Monika’s Musings

miscellaneous tidbits on marketing, advertising, and life in general

No price = No value

February20

Sometimes life will throw one of it’s best lessons at you when you least expect them.

As most students do, I needed to find whatever little jobs were available to make some extra cash. After all, Paris had a lot to offer and a young Bulgarian student was desperate to make the most of her experience in this fantastic city.

I was really lucky to find a nice family with three boisterous boys that needed babysitting. They paid really well too, however, obviously there were more satisfying jobs. Lucky for me, I was offered one – an internship at Landor Paris (Landor is one of the leading design and brand management agencies in the world, part of WPP Group). I had in fact dedicated a lot of time in university to a paper on Landor and it was my dream job (still is, to be honest).

Telling the boys’ parents that I want to quit was one of the most difficult things I had to do – they were extremely nice and counted on me, since I had made a long-term commitment. However, being intelligent and good people, they were nothing but happy for me. The father, Mr. Loning sat me down for a quick talk – he was German and wanted to give me some advice on how to be a foreigner working in a French company.

He proceeded to tell me that when young people applied for jobs they though the employer had all the power and the upper hand in the conversation. Which, he said, is not true at all. It was really hard to find qualified, smart, educated people and - as one of those – I had to be incredibly confident. Then he asked me how much they were going to pay and nearly fainted when he heard the answer. It wasn’t remotely enough to pay rent, and my babysitting job paid three times more…

Mr. L: You’ve got to ask for more.

Me: But I can’t – those are the internship conditions…

Mr. L: Then ask for 2 days vacation.

Me: But I can’t – they don’t allow interns to have days off.

Mr. L: Child, you are giving your work for free. Never do that. What has no price has no value.

That was it, right there – one of my life’s best lessons. If you didn’t put a price on your work, on your qualities, no one will value them. The lesson came not from school (for which my parents paid a fortune), but from a nice guy whom I was abandoning with overnight notice…

I proceeded to negotiate 2 days off and started the most amazing job of my life. The internship long over (I couldn’t stay for a real job cause I had no working papers) I still believe that my place is at Landor. And one day I know I will return to this company.

But the thing I really will never forget is this conversation with Mr. Loning. And today, any chance I get, I give this advice to my friends who are feeling bad to ask for what they are worth from their future employers.

This is also true for pricing goods and services – never be afraid to put the right price on what you offer – and people will value it for what its worth. Provide customers with added value, but not with free things. Free might be good, but only short-term.

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posted under General stuff, Marketing
One Comment to

“No price = No value”

  1. On February 23rd, 2009 at 7:44 pm Andreas Says:

    Sound advice indeed. I’ve used it myself in the past, and I remember my mother applying for a job way back when where they asked her what salary she wanted – although the job was what appeared to be a “step down” from her then current position, they said “good – people do not seem to realize what this job entails at all, but demanding that salary shows us that you do”.

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