If I offered you a genuine diamond for $500 in one hand and a fake diamond for $5000 in the other hand, you might still glance at the more expensive one—even though I just told you it was fake.

The price-quality heuristic is so ingrained in us we don't notice how often we rely on it every day.

It's an undeniable feature of capitalism, yet in our own careers many of us still negotiate ourselves down before the salary conversation even starts.

It's the most expensive mistake everyone makes at some point:

Setting your price against the value of a dollar in your own pocket.

The sooner you internalize this, the sooner you go from being a resource to a participant in the eyes of Capitalism™️...

How bad it stings when a dollar leaves someone's pocket depends on the person wearing the pants.

An extra $500 a month is life-changing money for the vast majority of people, a tolerable expense for most employers and clients, and a rounding error for big corporations, even if you were to add two more zeroes to the end.

So don't flinch whenever you have to name your price. See it as a filter. Some will roll their eyes at it, some won’t even blink. And even if they do, there are many ways to polish your value to make it shine bright in the right eyes.

A Lesson Often Learned the Hard Way

I'm terrible at appraising my worth, like a lot of creative types are. I was always kind to money and hard on the work I did for it.

When I was 22, there was a time I was making $32k a year (basically minimum wage in Ontario), working 55+ hours a week, while in $20k debt, covering rent for two in a roach-infested apartment. It was one of the most miserable summers of my life.

I was hired as a sales rep and switched to a marketing role without re-negotiating my compensation package. I was making an entry-level sales salary minus the commission, even though I had some portfolio pieces under my belt and the first article I wrote out of the gate was a hit.

I don't blame the company for trying to keep their costs low with a junior hire. That's business. I blame myself for not knowing how to speak the language of business back.

Money didn't show me much kindness then. So today, I try not to show it any kindness either.

Be kind to people, but don’t be kind to money. Money didn't earn it from you. It was never here to change your life; it only ever changes hands.

Money doesn’t know what you’re worth.

Not until you name your price.