Worth and pay are two very different concepts, especially if you’re in the service industry. In fact “service industry” seems an oxymoron to me. Serving, you do for worth. Industry you do for pay. The two seem mutually exclusive.
I am forced to consider this as a writer and as an entrepreneur. I do what I do for the service I provide, but how do I fund myself? Do I just rely on donations? Do I have a right to ask people to pay? If so, how much? How do you put a price on healthy, whole, fulfilled? This is what I hope to offer you, but these are long-term characteristics. On down the road I hope you will experience all of these. Right now, you just read or practice what I “preach.” No money changes hands. My payment relies on your generosity.
Out of the goodness of your heart you “like” my blog or you “like” my page or you visit my website. You are an online statistic to me. It’s a way you say “thank you,” perhaps without even knowing it. By clicking, you indicate that this has value for you, that you’re glad you came and you will be back for more.
Not a lot of money in that. Just relationship. But it’s mutual relationship and it’s lasting. That’s worth, but it’s not pay.
This is much like the waitress who’s salary is so much less than minimum wage. She works for tips, so what she makes is totally up to her customers. What I make is totally up to my readers. They visit and may click or even comment and be tallied in the “statistics.”
But this is a business. It has cost as well as benefit. And the business is to make money. That’s what businesses do. This understanding has come the hard way for me, but I’m getting it. If I make money I can spend it to grow the business, perhaps even pay myself a salary, but mostly to reach more people with the long term gains I am selling. I want people to be healthy, whole and fulfilled.
But where does the money come from? If we’re just clicking and liking. Well, it comes from advertisers who hope you’ll see them while you’re reading the content of the blog or the webpage. They want to persuade you to buy their products while you’re surfing the web. Sneaky those companies. Oh, you don’t have to buy. You can escape scot-free, if you’re disciplined and don’t give in.
But most of us aren’t. Or at least we’re very suggestible. The image or slogan remains in our minds and suggests itself again when a purchasing decision comes up.
But what of the writer, the waitress, the server, the servant? The one actually provides the service. They get paid tips based on your generosity. They get paid bonuses based on performance. They are in sales, and salesmen earn a commission. Salary is small, but if they’re successful in selling, they get a reward. That motivates them to sell well, be persuasive, be charming and endearing and helpful. Are you smiling, too?
All good, if they believe that what they’re selling is truly what you need. They’re not just trying to sell you so they can make the commission. You can tell the difference. The good salesman, the one who sells you what you need at the right price, you come back to again and again. You have a relationship of trust. He’ll winnow down the choices for you and you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. That’s a service worth paying for.
So, I look at the “likes,” “click-throughs” and “comments” on the newsire for which I write. They are meager but growing. In this world, that’s what sells. And the editor says, we’ll pay you based on those. Great, I work on commission.
But if I really believe the product I’m selling will help you be more healthy, whole and fulfilled, then it’s worth it even if I don’t rake in any of those proceeds. You get them. After all, I’m in the service industry. I am on commission. You get healthy, whole and fulfilled. Who could possibly pay what those are worth?
God can. It’s what He longs desperately for in our lives, but He doesn’t force them on us. He lets us choose. I’m in the business of selling them. I’m on commission. I work for God. So much more than a salary.
This from Seth Godin this morning. (He’s a marketing guru and motivational speaker and champion of the “common man,” so to speak)…
Ways to improve your performance:
- Compete for a prize
- Earn points
- Please a demanding boss
- Make someone else’s imminent deadline
- Face sudden death elimination in the playoffs
- Wear a heart monitor and track performance publicly
- Go head-to-head against a determined foe
The thing is, all of these external stimuli are there to raise your game and push you ever harder. They are fences to be leaped, opponents to be defeated.
The alternative is to compete against nothing but yourself. To excel merely because the act of excelling without boundaries or incentives thrills you.
And the good news is that once you find that, you’ll always have it.
For me, sports and academic competition taught me that first set of principles for improving my performance. Seeking the accolade, the victory, the edge. When do we transition to the second way? Seeking excellence for its own sake? And once we do, do we stay there?
Thank you, Seth, for reminding me that the thrill I get from wax on – wax off, shine(!) is just as real and way more enduring over the long haul.
Now, what do I do about all that competition that is rabid for the victory in head to head competition? Remind myself, that’s how one learns. But that’s not where I want to end up. I guess the occasional slippage may be human but my goal is to spend way more time in the intrinsic arena.
They say “you can’t go back,” but I think I can and do. Even when I do, as Seth says, “you’ll always have it.” It’s mine for a moment. Then I give it to the One to whom it really belongs. Then it’s ours forever. “Here God, will you hold my trophy (paycheck, certificate, diploma, recognition dinner, promotion) so I can get back to work?”
Perhaps the proof of its staying power is when I can celebrate, truly celebrate, the excellence in another’s product or effort without an ounce of envy or regret.
Of course, the best things can always be better, right?