Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

On value…

Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about my skills, talents, abilities, hopes, and goals. As a rule the thing that these conversations have in common is some indication of my value. This value is sometimes calculated by how much I can offer but is most often calculated by how much money my work is worth.

The hard part is that how much money my work is worth can sometimes I start to equate it to how much I am worth. As a person.

As the days have past, I’ve begun to wonder…is it really all that different?

When I consider the work I do in the tech field, there is a number that comes to mind for what a product leader is worth. That work can be broken down into my ability to break down customer needs, write requirements, build the right technical architecture, and design the experience.

There is also some return on investment in my role as a leader. My ability to stand up in front of executive management and articulate my decisions, my mistakes, and priorities count for something. Some calculations takes into account my ability to lead a team and handle their HR issues, reviews, and talent management.

But when you add all of it up, does that number really equate to my value?

Yes and no.

No…because our inner spirit is priceless and unique. No dollar amount can adequately capture who we are in the world and what part of that we bring to our work.

Yes…because there are measures of success that happen in our careers when we bring that personal “magic” to the products we build. There are stories we can tell about how we showed up with our unique gifts to push, prod, help, or enable the team to make it over the finish line.

Ultimately the last few weeks…hell, make that years…have taught me that you can never give someone else the authority to determine your value. No one else owns the right to score you. Many will try. Some even with your permission. But in the end, the value you have is set by you and the Divine.

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