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 said 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 within capitalism:

How much it stings when a dollar leaves a pocket depends on the person wearing the pants.

An extra $500 a month is life-changing money for most 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 at the end.

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. I was always kind to money and hard on the work I did for it.  

When I was 22, I was making $32k CAD a year (minimum wage), working 55+ hours a week, while in $20k debt, covering rent for two in a roach-infested apartment. It was a miserable chapter of my life.

I was hired as a sales rep and switched to a marketing role without re-negotiating my compensation. I was making an entry-level sales salary minus the commission.

I don't blame them for trying to keep their costs low for 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 earned it. 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.