Updated: Jun 12
Written by: T.M. Brunson
It’s been a minute since I sat down to write. I think I have been avoiding this topic even though I know it is an important one.
A few people, over the past couple of weeks, have been telling me that I need to know my worth. I hadn’t really thought about that in my professional career because jobs had just been handed to me, or they just came easily to me until around 2016.
I hadn’t even thought about money and how much I was “worth” until recently. Back in the day, I was making what I thought everyone else was making in my industry. As I moved up the ranks, my salary went up—no questions asked.
I didn’t need to negotiate after interviews when I was offered any particular position. I just knew that I was good with what was offered to me.
And I kind of got ridiculous with the notion that I was making six figures because I was also making $25-33K bonuses on top of it. I would laugh every time and blow through it, not even thinking about saving or investing.
I was young...
It wasn’t until I switched careers and started from scratch (salary-wise) again do I appreciate what I bring to the table. I have years worth of branding and marketing skills... Years worth of technical and editorial skills...
Now, I am ready to negotiate. I have people in my corner now who can give me advice and help me navigate that conversation when the time comes. I know that I can build a brand. I know that I can tell a story. I know that my television background can help shape how I market universities.
It’s a unique skillset that not everyone has.
I’m not saying that there isn’t room to grow. I never thought I would be fluent in Adobe InDesign, but I am. I never thought I would be teetering on graphic design, but I am. I am soaking in as much as I can to make myself more marketable when I am ready to put myself out there again.
I think this is the one that I’ve been trying to avoid blogging about. Why?
Simple answer: I am not ready.
I wrote about self-care a few weeks ago, but haven’t done much to take care of myself until last week. I suggested going to a driving range, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. So I went.
I had a great time at the driving range, despite the three-hour wait. My partner-in-crime wasn’t too keen on the wait but ended up having a pretty good time too.
I didn’t know how to hold a club because the most I’ve ever done was put-put (miniature golf for the bourgeoisie people).
And if you don’t consider that self-care, I also went out last Friday. If you know me, you’d know that this was a big deal because I rarely go “out,” let alone twice in one week! I might go to the movies by myself here and there, but I haven’t gone out and just let all my cares fall to the wayside since... Wow, it’s been a really long time.
I had a good time with not-so-new friends—saying “see you later” to one who just got a new job. I was late to the “party” but right on time with great conversation with good people. I have been missing that from my life; and, I didn’t realize it until then.
Last night, I went out for some air. I had nowhere to go, so I just drove. I drove for as far as my gas would bring me—which was not far (only to Princeton!) LOL But I thought about a lot of things.
I endeavor for clarity in my life.
In the wake of the Me Too movement, the Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, R. Kelly, and Michael Jackson scandals, I think as a nation, we (as women) are starting to realize our own personal worth.
I realize why a lot of women don’t speak up at the time that they are going through something. Once you’re a part of something that might be questionable to an outsider’s mind, you internalize it/keep it to yourself. Then, you might think about all of the pros and the cons of staying in that situation or leaving.
And sometimes, those cons of leaving outweigh the pros of staying (or vice versa—I don’t seem to know which). Then, also you have to weigh in other factors—longevity, kids, family, health factors (i.e. cancer, or etc.), finances. No one knows the struggles that you might be encountering. No one can feel the weight of the world on you, but you.
So you have to ask yourself, do I deserve to be in this situation? What are you worth to yourself? To other people?
WHAT CHANGES THINGS FOR ME
For me, whenever I am struggling with a big decision, I pray. My faith may not seem as strong as it used to be (as in you won’t find me in a church building every Sunday), but it is as big as a mustard seed. I usually pray for wisdom, strength, and clarity.
Just recently, I have also been praying for peace.
Peace, be still.
I have not been “still” yet. I was trying to find that stillness last night; but instead, I drove. I drove to clear my head. I drove to feel the cold wind on my face (I would’ve driven in the sun if I were still in California). I drove to get some clarity.
And, it helped. I have a certain calmness over myself today. Even though things in my life are not clear-cut, I’m going into this day with a quiet calm. And that’s a “win” in my book. I can do calm.
I can do calm any day.