If I offered you a genuine diamond for $500 in one hand and a fake diamond for $5000 in the other, your eyes might still hover over the latter even though I just told you it was fake.
Price is shorthand for quality, a heuristic so ingrained in us that we don't notice how much we rely on it every day.
Despite this undeniable feature of capitalism, many of us tend to negotiate ourselves down in our careers before the salary conversation even starts—all because we appraise our worth according to the value of a dollar in our own pocket.
Tying the value of your work to the value of your own dollar is an expensive perspective. The sooner you internalize this, the sooner you go from being a resource to a participant in capitalism:
The same dollar doesn't hurt or help us all the same.
An extra $500 a month is life-changing money for many. But it’s a negligible expense for employers and clients. Your entire salary might barely be a rounding error to them.
So stop flinching when you name your price. Some eyes will roll at your price tag, some won’t even blink, and there's a lot you can do to polish your value and make it shine.
Like most "creative types", I was terrible at appraising my worth. I was kind to money and hard on the work I did for it. There was a time I was making $32k a year, working 50-hour weeks, while in $20k debt, covering 2 people’s rent in a roach-infested apartment. It was a miserable chapter of my life.
Money showed me no kindness then. That's why today, I show it no kindness either.
Be kind to people, but don’t be kind to money. Money has earned your ruthlessness. Money isn’t here to change your life; it only ever changes hands.
Money doesn’t know what you’re worth.
Not until you name your price.