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Why Do We Undervalue Ourselves

people chessWhy do we think our time has no monetary value?  We expect to be paid for work we do in the office, but for some reason outside speaking engagements, conferences, and the like often cost money to attend rather than bringing money in for a contributor.  This is the focus of an article by Kirstie Magowan.  Magowan suggests that we undervalue ourselves because we have come to be expected to do so.  This means that we can only blame ourselves:

But, like most of my colleagues around the world who are doing the same thing, I currently do not expect to be paid for any of these efforts. In fact, every conference I am selected to speak at will cost me a considerable amount in travel, accommodation and other related expenses…the only thing I will get out of it is a free conference registration. We are told that we should be grateful to be on the programme as it will enhance our reputation and build our influence in the ITSM community. The sad fact is that  we are currently fighting a losing battle to have a financial value placed on the contributions of the hundreds, or even thousands, of skilled ITSM professionals who appear on the programmes of industry conferences globally each year…and we only have ourselves to blame!

There is a major Catch-22 here.  If people wish to change the trend, the idea would be that they would need to stop speaking anywhere that will not pay them.  However, everyone in this field wants the notoriety and recognition of attending conferences and the like, so boycotting such things will only open the door for someone else who is more desperate to step in.  It does not matter if 10 people refuse to attend without payment if 10 or 11 more people are willing to step in and take over.

Magowan suggests, for example, if you use a particular ITSM tool, approaching a vendor directly if you wish to speak about your business.  If you explain that you are not going to be doing a talk specifically about a tool, but you would discuss the tool with other conference goers, vendors may be willing to help you.   This makes sense to vendors because they realize the benefit of the audiences you will attract.  Remember, you do not need to undervalue yourself of your skill anymore simply because the current trend suggests you should.  There are ways to be seen and receive payment in the process.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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