I'm fascinated by cliches. They're an interesting phenomenon. Part truth, part fiction, but so wholly familiar they get taken for granted and employed in a multitude of misappropriated ways. "You gotta sell yourself' is one of the latest cliches I've been fascinated by.
Taking a look at this one, apparently, the market won't value you if you aren't saleable. Gah. Horrible stuff to be imparting as shared colloquial wisdom. As matter of fact. If you spend enough time feeling like your only value is determined by the marketplace, pretty soon you get a sense, conscious or not, that dancing bears and various forms of self- and other- objectification are on the horizon.
And the thing is: what about people who very literally sell them selves? Some versions of selling ones self are more dignity losing than others, but isn't it all slightly chipping away at something that we're supposed to inherently be, regardless of market value? Those who can't sell themselves, or don't sell themselves enough aren't worth anything apparently. Those who are better able to sell, are worth more. But are they really? Infants sell youth, charisma, beauty, and possibility - regardless of their general life ineptitude. Old people are the knowledge and wisdom keepers, but if the wisdom we value points to selling and not to knowledge and experience, then we're back where we started. Who started this anyway?? I'd hypothesize it was probably a merchant who saw great power in markets and money. And that's probably vastly different than most folks who throw this little pearl around.