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Do You Know the Real Value of Your Work?

Recently I had the opportunity to get my shoes shined in the Denver airport. The young man who shined my shoes was friendly as I got settled in the chair and respectful when I started to read e-mail on my phone. This was obviously not his first pair of shoes to shine, as he did a very thorough job.

When I stepped down from the stand, he proudly asked, “What do you think?” I responded, “They look great. How much do I owe you?” He responded, “Whatever you want to pay. Pay me what you think it was worth.” Wow! When was the last time you had someone who was so confident in his/her work that he/she allowed you to decide how much should be paid for the service?

This is certainly a risky approach to getting compensated for his services. If he does a mediocre job, he’s probably going to get mediocre compensation. He can’t allow circumstances around him to impact his performance. He doesn’t get to have a “down” day. He doesn’t get to do enough to get by. He is required to give everything he’s got on every pair of shoes in order to make the most every time. And based on this guy’s level of engagement and enthusiasm for his work, I’d be willing to bet he makes more money asking to be paid based on the value he provides than he would if he had a set price that everyone paid.

If your employer paid you at the end of every work day based on the value you bring each and every day (not the number of hours you work, but the real value you bring to the organization), my hope is you could say, “Pay me what you think my contribution to the company was worth today.” When you can say those words with confidence, you will never worry about employment again. And whenever most people in an organization can say those words, the competition will never have a chance!

Clint Swindall

© 2015 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit, or contact him directly

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