I Determined My Worth as a Person, and It is $30

There is an aphorism that I’ve seen circulating on the Internet, usually related to salary negotiation, that goes “Know Your Worth.”

I didn’t know how to take this. What is my worth anyway? How can one tell? Isn’t it all arbitrary and based more on perception than reality?

So, safe in my internet cocoon, I have tried to do just that. I have very scientifically calculated my self-worth based on quantitative inputs like “Am I nice?” and “Do I purchase clothing from overhyped Canadian brands?”, and I have determined my worth to be $30.

Please enjoy and let me know if you also try this exercise. Your answer will determine whether or not we are allowed to speak again in the event of a dystopian takeover.



Yes, I will grant you that the Shake Shack sources its ingredients locally, that the menu variety is a lot better, and that the cheese fries are indeed good. But c’mon, those crinkle fries, deep under that pound of cheese, are the kind of stuff you get at carnivals and at high school concession stands. The cajun fries at Five Guys are way better. C’mon. You know this.




If you have an Android phone, then you know what I mean when I say that the Snapchat app is awful. It is laggy and has an interface that’s virtually unusable. Every time I swipe, I almost start a conversation with a random acquaintance.

Enter Instagram. A couple weeks ago, I tried promoting my blog post over the Stories feature. I know a lot more people on Instagram and it’s way more customizable—what’s there to lose?

The answer is: my sense of ownership amongst my peers. I recognize intellectually that Instagram is more intuitive than Snapchat, but I tried so hard to replicate the cute text effects I saw on other people’s Stories (to no success) and I had to look at support forums to figure out how to include a hyperlink in my Story so people could swipe up to read. I still don’t know why that paperclip wasn’t showing up at the time I needed it most.




I have an intermediate-to-advanced grasp of Excel. I know my way around a pivot table, a VLOOKUP, a chart. This is my only transferable skill.




I was and still am a serial rule follower. In 8th grade, I was secretary in our middle school government. This was a largely symbolic title that meant I took notes every meeting, but I took this seriously and tried to uphold the rules and values of my school.

Now, I went to a private school, where we had to wear uniforms everyday. We had a strict dress code, which included keeping your polo shirt tucked into your elastic-waistbanded khakis at all times. A dorky look to be sure, but we were representing capital-G God in all endeavors, and God likes a tucked-in shirt. It’s one of the commandments, I think.

One day, my teacher (also the adviser of the organization) takes me aside at lunch and gives me an infraction for not having my shirt tucked in. She tells me something like, “This is not what a member of the middle school government should be doing. You need to be an example to the other students.”

In repentance for my grievous sin:




I am that person who’s like, “What’s so hard about eating PB&Js and crackers every day?” In unrelated news, I also don’t have many friends.




On the plane to Orlando the other day, I got an aisle in the very last row of the plane. By some cosmic fluke, I had the whole row to myself! Me! Little ol’ Taylor!

The people on the other side of the row (D through F) were sandwiched together in normal fashion. The couple at the end looks over at me then asks the flight attendant, “Is it okay if we…spread out?”

I intercept: “They can take my row! I can sit at the aisle seat of their row.”

They accept the offer and thank me a couple times, and I feel like a hero. But then I start to wonder, when had they planned on asking me if it was okay to “spread out”? Did they feel entitled to the extra seats next to me, in the same way that I had felt entitled to them? Now, pretty much everyone won in this situation: The couple got to spread out, I got to spread out, and the woman in the far window seat got to spread out. But at what cost to my ego?




Pretty much everyone’s got it, so this confidence level of I can do things, but other people may be better may make me more relatable as a person, but counterpoint: who needs another self-deprecating 20-something in their life? That’s right. No one.




I should not have bought a $200 piece of cloth at full price while unemployed. I never spend this much money on apparel or really anything. But here we are.

I will say, though, that this blazer is pretty much perfect and what I’ve been seeking for years—black, three-quarter-length sleeves, no lapel, loose fitting but not so much that I’m lost in it, dresses up any outfit.

Here is where I flounder, because I didn’t think through these rules. Is this a net gain, because I have acquired an item worth $200, or a net loss, because I am out $200 like an idiot?

I’m sorry. I need this boost.



Total: $30

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