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Yaneek Page Going where you are valued pays

A young project management professional with almost a decade of experience in the technology industry – who we will call Sara to protect her privacy – now earns over four times more than she did a few months ago and works almost 50 per cent fewer hours.

Although her living expenses have increased sharply from a monthly average of $185,000 to $322,848 (US$2,124), her disposable income has skyrocketed by almost 1,900 per cent – moving from $32,000 to $602,528 monthly. Yet, incredibly, her workload is lighter, work hours fewer, and she insists that her work is considerably more fulfilling.

More shocking for Sara than her drastic increased earnings is the clash of work cultures.

“The ease and support to successfully carry out your duties is the major difference. The minute you highlight hindrances with effectively and efficiently carrying out your core duties, it is addressed. The work ethic is also top tier, and I don’t ever feel overworked. My workload may be a lot sometimes, but they allow me to break it down based on capacity and assist with help where needed,” she said.

Another major culture shock for Sara was the treatment of contractual hours. In her previous contracts, she often worked 20 additional hours per week, outside of the contracted hours, and would routinely work weekends although only contracted to work weekdays. She was also chastised if she was unreachable via mobile phone after work hours. By contrast, in her new role, there is strict emphasis on professional boundaries and reverence for rest, recovery, and personal life. As a result, Sara is happier, highly motivated, and enjoys a more positive outlook on life.

Sara made the decision to go where she is genuinely valued, and it is paying off. In fact, she hasn’t even maximised her immediate potential because she could have earned far more had she waited for other opportunities.

Sara called me a few weeks ago to update me on her journey and to let me know I was right all along. As a former team member, whom I mentored and coached for several months, some time ago, I have been personally invested in her progress. Having observed her integrity, passion, creativity, talent, work ethic, and service orientation, among other winning characteristics, I knew she could do so much better and that the only thing standing in the way of living her dream was fear of the unknown and comfort with the status quo.

Importantly, her skills were globally marketable and in high demand. Let me reiterate that the nature of the skills vis-a-vis international trends is vital. Within weeks of working together, I told her frankly: if you follow my advice, you will become my next success story. She was sceptical.

Last week, in reflecting on that discussion, she said: “Sometimes people see the potential in a person before they themselves recognise it. I am happy to have been a part of the team and learn from your multiple teachings.”

So what are some of the multiple teachings she is referring to, and how did they support her transformation? There are too many to share in one column, however, there are three principles that are most essential:

First, exposure to other markets, people, spaces, and cultures is critical to personal and professional growth. This requires a shift in mindset, knowledge, and attitude. It is a mantra I now live by and impart to others at every opportunity, particularly those I have the privilege of training, coaching, or mentoring. Therefore, while it is good to go where you feel welcome, it is more important to stay where you’re most valued.

Second, remain marketable even if you’re not on the market. You have to ask yourself this profound question: Based on the future of work projections and trends in the global landscape, what is the highest and best return on my existing talents and potential new skills I may or should develop? The answer to that question will almost certainly force you to make life-changing decisions, including a plan to acquire new skills and certifications that may open new doors and possibilities. The greatest risk to your future self is to end each quarter accomplishing nothing that was worth adding to your CV/resume/profile or nothing that would increase your value in the global marketplace.

And finally, proactively and aggressively maximise the opportunities that the Internet presents to:

o Enable powerful personal branding. Never be afraid to promote your talents, skills, and accomplishments while adding value to your audience;

o Be a conduit to new opportunities. Put yourself out there, and connect with those who can help you reach your goals. It was through an agency that she was recruited for her current role in the United States. She still receives several new opportunities daily; and

o Exploit social media for professional development, networking, and learning.

Although everyone’s journey is unique and each person may have different experiences, without exception, every person I have ever come across who has put those three principles into action has become an incredible success story, enjoying a better quality of life, personal and professional advancement, and even self-actualisation

I have no doubt that my readers who do the same will soon share or write their inspiring stories of success.

One love!

Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and creator and executive producer of The Innovators and Let’s Make Peace TV series.

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