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?
|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)|
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?