The Price of Expertise: Part 4

This is the fourth post in my several-post series The Price of Expertise exploring the topic of money in relation to 10,000 Hours. (Click here for Part 1: The Etsy Equation, here for Part 2: Pirates and Trolls, a Contemporary Tale, and here for Part 3: Apples of the Hesperides.) I’m finding more and more that ideas about money are inextricably linked to this journey and it is having a major impact on the way I experience the pursuit of mastery. This particular topic encompasses many different aspects of 10,000 Hours and I’ll try breaking them down into their various categories over the next few posts.

Part 4: No Words

One month has passed since the last installment exploring money-related issues with 10,000 Hours. This is because the next part will cover the valuation of my time.

This is a really difficult subject for me. I have been thinking about it and working on it pretty much non-stop since January of this year. And still, I sit down to type this post and I freeze. I’m just not ready to talk about it yet. I don’t have the words. Well, that’s not quite right. I have too many words and they all spill out at once to the front of my mind where they strangle each other and leave me with nothing coherent to type.

After a summer of living on the threshold of poverty (we live at the edge and when the academic year is over, the edge comes that much closer), discussions about what my time and efforts are worth, about what I am worth, are too painful to have right now. But I am aware that it is a discussion that must happen. And as I’ve said, it’s been one I’ve been having privately and offline since January. Discussing with friends and trusted colleagues. Discussing endlessly. Being told on one hand that I must demand what my time is worth, what is equitable and sustainable… and also being told by those very same people in that same conversation that there’s no way I can charge that for my time and even that maybe I should charge Chinese-factory-labor wages to make a statement. A statement I feel which would be lost, given that just this week I had to explain to yet another customer that $2.95 was for the pattern and not the gloves themselves. Again. (See: Part 1.)

This conversation is too painful. I will have it with you. I will come back to this. But right now, I can’t.