• June 2010

What does money mean to you?

By Paige Rhodes
Chief Executive Officer of the Washington, DC Recruiting Firm
Rhodes & Weinstock

When I heard that Nell Merlino was the cover story for the June issue of Be Inkandescent Magazine, I started contemplating the relationship between my field of recruiting and money.

It got me thinking about what money really is (a tool), what it does to people (incites passion, bliss, anger, envy), and how it is valued (sometimes over everything else).

Of course, these are MY feelings about money.

As the owner of a recruiting firm, every day I broker deals where I’m negotiating salary, benefits, and other contractual elements between potential employees and employers. I can tell you from experience that not everyone views money in the same way.

The longer I pondered this, the louder the 1973 song by the O’Jays “For the Love of Money” started playing in my head. As I re-read the lyrics, it became clear why it was resurrected as the theme song for Donald Trump’s hit show “The Apprentice.” [Check out the lyrics at the end of this article.]

Money: The Great Trigger

Money, by definition, is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts. It is a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value, and occasionally, a standard of deferred payment. While it originated as a commodity, nearly every contemporary money system is based on fiat money — something that must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for all debts, public and private.

Seems like a simple, straightforward concept for something that gets us so riled up. So why does the concept of money trigger our emotions?

In my opinion, it is because we use it to define our value.

From the time kids begin school, their value is measured in how well they do in class. Getting good grades tells the teacher they understand the lessons, which in turn, puts them into the category of being “smart.” Smart people get into good colleges, then graduate and get good jobs, so they can — what else — make more money.

As a recruiter, I’ve seen the power that money has on people — from business owners and managers to the job candidates themselves — because in my line of work, the amount of money an employer is willing to pay is often the dealmaker or deal breaker. But there are other factors to consider.

When I broker an employment deal, I ask candidates:

• Do you want more money or more vacation?
• Do you want a higher salary or the opportunity to make more in the form of a bonus?
• Do you want to work a 40-hour week, or four days a week — for less money?

Likewise, my clients need to decide if they can afford to pay for a “superstar” employee, or if they prefer to save money on their payroll by filling the position with a less qualified candidate.

I know that whatever decisions they make will depend on their budget — as well as what they value.

And then there are the intangibles. What makes a candidate a good fit for a company? It is so much more complicated than the exchange of money. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than getting a call from a recently placed candidate saying she was promoted — again.

The Power of the Greenback

But then, I also feel a gush of pride when I hear from a candidate who has been in his new job for six months and now can afford to buy his first home. He couldn’t have done that if he wasn’t making enough money.

So, perhaps, the key is having a healthy relationship to money. And when you “Make Mine A Million,” perhaps you can give some of it to help others.

Andrew Carnegie created world-class public buildings and colleges. Bill Gates is trying to rid the world of Malaria. Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, is using his fortune to help end global poverty. Oprah has inspired millions to do good work through her Angel Network.

Click here to read about 10 celebrities who are giving back.

I use these people as an example in my own life, and each year give a portion of my earnings to the causes that I think are important. I donate generously to Hospice, serve on the Board of Directors for a homeless shelter, and raise money for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk to support breast cancer research.

When I “Make Mine a Million,” I’ll use it in a million positive ways to better other people’s lives. If I make $10 million — I’ll help that many more. What will you do with your bounty?

For the Love of Money
by the O’Jays
Click here to watch the band perform their hit song on YouTube.

Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y’all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, yall

For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can’t even walk the street
Because they never know who in the world they’re gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money


About Paige Rhodes

Prior to co-founding Rhodes & Weinstock in 2009, Paige Rhodes spent more than 15 years in staffing, human resources and law firm management.

Throughout her career, she has gained an intricate knowledge of the temporary, temp-to-hire and direct placement services. In addition to her staffing industry experience, Paige has also spent several years in human resources, and as an HR manager at two large law firms in the DC metropolitan area.

The combination of in-house and outplacement recruiting experience gives her a unique understanding of the hiring needs and concerns of her clients, from large multinational corporations to small start-ups.

Paige prides herself on developing long-term relationships with her candidates and clients. She believes superior customer service and honesty are the cornerstones of a successful business relationship. Paige is a member of the American Staffing Association and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and a proud Gator!

Click here to learn more about Rhodes & Weinstock. Contact Paige at prhodes@r-wgroup.com.