To be valuable, not valued

Work ethic is one of those things that’s hard to turn off.  It’s ingrained in you [or not] and it’s rooted in our personal value-reward system. It’s certainly not something I plan on phasing out of my control-freak repertoire when I leave the corporate world. Who knows, I might be back someday, but regardless, I’ll need it in my new home-based role, probably more than ever. Not like I can help it anyway. Already I’m planning my strategy and gathering the inputs like a project manager, and previewing the goals with my employees “honey, when I’m home we will be working on picking our clothes up off the floor and not using a different cup each time we pour a drink.”

But I have to keep reminding myself that I should start thinking more for the job I want than the one I have [I’ve already started dressing for it anyway].

I’m toying with the idea of offering to consult for my company when I leave. My husband disagrees with this strategy, believing that I’ll be more successful if I go the all or nothing route, but I’m struggling to let go. I want to leave corporate life still valued, and my instinct to work toward that end keeps taking over. Even since making my decision, I find myself stepping up in meetings, saying yes way too much, and taking on extra work in order to add value, be valued.  But I need to change my tact. I need to work on being valuable instead. Say whaaaat?

Yeah. To me, there is a difference between those two words, valued and valuable, and they describe my current and future roles, respectively. Valued means being perceived as having value, while valuable means having value inherently, implicitly.

Being perceived as having value is important to me, and something I’m rewarded with often in my corporate life through accolades, bonuses, raises, and promotions.  At home, I’ll have to rely on the intrinsic rewards of what I’m doing [unless my toddler starts conducting annual reviews for me at the dinner table or there is some pay-per-diaper program I’m uninformed about, the extent of my job-based reward system will be a rare, solo, uninterrupted trip to the bathroom.]

For the first time in my life, I’ll be doing something because it’s valuable, with or without recognition, and regardless of external perception. So as I prepare for the job I want, my first big challenge will be to become more okay with being less valued so I can start becoming more valuable.


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