More than Rubies (A Working Girl’s Worth)

Lately, I’ve been having a conversation with two friends. The three of us are on our own now–husbands and children gone–and we are all considering, discussing, praying over and talking to each about one topic. “What is a working girl’s worth?”

One is a landscape designer. One is a counselor. One is me, a flower market manager. With all the discussion of living wages going on (mainly among the liberal quadrant), and what the market will bear for employees, each of us is considering what our personal worth is in our respective market places. It is a heavy question.

Here’s why.

1. We aren’t 20. We’re in our 50s. Does that make us more valuable or less?

2. We spent the last 20 years building families not careers. How does that factor into our marketable worth?

3. Does experience count as much as the degree? Is there a dollar figure on that? Or is the degree worth more regardless of experience?

4. What do we actually need to support ourselves? We don’t live like fresh-out-of-college kids. We’re grown women with families, who sometimes need our support.

5. Have women finally made inroads into the market place, or can we expect to make less than the men simply because we’re women still? (Geez. Someone please tell me this one has changed in 20 years.)

For working girls who are now the financial support of our households, this is the focus of our conversations. What are the true business costs? How do you publish a newsletter, start a facebook page, do twitter and what the heck is pinterest? We read, study, take classes, go to seminars, volunteer at symposiums, work 60-80 hours a week. We’re trying to catch up, but we’re also just plain passionate about what we do.

The same energy that went into building our families is channeled into our careers. We’re nervous. We’re worried. Scared and timid. Are we worth all that? What if we think we are, but no one else does, and we’re left alone, again.

There. That thought loves to creep in around the edges. What are we worth when our husbands up and runnoft? Are living with other women? Didn’t think our contributions to our families was worth one dime? Hmmm. Hard not to let that one wonder in on occasion, and sometimes bleed into the thought process.

But, we’re tough women. We encourage, demand, force each other to hold her head up and keep moving. Forget about that. Forget about him. Forget about the other woman. What is a working girl’s worth? Far more than rubies, far more than rubies, that’s what she is worth.