Monday, 18 September 2017

Worth of Work v Value of Work

What is the worth, of the work we do?

Alternatively, what is the value of what we do?

Is the worth of what we do different to the value, is it calculated and assessed differently or is it the same? Does it even matter?

The market place dictates a price for our skills and services. This may be based on the tasks we perform, the goods we produce or the things we sell. Our “price” may the linked to the people we lead and how we go about this, the strategies we develop or the projects we manage.

We accept the price and perform our role.

But, how valuable is it?

What if the value of a role was assessed based upon the severity of the impact, should it not be done for a day, 3 days, a week, a month or more.

What does history tell us about the value of Bankers? What would happen in a country if banks were closed?

In 1970, Irish bankers went on strike seeking better pay and conditions. Not much happened. Pubs and other business guaranteed cheques based on their knowledge of individual customers. There is even a suggestion that GDP growth did not suffer.

The strike continued and eventually, after 6 months, the Bank staff and management decided to return to work in case it was decided they were actually no longer necessary.

Two years earlier in New York, sanitation collection workers went on strike*. After 3 days there was an estimated 30,000 tons of garbage on the street and by the time the strike was settled 6 days later, this had grown to 100,000 tons.

The City had been brought to a halt. Reports suggest garbage was waste high in the Lower East Side.

Who is worth more and who performs the most valuable work? Bankers or Sanitary staff?

In one case, life went on with a little inconvenience. In the other, life stopped.

I realise the comparison I have made are from a time long past, but they are in the same era and chances are, in 2017, a bank strike in one country would have less impact than in 1970.

The impact of teachers, medical practitioners, transport staff and others not arriving for work would be much greater than many other much higher paid roles shutting down.

The worth of a role is out of proportion with the value we place on a role.

Ask yourself, what would happen if my work was not done for a week and would it really matter? If you are brave enough.

*In New York, sanitary staff maintained services to hospitals, aged care facilities and similar entities.

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