I was not always a small business copywriter and web designer. My first role out of uni was as a Personnel Officer with 500 staff in freshly built retail store in Bateau Bay on the NSW central coast.
In that role, I had the dubious honour of sacking Santa the week before Christmas (more went into his sack than came out). I also manually calculated and counted out wages for all my staff into little beige pay envelopes each and every week (this was pre-computers and direct credit banking); and recruited for every role from pastry cooks through to checkout operators.
After moving to QLD, my human resources and employment relations career followed a very meandering trajectory, working in roles where up to 8000 staff knew my name and expected HR miracles.
There are parts of HR I will never miss such as always being the one to tell an employee that they needed help with their body odour problem; or helping drunken office juniors get safely home from staff Christmas parties before lecherous managers could have their way with them. There were also some amazing business lessons that are always a part of me.
Here are a few things I learned along the way.
1. Income is not an indicator of worth
After working with people ranging from minimum wage to million dollar pay cheques, I know that income and worth are not correlated.
The highest paid do not work longer hours. They are not smarter than their employees. They don’t have any special knowledge that the rest of the world doesn’t have. They are not super talented or gifted.
I have seen business consultants charge $15,000 a day and deliver fewer results on a planning day than an entry-level HR practitioner running a similar planning day with a different group.
Income is only related to perceived value. It is the price a person or organisation is willing to pay for a particular brand (remembering that each person is their own individual brand).
A higher income does not mean that someone is a better person – simply their brand is stronger. If your income is not where you want it to be, then build your personal brand.