Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nancy Davison on What is Your Value?


BY Nancy Davison
Entrepreneur & Community Volunteer

It is of common knowledge the economy is not doing well. No longer does it take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Although the mortgage crisis is winning the news flashes as it is easy to sell on Main Street, America, the real scion of this economic nightmare is in the derivative markets. Making money for the sake of making money, without creating any value of any kind to enhance the economy in anyway creates no value. When the $700 billion dollar rescue package was put forth the first half of the monies were used to shore up the balance sheets of our banking and investment communities. Sure, strings are attached to this bailout for those who partake, but those strings are in no way as strong as the money all of these bankers, brokers and middle men personally made on their way up to “no value” money schemes and our current economic nightmare.

When the U.S. taxpayers now become shareholders with the value add of being “Preferred” Shareholders to all of these bailed out, but certainly not rescued institutions the real question is, “What are we buying?”

We are buying an unknown bottomless pit of nothingness. Even the gurus on Wall Street now are acknowledging in their oh so expert computer models, they did not figure on any type of variables other than the economy would keep sailing along, their bonds and insurance would be tripled rated, so they kept making money, pocketing their excessive fees while creating nothing. When an auditor goes to look at the books, where is the value of these derivatives and what are they worth? There is no collateral to back up these creative money making schemes. There is no value.

When Mr. Rubin, the former Secretary of Treasury under former President Bill Clinton, was asked to step down from Citigroup this week, he said he never saw the situation coming in the economy today. Even though he had control of the pulse of one of the larger world wide financial institutions which has needed help, he didn’t know? Does he have blinders on or is this stupidity? Is his behavior insular or is he in denial? While the shareholders have lost to date approximately eighty percent of the value of their stock under his tutelage, he himself was enriched to the tune of $150,000,000 in income by Citigroup in this same time period. Where is the correlation of his value to Citigroup and his income paid to him by Citigroup? There is none.

Spending most of my career in commercial real estate on 100% commission I understand the value of receiving income. You get paid when the job is done and you receive income for value created to two parties. There is no rhyme or reason for these excessive payouts to the aforementioned parties involved in our economic demise today. Going forward there should be an expectation of income received for value earned. Yes, we all need to go forward. The psychological and economic skids existing in today’s economy is a pull between the reality of the past and the fear of the future.

There are many lessons to be learned and still many knots to untangle. But we are a people of invaluable wealth in our desires for our dreams and aspirations to come true. We have passions to pursue and lives to live. Do not be a deer with their eyes in a headlight. Make a plan and work the plan. Live your life; do not fear your life to live. Be an example to your children regarding adversity and lead them to the future with lessons learned from the past.

In today’s job market you are worth your knowledge, your willingness to work and your desire to create value at whatever level you may be in the workforce. As I lived through the 1980’s in commercial real estate and all the pension funds, foreign money and REIT’s looked to buy that Class A office building, if there wasn’t one available, build it and they will come. The tenants’ would come that is. The tenants never did and interest rates went up to 22%. There was no value in those empty buildings. The market corrected. Yes it took time, but it corrected. The economy never stops 100% and it never will.

It will take time to correct today’s unknown economic uncertainties but we each have an individual responsibility to move forward and create value in our lives. In today’s job market you are worth what you can offer. This is your value. If you are an employee go to your boss and let them know what needs to be done to create more value in the company. If you are an employer take the walls down, reach out to your employees and get their ideas on how to create more value in your company. These employees are the wealth of your company, use their value. An entrepreneur, pursue your dreams; there are deals to be made today. As Warren Buffet has said regarding the stock market, when others are selling I am buying. He is not a billionaire by default, he creates value and so can all of us. Rise above the mediocrity, overcome your personal fears and create your own unique value in today’s world of work.


Anonymous said...

Right on! Could have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

Seems like my value is lowering by the day. It is really hard to maintain a positive attitude when I see people with more experience and higher education than me in the unemployment office.

My confidence is not shaken and I will stick to doing what I know is the right thing to do. Build my network, make sure my references know what I am looking for and keep on applying to jobs .... not just the ones on Craig's list, but in the newspaper and those I get referrals to. BUT I feel like I am getting near the end of my rope. Anything else you suggest I do?

Anonymous said...

To JS and anyone else feeling like you are about to get to the end of your rope,

Hang in there! Keep up the research and outreach. Build your network and make referrals to people you meet along the way. Review your resume to make sure it is letter perfect, that your cover letters are on point, directed to the job you know is open and not just form letters.

Volunteer in the areas you are passionate about. Let people get samples of you! Volunteering shows off your productivity, resoursefulness and team spirit.

I know it is hard... and you will have to make personal financial sacrifices such as sharing residence or possibly moving back home to parents but this might just be the temporary move you need to make to ensure you have the where-with-all to make it through the long haul.

Cover your basics:
Make sure your transportation is solid, your "uniform" of work is clean and appropriate and that you show up when expected ON TIME.
Return calls promptly and check your voice and email regularly to stay on top of job leads.

The amount of pay is secondary at this time. Right now it's about working and connecting with the most energetic group of people you can network with.

Keep updating your Facebook and Linked in or other on line network profiles. You might try www.nuresume.com or other on line job connection tools but be sure and put your quality activities on those updates. I just get fried when I see people posting silly stuff like "Bobby is watching tv now" Oh please, is it any wonder why no one wants to hire him?

Go out and meet at least three new people today. Tell them about your desire for work and ask them if there is something YOU can do to help THEM now. Many of these connections will lead no where.... but one or more of them over time will lead to great opportunities for you. Also, when you get offered leads that aren't right for you, find ways to let others know. "Pay it forward" and become a connector of other good news for people that the leads might be a better fit.

Watch our blog for more tips and give us your comments too.

Anonymous said...

J. - - there is much to be said about Winston Churchill's statement to "never, never, never give up". I've had numerous clients find the job they wanted when sit seemed they not only were at the end of their rope, they had already tied two extensions on it.

As Patty says, do meet at least 3 new people a day and do volunteer for an organization that you believe in. It will do your soul good and you never know who will be volunteering next to you.

I had a client working at a Santa workshop - - next to the CEO of a company. As they talked and my client shared his work experience, skills - - the CEO gave him the name of the VP of HR - - and "yes -there was a Santa Claus in this story". He went to work for the company, at a lower beginning salary, but quickly rose through the ranks when they realized his worth.
If you belong to a church or social organization - - go to all the meetings. Have a business card with your name, a descriptive title (i.e. Sales Professional, Experienced HR Professional, etc), your email address and cell phone #. Be ready to hand it to those you meet.

Also, get the Chamber of Commerce business directory for the area in which you live, look at all the companies and find 5 or 6 that interest you. Many small businesses are hiring, you just have to search through the haystack to find them.

Maneeza said...

To J. Swenson,

We all reach tough times and moments in our lives and it is crucial to keep proper perspective and know how to react. I have usually found that things seem most difficult right before you reach your goal, therefore it is very important to keep yourself going through this moment, as victory lies close ahead. We also do not know why things happen in life and what is waiting for us around the corner. Because of this I feel it is so important to keep a positive mentality that can help you create situations that you want to see. Focus on the positive, work hard, and your visions will become reality!