From Disposable to Indispensable: Discover Your Professional Worth


I don’t usually post articles from my newsletter here or on social media. The idea behind my newsletter is to give subscribers exclusive, valuable content that isn’t available elsewhere. But I’m making an exception with this article about professional worth because I believe it’s helpful to a wider audience, beyond just small and home business owners. I hope you find it useful. And if you’re curious about the kind of content my newsletter subscribers get, why not join us? We’d love to have you! T. Marie

Before starting my own virtual services business in 2007, I worked a variety of jobs. From a grocery store cashier to a bank teller to a real estate paralegal, one thing remained constant: I felt like a mere pawn in the vast corporate game. No matter the role, there was always a lingering sentiment from my superiors that made me feel, well, inferior. This pervasive feeling that I could be replaced at any moment was not only demoralizing but also stifled any sense of loyalty that might have blossomed for these employers.

You might think that embarking on my own entrepreneurial journey would have shielded me from feelings of disposability. Surprise! It did not. For a long time, I operated my business under the shadow of being perceived as “just an assistant.” This perception was partly due to the lingering effects of past job experiences and partly because I was constantly bombarded by articles and social media posts about how easy it was to find cheap virtual assistance. It was an ailment more severe than imposter syndrome—something I came to recognize as “expendable affliction,” the state of constantly feeling like you lack value and are in danger of being replaced.

Breaking the Cycle of Expendability

Experiencing expendable affliction can be paralyzing, whether you’re an employee or running your own business. For employees, it can prevent you from sharing innovative ideas or investing yourself fully in your work, as the fear of making a mistake and being replaced hangs over your head like a thundercloud. For entrepreneurs like myself, this affliction could stop you from fully engaging with clients. Holding you back from offering comprehensive solutions or sharing your true expertise for fear of stepping beyond the perceived limits of your role.

So, what can be done to combat this persistant issue? The first step is recognizing and appreciating your own worth. It’s about getting clear with yourself on what you bring to the table and understanding the value of those contributions in today’s job market. This can be an eye-opening experience. When you start seeing yourself as more than “just an” anything, you begin to tear down the mental barriers formed by years of feeling expendable.

Valuing Yourself to Inspire Valuation from Others

The truth is, each of us holds unique skills and perspectives that are not easily replicated. Once I embraced this truth, it revolutionized how I approached my business. I was no longer just a participant in the business world. I was a key player with valuable insights and services. Recognizing your unique value is the first step; the next is to make sure that others see it too. In other words, you need to focus your marketing in order to highlight your unique skills. You also need to price your services not just competitively, but in a manner that reflects their professional worth.

Today, the dynamics of the workplace are changing. Individuals are increasingly recognizing that companies need them just as much as they need their jobs. This mutual dependence is slowly shifting the balance, empowering workers and diminishing the days when hundreds of applicants would line up for a single, undervalued position. Hopefully, this means we are seeing the end of expendable affliction.

Are You Ready to Discover Your True Value?

If you’re unsure how to assess your value, don’t worry. I’ve been there, and I can help guide you through this process. Learning to value yourself appropriately is not just about asking for fair compensation. It’s about transforming how you view yourself and ensuring others recognize the value you bring.

Don’t let another day pass feeling like a replaceable cog in the machine. Start today by recognizing your professional worth and taking active steps to demand recognition and appropriate compensation for it. If you need a guide on this journey, check out my self-study course. It’s where I help individuals just like you discover and claim their value in the professional world.

Embrace your unique strengths and let’s make this journey together.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.

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