The Two-Wheeled Tricycle
Every resource in the world falls into one of three categories: Time, Talent, or Treasure. Regardless of what you have, it’s one of these three and between them, they make up the currency that we use for every transaction on earth. The crazy thing is when you realize that nearly every exchange involves all three.
If I go to the store and buy a Snickers bar. It seems like a simple transaction. I give my money (Treasure) and in reutrn I receive candy (More Treasure). But is it really that simple? I had to devote a certain amount of Time to go to the store didn’t I? I have to expend some of my Talent to earn the money I spent, right? Someone took the Time and used his or her Talent to make that peanutty goodness. Someone delivered it to the store.
All of a sudden what seemed like the simplest of transactions doesn’t seem so simple anymore. I guess it’s all in the way you look at it. When I view the purchase as a throw-away event involving very little resource, I’m more likely to wolf down my Snickers with barely any consideration. However, when I see it as a complex interaction involving many resources and several people, I’m more likely to savor that snack just a little.
In the end, the price doesn’t change. The candy doesn’t change. What changes is my perspective. And a different perspective can sometimes be all that’s necessary to make something ordinary a little sweeter.
The Employment Equation
People often view employment the same way. We see it as a simple transaction where we trade Time for Treasure. This is true on both sides of the deal. Employers believe that employees should be grateful for the wage paid, because they know how hard that money was to come by in business. Employees believe that employers should be grateful for the time they invest in their jobs, because they know how hard it was to deny themselves and prioritize work over all the other things they would rather have done with their time.
The problem is that neither side has an honest view of the transaction, because no one is accounting for Talent. This is the source of discontent more often than not. Have you ever found yourself growing restless in a job–discontent without really knowing why? Odds are, you subconsciously feel that your talent is not being valued. You may realize that’s what it is, but soon you’re looking for a new position somewhere else. Unfortunately, unless you negotiate differently the next time around, you’ll likely end up in the same place.
The same is true for employers. Have you ever grown dissatisfied with an empoyee for some unkown reason? You may not understand why, but you just get the feeling that person just doesn’t appreciate the talent you have invested in the company you built. Before long it seems like everything that person does annoys you and you find yourself wishing he or she would leave. Or maybe you even look for ways to let him or her go. But just like the employee, if you don’t change the way you hire the next one, you’re likely to end up on the same place.