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Underearning and Undervaluing Your Accomplishments

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Believe it or not, there are people who are addicted to low-paying work. And though such an affliction is hard to fathom, it’s one that should be tackled head on. After all, personal empowerment can make all the difference when it comes to satisfaction and achievement.

Underearners Anonymous is a 12-step recovery program established to help people who undervalue their own worth, particularly when it comes to career choice and salary. According to one article, people suffering from the problem begin “frittering away time, undercharging for services and neglecting to follow through on new opportunities.” To combat these tendencies, the program tackles even the simplest of challenges that underearners face. Below is an excerpt that details some of their rehabilitation activities:

Beginners are encouraged to keep time sheets and record how they use, or misuse, their hours. Members also schedule “action meetings” where they get together with peer volunteers to set realistic goals and plan concrete steps such as rewriting a resume or calling a potential client. Many engage in a formal soul-searching process that, they believe, helps them formulate a divinely inspired vision: a career that provides fulfillment, service to others and, yes, plenty of money.

Does UA work? That’s hard to say. For one thing, many UA members are reluctant to discuss their earnings. Adam declined to reveal how much he made until I told him I’d die if he didn’t tell me (it’s in the very low six figures, he says, roughly double what he earned at the start). The answer also depends on how you define success. The minimum goal in UA, for many, is to command a wage that covers their expenses: “If I take a job for less than $44 an hour, I’m underearning,” is the way one member defines it.

employee satisfaction from time management

© Flickr user mayoff

AccelaWork commends those who are actively participating in their own self-empowerment and improvement. After all, embarking on such a path is not necessarily easy. Not only does it require time, it needs constant diligence and unbiased judgment. And while we agree that the rehabilitation activities highlighted above are proactive steps leading in the right direction, they could lead to counterproductive behavior if not cautiously utilized.

Recording hours on a grid is a fine way to initially discover how time is being spent. Undeniably, compiling a spreadsheet from a day or a week’s worth of activity can certainly help any person figure out how best to manage their time.  But our consultants have discussed how work isn’t always easy to measure. Spending an exuberant amount of time attempting to document activity that is hard to define by minutes or hours does more than diminish productivity. It squanders creative energy. Therefore, be cognizant of the fact that, while documenting hours can be beneficial, it’s usefulness isn’t guaranteed. Likewise, it’s also important to determine the value of meetings and how they affect employee productivity. For underearners, “action meetings” may follow exact guidelines that have little room for wasteful distractions. But as many of us know, meetings have a tendency to lose purpose; creating a misguided environment that can diminish motivation and inhibit innovation. To reap maximum results, maintain a strict focus and avoid straying from the agenda. Each situation is an individual one, just as each worker has individual processes that will work best. It’s important to keep that in mind when finding the best ways to stay engaged.

Strategic empowerment is invaluable. Shedding the weight of mediocrity and relinquishing the fear of failure through productive means will create an exhilarating sense of success and satisfaction. To learn more about how AccelaWork can help, contact corporate productivity experts experts today.

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