "asshole."

Anonymous said...

*that I AM using it. Oops.

Anonymous said...

I work as a first year analyst at a big investment bank... so basically my company is paying for my slavish attention to the BlackBerry, my inability to have any type of normal personal life, and my ability catch the extra zero in the spreadsheet at 4 AM and to work 100 hour weeks without having a melt-down.

The pay is good for a 22-year-old, but they don't pay us for their health.

Anonymous said...

Bronx Chica...Yes what a great question to think about. I think my job is paying me based on a test I took. I had to do well with using Excel and was interviews by 3-4 peple for 2 positions. I now found out every month my job is hiring millions of people. also Iif I refer some, I can get $150 if they stay for 3 months.