Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Hourly Wage (#AtoZChallenge)


        Working for an hourly wage can sometimes feel like slavery.  The question then becomes are you a slave to your work or a slave to the money?  





Hourly Wage

In case you don't get enough of the live assem...
In case you don't get enough of the live assembly line, they also show the same process on large tv screens on the walls. I'm not sure why; it seems a little redundant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
          In my first hourly wage job, a summer only job in 1969, I was making $2.50 an hour.  That was almost a dollar more than minimum so I felt pretty good about that.  After a couple months of work I had enough money in the bank to cover three quarters at the University of Tennessee and still had a nice sum of cash for my extraneous expenditures.  A lot of that work was tough--hot dirty work around a large construction yard.  But I was a young guy in good health and even though I wasn't always thrilled about working there, the job didn't kill me and it gave me cash I otherwise wouldn't have had.  And the pay was better than what most--maybe all--of my friends were making.

         There was nepotism involved in that construction job.  My father was an upper echelon guy in the company and he arranged for me to work there.  If not for that I'd probably never gotten that job.  I worked there for a few summers until I decided that I wanted to find a job on my own.  My search was short.  The first employment ad that I answered was at a carnival supply warehouse.  When the manager saw that I was a college student he hired me on the spot and designated me "Assistant Manager" since I was obviously smart.  After all I was in college which to him made me intelligent.   He offered me the position at $1.75 an hour.  I snatched the offer partly because I didn't want to look anyplace else and I figured that was probably going to be the typical rate for someone with my limited resume experience.

         Since the company was dealing with carnivals, summertime offered ample opportunity for overtime work which meant my pay past forty hours increased to about $2.60 an hour.  It was not unusual for me to work an additional forty hours each week which meant that I'd accrue what were to me at the time some sizable paychecks.  Somehow there still seemed to be free time everyday so the extra work hours didn't matter to me that much.   That was the job that had the most influence on me to work as much as I could

        In the ensuing years after I left that job, other than a few incidental temporary jobs, I stopped working for an hourly wage and took salaried management positions instead.   Something I discovered about managerial positions--or at least the positions that I had--is that when you're in charge you can often put in far more hours than the people getting paid an hourly wage.  Depending on how busy I might be at any given time of the year, I might end up making less per hour than the hourly employees.  Not that I would have traded places with any of them since I like being the guy in charge and in slow times my work was much easier with the same pay as I always got.

        I guess what I'm pondering here is how much is an hour of our life worth?  An hour working for someone else for only the pure benefit of getting a paycheck.  I've been fortunate in that in even many of the hourly wage jobs that I've had I liked what I did.  In the managerial jobs I usually loved what I did.

       What it comes down to in the end is how much we like our jobs versus how much we're being paid.  I'd much rather work minimum wage for a job that I absolutely loved than work for some exorbitant hourly wage at a job that made me miserable and might eventually kill me if I stayed with it.  For the most part it's a matter of attitude whether or not a job makes us miserable.   So far I've never had that kind of job, but then maybe that's just me.

         Whether it be an hourly wage, a salary, a commission, or nothing at all, how we cope with giving up our time for a job is the most determining factor on whether it's all worth the effort expended.  I've known people with jobs I would love to have who seem absolutely miserable with their lot in life.  Maybe they would hate anything though--it's probably their attitude.  Then there are people who have jobs that I wouldn't want even for the best hourly wage and they seem fine with what they do.

          My pay preference is a salary over an hourly wage.  I'd rather just work for that week's pay than count down the hours and measure those hours with dollars.  More importantly is give me a job that I enjoy doing.  Or even better, pay me to do what I want to do with my own time.  But wait, that sounds like being self-employed.  That's not bad as long as everything is going good, but self-employment does not always have guarantees.  If I want guarantees then I guess it's back to an hourly wage and even then there are no guarantees.

          What's the best job you ever had?    Was the best job the one that paid the most?   Would you rather work for a salary or an hourly wage?



59 comments:

  1. Wonderful post about the hourly wage, The best job I had.......not moneywise was working in a record shop before I got married.
    My most rewarding job was working with the elderly In Bristol UK before the family moved to Weymouth on the South Coast.
    Look forward to your "I" post.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, a record store job was always a dream of mine, but it never happened. Working any kind of care position seems kind of tough to me, but I can understand the rewarding aspects of working with the elderly.

      Lee

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  2. Your summer jobs sound amazing! Eighty hours work weeks are tough though, even for a twenty year old, not something that can/should be sustained. But no-one thinks of work life balance at that age.

    All the jobs I've ever had were in market research. Loved that line. Still do. I've been paid on a monthly basis as well as per assignment. Both have pros and cons, in my situation I preferred working per assignment. One makes more money on a monthly pay of course, and job security is higher too.

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. Nilanjana, I worked for a market research company for a while which is where I gained some great insight about marketing. I liked that job and the company liked me to where they rapidly advanced me. However a touring show offer came along and I couldn't resist that lure.

      Lee

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  3. Interesting post Arlee. Very thoughtful. I'm having flashbacks to jobs that were salaried compared to my current job which is hourly. The trade-off is a good question: is it better to work for minimum wage for a job you love vs. much more for a job you don't like? I think it depends on how much you don't like the job, and whether you see an end point or a goal in mind, that isn't hopelessly far off. Or whether you can survive on a minimum wage. If you're a recent graduate and don't mind living with 4 other roommates, and you have the money freedom to do the minimum wage job, then I think that's the way to go. But, if you're older, have lost your well paying job, but still have a mortgage and a family and credit cards, how long can you manage on the minimum wage pay? I feel sad for families that are struggling to make ends meet and are working full time jobs and still need food stamps.

    A friend had a creative approach to work. He worked 1-2 years maybe 60-80 hours a week selling cars and made enough to not work for a year. So, he had no outside life when he was working full time, and then he bummed around. Actually if he had tried to keep working there year after year, he might have gotten very sick or had a heart attack.

    Maui Jungalow

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    1. Courtney, I'd hate to have to try to support myself on minimum wage now, but I guess we figure ways to do such things. I don't require too much in my life, but still life can get very expensive even when living at a bare bones existence.

      There were a couple times when I worked for a while and then bummed a bit on what I'd saved. Not necessarily something I'd recommend from a financial perspective. but it does make for an interesting life.

      Lee

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  4. Highest paid job; 'mugging' people in Marks and Spencer and getting them to sign up for gas and electicity. Favourite job as an employee; head chef at a popular gastropub. Best job ever, running my own restaurant, The Stage Door, in Eastbourne's theatre district where I fed just about every UK entertainer!

    Amble Bay's Village Hall!

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    1. Keith, I don't like it much when I get "mugged" when I'm out so I guess I wouldn't want to be doing it to others. Restaurant work is something I've never done aside from a temp weekend job for the National Guard working as a dishwasher. Since most everything was automated the dishwashing wasn't too bad and when it wasn't mealtime we could fix whatever we wanted to eat and drink whatever we wanted. I gorged myself on chocolate milk.

      Lee

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  5. I really enjoyed my law career....over 20 years of it! Some jobs paid well, others not as good wage-wise, but with a bunch of different perks, like letting me leave early a lot, flexibility when I had a sick pet or letting me bring my dog to the office because the power was out at our house for 5 days in the middle of winter & it was too cold to leave her at home. But I have learned that money doesn't buy happiness.

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    1. JoJo, law would be an interesting field in which to work I'd say. Perks like you describe are particularly important to me. My final job where I worked for 19 years had a lot of flexibility which allowed me to attend my kids' school functions and pick them up whenever I needed to. I would also bring them to work if I needed to.

      But so true that money doesn't buy happiness, but it does make life easier and more comfortable.

      Lee

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  6. What's the best job you ever had?
    When I was self-employed and had my own TV production company.

    Was the best job the one that paid the most?
    The best paying job I had was formatting technical manuals for a high tech company. I yearned to write, but unable to join that group.

    Would you rather work for a salary or an hourly wage?
    It really never mattered. I poured my heart into every job I had and the pay was fair.

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    1. Lynn, being self-employed can have a lot of benefits, but it can also have more pressure. I'm like you as far as my effort. I want to leave a good impression at the places I work so I am willing to put in the extra effort when it is needed and do my best no matter what.

      Lee

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  7. Lee, I assume you're talking about outside the home because being a SAHM is the best job and definitely the lowest paid position I ever had. I worked only five years passed college graduation before retiring to become a full-time mommy. So, it's hard to say which job was my best. Maybe my first because I learned so much as a computer consultant and worked for so little (commission only) I wasn't a good salesperson but the knowledge and confidence I gained from that job is immeasurable. Thanks for visiting today's post, #AprilA2Z Art Sketching Through the Alphabet Letter "H" + #4M. Have a good day & happy a2zing!

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    1. Cathy, I don't envy the SAHM job, but it's one of the most important. I'm glad that's what my mother chose to do in her life. What we learn or experience in a job can be far more rewarding than pay (though pay is nice).

      Lee

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  8. Salary for sure, I hate the idea of dealing with the time clock, and being always on time.

    Phillip | H is for Homemade Envelopes

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    1. FinnBadger, I like to be on time (or preferably early), but I don't like being a slave to the time clock.

      Lee

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  9. Sounds like you've had an interesting mix of jobs, Lee. I always worked on salary and hubby has always been hourly. (He's past retirement age but still working. He'll get a bigger pension that way.) There are pros and cons to each, but overall, I think salary is better. If he gets sick for a day or two and can't go to work, he doesn't get paid. His vacation pay comes in a lump sum, middle of July, whether he takes holidays or not. If we go later, he has no money coming in, so you have to budget. I had two sick days allowed per month and when I was on holidays, the paycheques continued as always. Now I'm self-employed and there are downsides there, as well, like no paid vacations or sick days. I would be struggling on my own as the paydays aren't consistent. Pet sitting is a 'feast or famine' kind of business and you have to make sure to set money aside when you can. Bottom line, I'm making a lot less now than I was in the corporate world, but I'm much happier and less stressed. That's better than having a job you despise for big bucks, in my opinion. Quality of life is important.

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    1. Debbie D, I have had some diverse work experience for sure. I prefer a salary guarantee, but if you get into time and a half or double time those check can really add up. I never had official sick days so being in management there were days when I'd come in sick just to be there even if I was mostly laying on an office couch. Fortunately that didn't happen often. I treasure quality of life. Working in misery is not much of a life.

      Lee

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  10. I'd rather just work for salary too. Depends on ones situation in life as well. When it is between feeding your family or being happy, at least anyone that doesn't want to be a welfare bum, you'll take the high wage, miserable job over the happy, low wage one every time. But if you can pay the bills and enjoy it, easy pick indeed. Working in misery just for the sake of money, nah.

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    1. Pat, when I didn't have a family to think about my work life was more sporadic. Responsibility of paying the bills changes outlook about working.

      Lee

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  11. The best job I had was working with my brother, the job I had before starting the blog and retiring. It didn't pay the best of all my jobs, but it was the one that required the least work. I was making close to six figures at the job where I worked almost twenty years, and maybe I could say I was happiest the first couple of years there, when I still lived in Chicago. I've given a lot of thought to the move to Atlanta, and if I had it to do over, I'd have found a new job and left before I ever moved.

    The best-paying hourly job I had was at a grocery store, where I was a produce clerk and got paid about a dollar more per hour than the people up front, but it was by no means the best job: the people I worked with were total jerks and I never knew there were so many ways that fruits and vegetables could go bad. I was no good at it, probably because I didn't really care about it. But, I was raised by a mother whose philosophy ws "j-o-b does not spell fun," and I guess I believed that it was worth all the money they were throwing at me.

    Personally, I'd prefer to be paid by the task rather than salary or hourly, but of the two, salary is preferable.

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    1. John, grocery store work is another occupation I've never had though I've had some friends who did this including one who worked almost his entire work life of 40 years or so at Kroger's. "Job" often does not spell "fun", but I've had some fun jobs that I would have probably done even if I had been paid less.

      Who you work with can be as important or even more so than the job itself.

      Lee

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  12. Great post. For me, best jobs have nothing to do with money (though I wouldn't have taken them without a solid discussion of the topic). It was how I felt.

    Really enjoyed this post.

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    1. Jacqui, the money is important since we usually wouldn't work without the pay, but good jobs sometimes offer far greater rewards than the money involved.

      Lee

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  13. I had some really nice temp jobs, one in the mortgage and possibly finance departments of a local bank. A nice full-time job was coming up there, which I stood a pretty good chance of getting, but then I was run over by a car on my way to work. My life would've turned out much differently had I gotten that job, though I don't know if I would've stayed there all these years. Since the job market in the NY State Capital Region is pretty dismal, with people leaving in droves (contrary to what some of my friends assert), there's often little choice but to take temp jobs or jobs that aren't intended as long-term careers. It's nice to make good money, but that won't mean much if the job is soul-killing, mindless, boring, and degrading.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I've never had a temp job that lasted more than a couple of days and none were in places where I would have wanted to make my career.

      Lee

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  14. As an HR person I keep having discussions about fair pay for hard work, and I don't think there is a lot of fairness in salary systems. It's the assumption that degrees make you smarter and therefore more important for the company. I don't have to tell you how many high ranked managers screwed up badly and still got to keep their jobs and benefits.

    I had my share of student jobs, and they were the best in terms of life experience. I actually blogged about them, hold on...

    http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2014/11/use-your-words-school-of-life.html

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    1. Tamara, a degree doesn't make a person a better worker. Education does not equate work ethic, but somehow our society seems to think a degree designates the most qualified candidate for a job which is not always true.

      Lee

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  15. I'd rather just be retired, but age and monetary concerns militate against me.

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    1. CW, I am retired and there are some great aspects to it, but I would like to have more money coming in and possibly be able to comfortably relocate to be closer to my kids. First my wife needs to reach retirement which is soon.

      Lee

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  16. I enjoyed being a stay at home mom because I was in control of my time. I had other jobs that were more interesting - being a librarian in a community library, designing, sewing and selling dolls. The doll job was the worst paid as far as per hour, but I was at home and could organize my time as I was the person in charge.
    Finding Eliza

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    1. Kristin, sometimes the more artistic work doesn't reap great financial benefits.

      Lee

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  17. When I think about an hourly wage today, I think nobody could pay me enough to spend an hour of my life doing anything I didn't want to do. Of course, when I had to work to eat and pay the bills, my mindset was somewhat different. :-) Still, I was never one to do anything I didn't love doing and I was very lucky to have that opportunity in my life.

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    1. C.Lee, I feel and felt the same way. Time seemed to be in more abundance when I was younger therefore it could go for a cheaper price. It was a delusion.

      Lee

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  18. Best job was teaching, hands down. Worst job was as a waitress, $1.00 an hour + tips. Min. wage was $1.69 then.
    But before returning to teaching, I was a stay-at home mom.
    I'd prefer a salary.

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    1. Susan K, I never made it to a point where I could get certified so my earlier teaching ambition was thwarted, but adventure wise it all turned out well. My life seems to enjoy her teaching job most of the time.

      Lee

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  19. That's an interesting thought. I prefer freelance work because I feel terribly restricted in a job. What I do agree with you though is that you better love what you're being paid for otherwise you're going to resent it, however brilliant the pay.
    Hindsight #Lexicon of Leaving

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    1. Kalpanaa, I like the flexibility of not being tied down to a committed job for an extended time period.

      Lee

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  20. My best job has been the one I've had for the last 16 years, working for myself doing medical transcription out of my home. I am slowly branching out to include some craft endeavors to supplement my income and I love the freedom I have. Fortunately I've had a husband who worked most of those years so we had an additional income but there were a few years he was out of work due to an injury and I was carrying us. Stressful those years but definitely worth it! I dreaded the thought of having to go back out into the workforce.
    Janet
    <a href="https://asmile4ufromjanet.blogspot.com/2017/04/april-2017-atozchallenge-heavens-its-h.html”>H is for Huey Lewis</a>

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    1. Janet, I'd have a difficult time going into the traditional workforce, but I never liked being in the mainstream of life.

      Lee

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  21. I mostly liked my jobs. It's sometimes the people I worked with that made the difference on whether I liked being in a company or not...

    Oh, I'm done with my H post, and in time for Poetry Month, too! : The Haiku

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    1. JGIF, Co-workers can make a big difference. I've had some good ones over the years, but I didn't keep up with any of them.

      Lee

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    2. I've had the best and I've had the worst co-workers, that I can say. I met some friends for life, and I met some people whom I'd rather not meet agian in this lifetime, and the next lifetimes! LOL!!!

      Delete
  22. Interesting post thanks Lee. It would be VERY important that I enjoyed what I was doing and how I was using my time. But I guess I'm in a situation where I don't have to worry too much about money. Those who work slave hours out of necessity and do a good job have my respect. It's a long time since I've been in an office, though I do work at my husband's place of employment and help out every now and then.

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    1. Susan S, when you take a job just because you need the money it isn't the best of situations, but I've always tried to get the most out of a job that I could. Being unhappy on the job is not a good thing and I likely wouldn't stay long if I just couldn't stand what I was doing.

      Lee


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  23. The best job I ever had equates (for me) to the most fun job I ever had: a high school Christmas season job doing gift wrap at a big department store. It wasn't the lowest paying job I ever had, but close.

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    1. Patricia, if you really like doing something then any pay you get is kind of like the bonus for doing what you're doing.

      Lee

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  24. If I am working OT then hourly is the best. However, the more you enjoy the work the better.

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    1. Mike, those OT hours can really add up.

      Lee

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  25. Is it really considered work if you are doing what you love? Even better if you get paid to do that! OT can be great money, unless you do too many hours in a week, then Uncle Sam has a say in the matter and takes a larger amount from you.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970's Billboard Hits

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    1. Mary, maybe not always considered work if you love it, but if you're getting paid then I guess it's a job.

      Lee

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  26. When I read what you got at your first job and that it paid for the majority of your schooling that year, I think of how much things have changed today. Now, people are not paid that much more and, even if they were, it would not make a dent in university or college now. What a shame when one thinks about it. I think people who love their jobs, like me, are very lucky. I love my job and am paid salary and am happy about that

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    1. Birgit, it's amazing to think back on what I was paid versus the cost of going to the college I went to. Granted it was a state school, but it was a top ranked university and I got a lot of bang for the buck. I had to watch my pennies, but I lived fairly nicely considering.

      Lee

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  27. Favorite job was Traffic Clerk at the largest white pine sawmill in the world. Most money was at last job as Accounting Assistant. I prefer to be paid by the hour. Employers seem to demand less extra time if one is paid hourly.

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    1. Barbara, being an hourly worker does have its advantages. Also you don't usually have to take the job home with you as much as you do when you have the responsibility of manager.

      Lee

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  28. Have you blogged on the minimum wage yet, Arlee? I'd love your thoughts on that some time.

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    1. Richard, I don't recall ever having done something on minimum wage on my blog. Maybe something for the future.

      Lee

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  29. The best job that I ever had was my very first job (not counting babysitting as a job). I worked at David's family's Western Auto Store. It was great most of the time. What could be better than working with family to benefit the family and the community? I worked there from the summer of 1984 until the late spring of 1987 when David's daddy died and his mama sold the business.

    Mine was a salaried position. I dealt with credit applications, taking payments, banking, and various other things. Sometimes I did regular clerking at the front, but that was not at all something I enjoyed. I much preferred the back office job. All of the regular employees were salaried. There were piece workers and by-the-job workers that came in on occasion, too.

    Since then, I have worked one production job and hated it. I have worked in many retail and merchandising situations and all of these were paid either by the hour (retail) or by the job (merchandising). The retail I could take or leave (leaving being the preference). I loved merchandising! I especially loved it when my efforts and consistency paid off for the business. In one case, it raised their sales in my department by 19% for one product line and higher percentages for others. Because of that increase, the bigwigs from Anheuser-Busch & Coors came in to see what had happened. A disobedient, non-plan-o-gram following Suz had happened and it paid off. Note: This job also involved "ripping a new one" for the Miller guy. He told me that I couldn't do something and that is like waving a red flag at a bull. :) After I left that job and they started merchandising by their computer generated plan-o-gram again, sales dropped from $65,000 per month to less than $20,000 per month.

    It doesn't really matter to me whether I am salaried or paid by the hour. Just give me the money for a job I love to do and let me do it the way that makes sense to me and I'm fine with that. At this point in my life, I want to be the co-boss in our own business. Like you said, there are no guarantees, either for the self-employed or the regularly employed. With no security either way, I'd rather have control over how I spend my time, not have someone else ruling over my life.

    Have a blessed Easter!

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Lee