Add value to self, increase your bargaining power

The quest for personal improvement should be continuous. Net photo

A financial adviser I have the pleasure of interacting with every week recently talked about adding value to ourselves as a way of maximising our workplace opportunities. Luckily, in this day and age, there is a lot of material to enable us teach ourselves, upskill and expand our capabilities. The materials range from short courses to online courses to mature entrant schemes, among other workplace development programmes.

In spite of this, all of us at one point or another have come across people who have remained in the same job for years. I am not suggesting that staying with the same job for long is wrong but interestingly, some of these people constantly complain about how much they hate their job yet they seem to do nothing about it. We have also come across others who enter organisations at entry or mid-level positions and work their way to the top. None of these is accidental. The difference between these two people is their ability to identify opportunities and to prepare themselves for new challenges through personal improvement because in an ideal world, roles are not handed out, they’re earned!


Organisations work in different ways and as an employee you need to understand the dynamics at play. If you’re one of the lucky ones, someone will spot your abilities and advise you to take on a different or additional assignment. For the majority, you need to study the environment in which you work and pick a position of growth that you’re willing to pursue, which may be in something you’re passionate about or qualified for but is not the role you were hired for. This gives you a chance to express your ability and how hard you exert yourself may be the difference between you and the rest of your colleagues when that new role or promotion comes up. I once asked my boss why someone else was picked for a position instead of another whom I thought was a better fit, and he told me the reason was simply because the latter did not display a hunger for growth and development. We need to realise that someone is always watching and when one has qualities that set them apart, they will eventually get noticed.


I will never forget the first day I walked into a radio station as an employee. I started off as a receptionist and news anchor. As time went by I was promoted to administrative assistant which required me to do more than simply manning the reception desk. I was also asked to host a talk show called ‘campus platform’ which entailed visiting schools and universities to engage students in a dialogue on topical issues relevant to them as students. While I had officially been recruited for one job, I ended up doing a lot more than I signed up for, which gave me a chance to show what I was capable of. All of those roles taught me relevant skills and at each stage I learnt what I needed to learn to get me to the next level. What I have learnt along the way is that having a qualification which enables you obtain a suitable job should not be the end but instead should be the beginning of a continuous quest for personal improvement. So, get out there today and add some value to yourself by finding one of many ways that will set you apart from the rest of the people in your field. Good luck!                         


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