The guy was a local, a father of two with an engineering degree. He loved doing his work while it involved his craft but was naive, and a hopeless negotiator. All of his 5 consecutive bosses knew they needed an engineer, but simply didn’t know how to work with one. His expertise was frequently dismissed, sidelined, misapplied, and, of course, severely underpaid. After 15 years, he finally quit and found a stable way to provide for his family.
That’s how we met, he was my Uber driver.
And I know undervaluing drives many smart people to give up, but he’s the one I met.
And it boils my blood.
Even from the viewpoint of cold business logic, this kind of scenario is bad for everyone. Driving an Uber has an unpredictable schedule and barely any benefits, so his family is worse off. All of those companies lost a dependable worker for no good reason, which is painful and wasteful. Finally, the whole of society is also worse off, because precious few people are capable of being engineers, and the need for their work increases as fast as the population of smart people dies off or moves away. Everybody loses.**
So next time you are afraid of being seen as selfish for asking to be paid closer to the value you provide, think of the story above.**
People, please, raise your voice! Today. You not only deserve to be paid your worth, but it’s also the right thing to do for everyone involved.