Time Isn’t Money

As long as I’ve worked, I’ve believed the old adage “time is money.” That how you spend your time in inherently valuable. For this reason, I always believed in hourly work. That doing work correctly offered its own rewards. Unfortunately, there are two  problems (and a half) with that.

For one, this system encourages dawdling. As in, if I were to make 3 hour job last 5 hours, I would be paid more. Likewise, if I did good work, and completed a five hour job in three hours, I would be basically cheating myself out of money. In this case, I would either ask for a raise or hope the boss will notice, and give me one. But I’m too shy and too polite to do the former (it’s not a character flaw to be soft-hearted, but it’s troublesome when you need to be assertive), and I can’t count on the boss to be decent enough to always do this. Besides which, they are trying to get a good value too. Which brings to another problem (but not quite the second), either I work hard and rip myself off of money I need for expenses, or the boss feels ripped off and fires me. I would actually prefer steady pay, and to work hard and fast so the job is done quickly, and I can go and do what I want to.

Which is the second problem. We, as humans, are wasting our lives. We are spending it on stuff that has no value. At Walmart, most of what I did was watch an area. I didn’t sell, customer service, or stocking, so much as sit and make sure stuff wasn’t getting stolen from a store. Okay, here’s the thing, in that store hours were a given, since there was no real way to finish early and head home (I mean, you could end maybe five minutes early (and were encouraged to, by the anti-overtime system), so money was basically guaranteed. But I usually wanted to head home. Or go shopping, or anything to actually have money that I could spend. As it was, because of pay by the hour, I was wasting their time and mine, and when my car broke down, and I had not enough money to pay (despite working 40 hours some weeks, I got paid every two weeks, and it averaged poorly), I basically had to quit. Here is the second issue: If time is money, and you work for someone else, this means that if they are wasting your time by making you believe that working longer pays more, you are being stolen from. Not strangely, this actually appears to the prevailing them of use and abuse that I have observed. When people work by time, for others, they pretty much spend their entire lives and are still poor.

On the other hand, my electrologist works by the job, and while time is involved, she gets a flat rate for her work. And I, since I revalued my system, am trying to work more toward a finished job pay. Essentially, I’d rather have a job that is worth $40, if I finish it in 8 hours, I’m ripping myself off, by wasting time. So I should try to get in done correctly in 1 hour. Of course, this system is currently not ideal, because I can’t really judge the value of my work, but here’s the key.

The value of our lives is not defined by the time we spend on it. Money is not, and should not be based around the concept of time. Instead, money is a shorthand for value. How valuable is my work to you? Am I doing something worthwhile? If my quality of work suffers, if I’m wasting my time, don’t give me as much. If I seem to be doing something meaningful, give me feedback through pay. I want to be done with jobs quicker, and have more time to spend with family and friends.There are not enough hours in the day to spend on scheduled time. But there are enough hours to spend on doing something worthwhile. It’s time that work remove time from the equation.


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