Ways to Distinguish Yourself #205 – Dis-Engage When Your Work is Valued Less

Ways to Distinguish Yourself #205 – Dis-Engage When Your Work is Valued Less

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 09 Nov 2009, 10:26 PM – 6 Comments

Photo Courtesy: psyberartist on Flickr 

Marketplace is right most of the time. It will set the price for what you bring to the table – based on the supply and demand equations that exist (all the time)

Smart people sometimes hit a roadblock when they don’t get what they truly deserve. What they don’t realize is that in many cases they are the ones to blame for that situation.

Here is a typical scenario:

As you become an expert, it takes you less time to complete a task in your area of expertise. As they grow their expertise in the area, the time takes keeps shrinking.

Now, let us look at the external world. There are broadly two kinds of people there.

1. Those that measure value by output: These people will be delighted to have you on your side. They don’t care how long it takes to complete something. They are focused on the output or outcome. If you take less time, that does not make the work less valuable. In fact, they are willing to pay you a premium as they save a ton of time because they engaged with you.

2. Those that measure value by input: These people think that if something needs to be valuable, you have to put in a lot of effort. If you produce something quickly, you have put in less effort – meaning it MUST be less valuable.

If you are an expert, you will thrive when you are working with the first group of people. Similarly, you will be frustrated if you are working with the second group of people.

So, what do you do?

The quick thing to do is to observe and notice who you are working with. If you bring something valuable but are not valued, you may not know how to demonstrate the value or you may be working with people who value by the input. If you don’t know how to demonstrate the value, the responsibility is on you to educate yourself.

If the people who you are working with don’t want to see the value, you may be tempted to try and educate them. That would be a huge opportunity cost. People rarely change.

The better option for you is to dis-engage when your work is valued less. You will be better off finding people who value your work.

All the best!


Note 1: Here are links to the other 200 articles in the series

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code – Distinguish Yourself #1 – #50

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #51 – #100

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #101 – #100

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #151 – #200

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:

ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:

ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)


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6 Comments so far, Add Yours

Vinay  on November 10th, 2009

Great article i have same kind of exprience.



Rajesh Setty  on November 10th, 2009

Vinayak, it can be painful if you let the feeling linger. Best is to move on wishing them well. It is not worth thinking about it except for reflecting and learning from the experience.



Cody McKibben  on November 10th, 2009

Thanks for this article Raj, this is really insightful and intelligent. I think with this economy, it’s hard not to feel undervalued right now, but it’s important to be careful where one spends his time regardless.

Rajesh Setty  on November 10th, 2009


You have a good point.

But you are a good example right here. You moved to Thailand and the time difference between us is insane. But we end up working on projects together.

So, good help is valuable in all economies :)



Venkk  on November 10th, 2009

Hi Raj

You have put things in perspective. As you may agree that its not easy to educate oneself because of “I dont know what I dont know problem”.

However I see cross-cultural communication issue as one of the major barriers (for example, growing up in India and working in US). It would be helpful if you could share your ideas on the subject.



Rajesh Setty  on November 10th, 2009


You bring up a good point. Mentors come into the picture to solve the “I don’t know what I don’t know” problem.

I do have plans to write on cross-cultural communication but I don’t know when I will get to it. In the middle of a few projects now Venkk.



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