One of my friends once said, “Working for cool points” means, “I’m not working to earn cool points anymore.” It stuck with me. She was trying to make a living in the creative industry by flipping the bird. It was an amazing, gut-churning revelation!

Creativity is a place where we are filled with optimism and excitement. We don’t expect to work overtime unpaid. We feel like the CHOSEN ONES.

Even though I didn’t realize it, I was working to earn ‘cool points’. I was working in an environment that encourages scope creep’. More on scoop creep soon.

I believed that I could be underpaid as I was in an exciting industry, where I received free CDs (remember those?) I was also given concert tickets, free meals and other perks. Although these supplementary benefits were greatly appreciated, they weren’t enough to pay my rent.

I was selling myself out. The financial rewards were not worth it. While I wanted to keep my job, the most important thing was that I didn’t want it to be taken away by anyone else. So began the struggle for self-worth and inner peace.

It can harm your self-worth and bank balance. This can impact your self-worth. This can also impact your performance.

As we all know, feeling undervalued can lead to resentment.

The creative industries are self-regulated. No one can give us an ‘award for what we do. We do it out of love, and maybe a little bit of reflected glory, and because we don’t want to think about alternative workplace scenarios.

It is often up to us to decide our self-worth concerning money. This can be difficult due to ingrained mindsets about money, self-esteem issues, pleasing people and over-delivering. This is often reinforced in the creative industries by the “starving artist” cliche many of us have bought into overtime. Many of us feel fortunate to have these creative roles and are grateful for any money we receive. What if we changed how we think about this to see the unique value we provide to the creative industries and not what they are giving us?

The intrinsic nature of self-worth (meaning that it comes from within), so only can influence and determine your self-worth.

It’s a sign of imbalance if you constantly strive for low returns and feel anger and resentment creeping in. It is good to establish clear boundaries about what you will and won’t do for cool points.


  • Be clear about what you offer your clients and colleagues. What unique offer can you make? What time can you save your clients or company?
  • How satisfied are clients who work with freelancers or artists that are underpaid? What kind of feedback have you received?
  • Consider how much it will cost to be a freelancer.
  • Once you have clarified the above, it is time to start the conversation about money.
  • Negotiating is a fine art. However, it’s important to do your research before you learn. What should your salary be? How much are your peers and others who do similar work getting paid? Is there anyone in your field that earns significantly more than you? What do they do differently?
  • Although negotiation may not always work out in your favour, it is a valuable life skill that can be used regardless of your profession. You will feel more self-worth if you take the initiative to have this conversation.
  • If you don’t have the flexibility to pay the dollar but still want the gig, can you accept the money offered and adjust your hours accordingly.
  • Focus internally on your strengths and not your weaknesses. We are great at overlooking our strengths.
  • Consider the way you are working. Are you guilty of over-delivering? Do you think so?
  • Is it asking you to do more, or are you just doing it because you’re too good?
  • If you are, then set clear boundaries and follow them.
  • If you’re sick, be sick (at home)
  • You have the right to take your holidays. If you work for yourself, ensure that holiday time is included in your year.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior unless your consent.”

It’s often because you believe you are worth more in your job life.

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