What am I worth?

Much like all of my past summer jobs, this internship came with the understanding that my salary was already pre-negotiated. I’ve always considered myself a pretty mission-driven rather than money-driven person, so my past work experience has usually involved either a passion of mine or a skill-set that I was interested in mastering. It’s not that I don’t appreciate money. In fact, I would say that as a student of political economics, I am acutely aware of the fact that in many ways, money defines us. However, because I’ve always taken positions in the past with pre-set hourly wages, I’ve considered my value as an employee to be roughly equal to any other person in my position. In other words, I’ve never been put in a position where I’ve had to look at myself and wonder, “What am I worth?”
The question hit me after I was given the amazing news last week that ECDI would be possibly be keeping me on as an intern. I knew from the beginning of these discussions that, if I were to be hired, I could not possibly get paid as much as I’m currently receiving from the Columbus Foundation’s generous support. From there, the question became: how much should I be paid if I stayed at ECDI? Like any child of the internet, I immediately googled the average salary of a grant writer and got nothing. Even taking into account the type of organization you’re working for, the city you live in and how long you’ve been doing it, the salaries vary dramatically. Accepting that google would give me no answers, I turned to my friends and family. I was torn by the fact that, while potential assistantships may come with tuition coverage, a hefty stipend and financial peace of mind, they could never give me the satisfaction of working for an organization I truly believe in. Luckily, when the time came to discuss my salary with Tammy, I was comfortable enough to voice this concern and we were able to work out the hours and rate needed for me to say at ECDI long term. For the first time, I felt more like a professional than just an employee or intern. I’ve realized that, while I still don’t I have a definitive answer to the question “What am I worth?”, I definitely think it’s a question we’re all worth enough to ask.

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