When your net-worth threatens your self-worth

By Nimi Princewill

Society don’t care what value you create. If you aren’t getting rewarded with an obese paycheck, you aren’t doing nothing. Well, shame on society. Finding fulfillment in the service you render (even on a volunteer job) is the biggest reward. Monetary remuneration is only an added advantage.

Every once in a while, I get approached by publications across Africa, requesting I contribute my thoughts to their platforms. I oblige for free, and it drives a few people crazy. In their words, “You write for all these publications? You must be earning a boatload…” I do imagine how terribly disappointed they get, as nothing reeks of poor judgment any worse than my usual reply, “I don’t write for money.”
As usual, another mail appeared a while ago; and yet again, I’d been presented with a columnist role by a Tanzanian publication. In a similar fashion, a loved one angrily ranted, “You’d be foolish if you accept without negotiating a price!” Well, of course, I accepted without negotiating a price!

Self-worth is frequently abandoned for net-worth. A lot of underpaid employees will not put in their best as long as the pay isn’t commensurate with their value. Isn’t it staggering how people constantly ridicule the noble teaching profession we’re all beneficiaries of because of its low monetary benefits? Modern-day politicians aren’t wired with the decency to leave office broke in order to sacrifice personal gains for community development. Is it any surprise that the contemporary church has compromised every bit of its self-worth for material enrichment at the expense of its original mission?

The proof of success shouldn’t be rated based on income or possessions. It should be measured by the value you create. As an underemployed, underpaid or well-paid worker, have you volunteered in some way in making the world a little better than you met it without exactly looking out for returns? As Albert Einstein suggested, “Try not to be a man of success but rather try to be a man of value.”

So the next time you come across a “broke” teacher, religious leader, singer, writer, soldier, or public office holder who finds fulfillment in pursuing purpose with little or no financial expectation, offer a lengthy smile of encouragement. Never place net-worth far above self-worth!


Bio: Nimi Princewill is a Nigerian-born writer and social reformer.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @princewill_nimi