Winning With Time
To continue from our last article “The Economics of Time,” we will now discuss winning with time. When we use the term “winning with time” we’re simply discussing how you can use time efficiently, either to enjoy a certain quality of life, or to be paid adequately to compensate for the lost time.
There are many people out there that “lose with time,” but that will be discussed next time. This article will not necessarily discuss specifics about winning with time, but will talk about the broader subjects that encompass the specific scenarios. Let us outline the 4 main ideas we will cover:
- A single high hourly wage
- Many lower, average, or high hourly wages
- Using other peoples’ time (including technology)
- Hoarding your time
Fat Raises, and Fat Bonuses
When the market took a nose dive in 2008, there were a lot of people outraged over the bonuses that many bank and insurance companies were paying out to their executives. Their reason was that they need to pay competitively or they “would lose their brightest minds.” This is an example of our first bullet point on time, get paid a high hourly wage, or your time is being bought cheap.
Yes, we know that many of those guys are salaried and getting large bonuses, but if you took their annual income and divided it by the number of hours worked, we’d bet the number would be unusually high. If you get paid a lot of money for your time, then you are winning with time. This is one of the more straight-forward ideas we will cover.
Many Streams Lead To One Sea
The second bullet point is slightly less obvious. A person can get paid a more “normal” hourly wage and still win with time. This works by having many people pay you for the same unit of time.
A teacher is a common person in this field, but obviously it would vary based on expertise. Many people typically get paid once per unit of time, an hour for example, but imagine if you could have many people pay you for that same exact hour? This can make you a winner with time, but if your sources of income are too few, or they don’t pay enough, you could just as easily lose.
Before the days of subsidized education, a teacher could be a very wealthy person. Having a class full of wealthy noblemens’ children could mean you were set for life. Even today, college professors can still make a large sum of money teaching, but lower levels of school have dramatically changed since the days of yore.
Hey Buddy, Can You Spare An Hour?
This is one of the most common, but most obscured of the ideas. If you have ever been an employee, then someone was buying your time (remember, regardless of salary, your time was used), and if you’ve ever been an employer, you have paid for someone’s time. The idea is work you would otherwise have to do gets thrust onto the shoulders of someone else.
If you can get a big enough workforce under you, then in theory you could make it so you didn’t have to devote any of your time in a way that you don’t want to. This subsection also includes technology because, in a sense, technology becomes an employee doing the work you would otherwise have to do, but for a terribly low price.
If you can get to a point where you have all of your work delegated to someone else, then your time becomes completely open for your use. Obviously, you must ensure that the amount of money your workforce is generating is ample enough to cover expenses, their wages, and your needs.
Your Time Only!
Have you ever been so fed up with work that you sometimes think that you’d be better off becoming a homeless drifter? If so, congratulations, you want to hoard your time. To some people, there is no sum of money big enough to justify giving up their time, and we call these people time hoarders. They aren’t willing to part with their time at any cost.
Some would wonder how this could be considered “winning with time.” To that we say, winning with time means that you either are getting paid enough (“enough” is defined by the person giving their time, rather than the person taking the time, contrary to popular belief) to give up your time, or you can choose to do what you wish with your time. If you are getting paid enough, or doing what you wish to do, then you are winning with your time.
This means that the burger flipper at McDonald’s, assuming that flipping burgers is not the most joyous thing in life to them, is losing at time. This is not to disparage the burger flipper, nor is it to say that McDonald’s doesn’t pay a fair wage for the job, but certainly every person values their time above $7.50/hour, and if you accept that wage, you are short-changing yourself on your time’s value. Next time we will discuss losing with time.