The Price of Quality

More than taxes, skilled workers are confronted with a much larger and looming price that transcends everything else, and that is the price of quality.

So many people these days are so hung up on the idea of saving costs, sometimes to the point of sacrificing quality. Others enlist the expertise of someone to fix their problems but insist on getting a bargain price. And there are the insistent few who undervalue the worth of an expert’s knowledge, and insist a flat rate for working people with all levels of experience. These insistent people treat all guys as the same banana if they have the same job description.

If the cause is purely (100%) not for profit and conducted in the spirit of volunteerism, I’d understand the need to cut costs. There is such a thing as a labor for love. I admire the Red Cross and all those erected charitable institutions that have really noble purposes in them. I know of people who work there and I have genuine reason to admire them and offer what I can do for them, absolutely free of charge.

But if you use someone’s labor of love into a venture where you will gain a very large amount of money, I think it’s okay to give something back.

Some people may not agree with me. But if the work of the expert will become an investment for fairly large returns, I think it’s just right to have some form of fair compensation to the person who labors intensely to make it come about or at the very least, a token or a form of assistance or allowance that will ensure that the person will not be taxed too heavily in securing the resources of building the project.

This is why I totally admire organizations that have some incentive and reward system that allows them to appreciate the people who help them grow. Companies that have profit sharing for their seasoned employees and bonuses for every sale they make or client they satisfy are most commendable because they have the initiative to help their employees grow and gain with them.

This holds true especially if the expertise required to make things happen is not something that an ordinary person can do with a limited time.

How will you know if a person is an expert? If that person can quickly and efficiently do what the others cannot do on their own or the others will take a long time to do with the same speed and quality.

If the task is simple and any other literate Dick or Harry can do it, then there’s no need for expert compensation. If you are just being asked to shoot some emails and make phone calls to people, that’s pretty easy. But if you are asked to produce monumentally time-consuming things that require a lot of brain work, I think the pricing is substantially different.

Even with my friends, I feel ashamed when I ask for discounts for expert knowledge and skills that they have worked so hard to build. If they are good at what they do, I make sure they get the rate that they deserve or more. Especially if I am going to generate some profit out of what I asked them to do for me.

It is a sad and common culture of the modern times. It’s also the season and trend where people whine that they need experts at their bidding but are only willing to give the salary good for newbies.

And newbies end up with higher levels of stress as they make their mark, as they embark on their careers, as they begin learning the tools of the trade, because they are often forced to deliver what only seasoned experts can deliver.The experts sign and get the big bucks, and the newbie who wants to gain experience will work as a ghost for the expert for peanuts’ pay just to get access to the projects.

Take nursing graduates as a case in point. Most of them now are lumped in call centers because if they want to practice what they studied they have a few options: 1.) go overseas, 2.) pay a local hospital to give them experience, or 3.) take a care giving course to make them go overseas easier. (Oh wait, that’s just actually two options because the third option is a sub-option of going overseas.)

These days, it’s much harder to build a career than in decades past because they expect more from you and pay you so little. It’s a reality. I’m not referring to a singular instance or a single entity. It’s a general trend and reality that I have observed, and how this trend depresses me I cannot put into words. If you’re not one of the brainy moguls who run the world, you are just a natural casualty of this reality.

The truth and reality of the matter is that, if you are out to gain the necessary experience to get paid better, you will undergo a lot of stress and you will be the first to pay for the price of quality. But even when you have paid the full price of quality with numerous accomplishments under your belt or years of experience of getting paid coins, you will still deal with the issue of getting paid a bargain or insulting price for something you gave your entire life to build and hone.

I don’t know what’s more insulting, to be a newbie with peanuts’ pay expected to deliver work with an experts’ speed and accuracy or to be a really good expert who gets ridiculously low or no pay for the excellent marvels of your craft. It’s highly depressing if you are both, and for people with more skill sets to hone, it can happen.

First, you pay the price of improving your quality as a worker. Next, you make other people pay the price when you have become really good with what you do but you need to protect yourself from people who are only out for a bargain. There are no free lunches. Somebody always has to pay the price of quality.

In a fair and just world, the newbie pays for the price to improve his quality with years of hard work and the expert makes the clients pay for his quality. But sometimes the client refuses to pay the right amount and the expert is treated as a newbie who needs to pay for everything for experience.

What do you do when these things happen?

The best thing in a Utopian world is to walk out of that royal mess. But it’s not that easy to walk out on certain situations especially if they have inherent complications. You have mouths to feed, there is a ceiling to what you can earn in your line of industry, older people who are much better than you have settled for much less and we must carry the tradition, and embarking on your business or being your own boss requires a humungous capital that can get depleted if you make one wrong move without a cushion.

And we all know that the severe unemployment rates in the country can’t make choosers out of beggars. They either suck it up and accept the reality that they are as poor as rats and they cannot say no to a job that does not pay fairly because there isn’t much of a choice.

You sacrifice the actual worth of your skills to gain some stability or to gain something other than money.

And then people ask many people are so lethargic and gloomy these days, why there are so many crimes, why there are so many people leaving this country.I am not so surprised when these things happen. There’s nothing new about it. I’ve stopped watching the news for this reason.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you cannot worry about intangible shit like self-actualization or personal fulfillment if you cannot feed yourself or pay your rent or take yourself from one place to another. You can’t think clearly on a growling stomach.

People who work overseas get times five of what the local workers earn here but no matter how many impressive things they show on their Facebook accounts and how they make their poorer local contemporaries salivate on their computer screens, I believe they’re still underpaid because they pay a lot out of their very lives to get paid a lot in that way. They leave their families and loved ones, suffer the painful discrimination and racism, and sometimes endure unspoken but imminently abusive conditions because they are not in their home territory.

What a charade this whole enterprise is. Some of us are just good at camouflaging what we actually go through, but whether you work here or overseas, it’s not easy. Some people just busy themselves so that they will not feel gnawing self-pity that has eaten up their common sense.

I guess what I am trying to say is that everyone (I mean everyone, with certain exceptions like 1% of the world population) who works with much commendable quality is generally, sorely underpaid, and if you try to make your rights known or get the value of what you are able to do, you will just get laughed at or deemed ridiculous and unreasonable by the people who support this culture of exploitation.

You’re a mean person if you try to assert what is rightfully yours because people are conditioned to be exploited in general. There are a lot of working masochists walking about and it’s either you join them or you get criticized.

So you either eat that reality for breakfast with such depression or subscribe to positive psychology which does not address the very problem at the roots. Now I know why my Philosophy teacher told me once that it’s a hard life to learn how to really think deeper than what the surface allows you to see.The realities you find can be deadly, hard to accept, depressing, and downright frustrating.

Still, I’d rather be meaningfully depressed than superficially content.

And while the world is so unfair, we all end up dead and you cannot bring all your extra money and/or misery. So it does not make much sense to worry about it too much.

It’s either you say yes or say no.That’s just how life goes these days.

So if it’s all meaningless, why write this 1,700-word blog post? I guess, sometimes, we write to reveal the tears that never reach the eyes.

When they say that you should find work that you love, it’s not an advice. It’s a necessity to keep your sanity.






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