What’s in it for me?

Posted October 27, 2009 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

Human beings are selfish individuals. But there’s an epidemic for women in the world – we tend to feel ashamed of our selfishness. As women, specifically, we often allow ourselves to be taken advantage of for no specific reason. How many times has a woman been a doormat because she didn’t want to offend anyone or make waves?

Maybe it’s time we, as women start asking a very simple question – “What’s in it for me?” Because really, why would you do anything if you don’t get something out of it? We go to work because we get paid, because it fulfills us personally, because we enjoy our co-workers or our accomplishments or our challenges. We have romantic relationships because they make us feel special, loved, because we enjoy spending time with the person we’re in a relationship with.

What about friendships? What’s in it for us? We have friends who support us, who love us, who are there for us when we need them. We have friends who supply fun, excitement and loads of laughs. We make friends and keep friends for all sorts of reasons and usually it’s very easy to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” with your friends. But what happens when you answer “nothing”? Do we lay down and become a doormat for that so-called friend or do we truthfully accept the fact that if there’s nothing in it for us, we shouldn’t do it?

When you have a friend whose presence in your life is destructive rather than constructive, isn’t it more constructive in your life to remove their presence and be a little selfish? Or should you keep dealing with their destructive behavior, hoping eventually they’ll come around?

If we keep allowing our relationships to be one-sided and unfulfilling, aren’t we just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of doormat-isms? If you teach people how to treat you, maybe it’s time for women to stop allowing ourselves to be surrounded by anyone whose presence doesn’t have an immediate answer to the question “what’s in it for me?”

The truth is, if someone doesn’t add value to your life, they subtract it. Cut them out. It might feel selfish in the moment, but it will make you better and stronger in the long run.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."