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Your skills always have value!

Having just turned 20, I moved across the country to start a new chapter in life. About a week before the move, I came across this entrepreneur who was looking for an intern in the city I was moving to. I reached out to her and we started talking about her companies and decided to meet up as soon as I arrived. Although it was an unpaid internship, this was a dream come true for me.

A few days after settling in I got ready to meet up for an interview/trial day. It was everything I’d ever wanted and more. I don’t think my feet ever even touched the ground on my way home, I was over the moon. Fast forward to a month later, I was offered a job in two of her companies, one of which we will focus on in this post.

Most weeks I worked more than 40 hours (which is full-time). One part of my job was being the contact person for our 140 brand ambassadors and people reached out to me 24/7, mostly after the usual working hours. This was never a problem for me though, even if it was hard bringing my work home with me and not getting to rest when I was off the clock.

What is the point of this post then? To brag about my amazing job?

When I tell people what I used to work with, they always say something like “oh my god, that sounds like such a dream”. And everyone wants to know why I ever quit. It was truly the job I’ve always dreamed about but there was a slight problem – I did not get paid.

I had this job for approximately six months. Now, many people wonder why I stayed that long if I wasn’t getting paid. There were three main reasons:

  1. I loved my job more than anything. Everyday I’d wake up and wonder “is this really true?”
  2. Fear. How would I ever get another job like this, especially an actual paid job – I didn’t have a university degree and no other relevant experience.
  3. I was continuously promised many things that would come later. Within a few years I would receive an incredibly good salary, I would be in charge of this and that and if I kept up the good work, I would be shortlisted for a management position. And I believed it.

Looking back, I spent a lot of time feeling stupid for not realising that I was being used. Now, more than a year after quitting my job, I just feel bad for that “little” girl who thought she wasn’t worth more than empty promises.

I may only be two years older now, but in these past two years I’ve grown more than I could ever imagine. The most important lesson I learned, the one I want to share with you today, is that it doesn’t matter if you have a fancy degree, many years of experience or if you just have something you are particularly good at: your skills have value.

They wouldn’t hire you or ask you to do something if they didn’t think you were good at what you do. They want what you have to offer. Your skills are always worth something. What that something is, however, is not for me to decide, but for you. You decide what skills are worth, and you should never settle for less. If they really want what you have to offer – they will pay for it. If they don’t, someone else will and it’s the person who sees the value in your skills who deserves them. You deserve to work for someone who appreciates the value of your skills. It really is that simple.

If I could go back and tell my younger self only one thing, it would be this:

Your skills have value, never settle for less than that value.

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Your skills always have value!

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