Time is an asset that is finite but also a great unknown. We may live to be ninety years old or we may cross the wrong street tomorrow and our time is up. This is a fact that most people do not take seriously enough and it is hard to know why. Time is the most valuable asset we have, yet we seem to waste an awful lot of it. Or do we? How do we determine what is a waste of time?
When we are born, we spend many years of our life just living, breathing, eating, playing, etc. This is all a part of the human development process when we learn concepts like sharing, caring, playing, human interaction, and more. This time is the most important time for building the foundation of who we are, and the people who surround us invest their time into creating who we will become.
At about age 13, most people begin to mature and create some original thought on who they are and what they want to be. For the next 5 years or so of development, we spend our time testing our bodies’ physical and mental limits. We have a very free spirit and nearsightedness, so at this point, we are ready to take life by the horns and show it who is boss. This freedom makes us run wild with our time, picking and choosing how we want to spend/waste it. Time seems limitless, but it all comes cruising to a stop with the end of high school and the realization that we are now an adult.
After high school, we all have an interesting moment in life where we decided what is the best use of our time. Currently, the majority of us think the best use of our time is to go to college. The choice is pretty clear; it is either college or entering the workforce, and even if college is not for you, it may be easier than choosing to be an adult.
College was created with the idea that we would all further our educations to be more valuable to a prospective employer. This system is slowly but surely being scrutinized by outsiders because of its need for enormous gross profits and its failure to integrate individuals into the workplace. Basically, the day you start at your job is the day you start learning to do your job. The average student is leaving with just under $30,000 in college debt and is not getting the job or pay scale they thought they would obtain. Employers are still struggling to find experienced staff due to the fact that most college students are now graduating at 33 years old with a bachelor’s degree and have never really worked!
Whether you took the short road and went straight to work or you chose to utilize your time by going to college, it is now time to go to work. For the first time in all of our lives, we will experience what it is like to sell our time for money. Most of us will decided to sell 40 hours of our week into a system called a full-time job. That said, it is easy to figure out what we will earn for each day, week, month, and year. This may change slightly with each raise at work, but given an industry, we can quickly analyze your maximum earning and where you will stand today, tomorrow, and in the future. This is the most common system we know for work, but it is not the only system, and in most cases this system is best for the employer and not the employee.
For others, the thought of selling 40 hours a week does not allow them to feel like they maximize their time, noticing that at that rate, they only have 2000 hours a year to sell. Limits like that are not for everyone. For those people, they understand that once they have sold those 2000 hours, those hours are now gone, and they will never get them back. Spending each of those 2000 hours working for the success of someone else above them, whether they are washing cars for the owner of a car dealership or filing taxes for a financial firm. Soon, they learn these jobs are of very limited value to them unless they are looking to learn and take information away with them about the workings of the system they are in.
While thinking about all this make sure to think real long and hard about your time and what you want to do with it. If working 9-5 works best for you, make sure to go to work each and every day with a positive attitude. The current work place environment notices people who have positive attitudes and put forth effort. If you are going to stay in the business of selling 40 hours a week, you need to make sure to climb the corporate ladder. This may not be for everyone, but there are plenty of very well paid 40 hour a week employees.
The next most popular way to sell our time is to be salary-based. This is a system where the employer does the math and figures out what our time is worth to them and gives you a number. Sometimes this number may have some performance-based bonuses, but typically, in this method, what you see is what you get. Looking back at what we just talked about, one would say “Well that is easy to figure out my hourly rate. All I do is the gross number divided by a 2000 work year and I should arrive at my hourly pay.” Not so fast. On a salary, you may be obligated to come in and spend more time than the average worker.
Most of the time, an employer chooses to pay salaries when they are expecting more out of the employee than a typical 40 hour week. The common positions that use this style of pay, is managerial and upper-level higher paying positions. The reason for this is that higher paid people are harder to budget for and unexpected items, like overtime, may cause the company to go over budget on payroll. Though this is a great option to make great pay, the downside is the loss of time.
While in a salaried position, not only are you giving up your 40 hours a week, a lot of the time you are bringing work home. The other lost time would be seen in your creative time. When you are on a salary, a lot of home time is used to brainstorm and mentally prepare for your next task at work. This greatly limits your time after work where you could focus on family, your future, your education, your health, and everything else important to you.
Currently, the fairest way to get paid working for others is commission or performance based pays. This payment method does not work off of time but off of production, which is the way we work as humans. This means that if you produce quality work, you are directly compensated for the work regardless of the time it took to create. When working on commission, it is possible during the same hours to be working on multiple tasks through prioritization. Once you learn to prioritize correctly in this method, your pay scale can be limitless.
The risk of performance and commission-based compensation are that you may end up making nothing. This is a real problem if you choose to work for the wrong company or within the wrong product line. Most of the time this is not an issue, but make sure to do your due diligence during the hiring period, ensuring that the product you’re working with is fairly priced, in demand, is easy to understand, and the production they expect to make your earning quota is reasonable.
The last option I will go over is entrepreneurship. This approach is how I choose to spend my time, as it works best for my creative mind. While being self-employed comes with its advantages, it is also not the easiest path, typically requiring more than 40 hours a week, every week. Things like waking up in the morning and making sure you go to work and give it your all are things that sound attractive but become very real. If you do not show up to the office, no one will yell at you. If you don’t do your work, no one will notice. The issue is that you will notice how it directly affects the company daily. This position is impossible if you are not a self-starter.
As a self-starter, self-employment is like having the largest garden plot in the world and the biggest issue you have is how to sow more seeds and keep them all watered. The best way to grow as an entrepreneur is through leveraging your time on others. Once your system is in place, it is time to choose a method of compensation and start hiring. This is the reason this is the best way to make money because it is not just based on your own time.
As you take on your team of talented professionals, you will now begin to open up in new markets, based on their talents. Entrepreneurship is a very rewarding job, but it takes the right person. If you are not the right person for the job, this career path will take your money faster than any other path. The reason for this is unlike most of the other ways of making money, this is the only one where, not only can you earn zero dollars, but you can also spend money at the same time to keep the company running through tight times.
Unfortunately, in times like today, we have a great misunderstanding of wealth and how to earn it. We have politicians such as Bernie Sanders who vilify the rich. Bernie constantly antagonizes his easily hoodwinked followers with promises of a witch hunt for the wealthy. Instead of offering ideas to help his supporters make good decisions to help them become better earners, he proposes things like making state college free by taxing the rich. I am not against any promises that can be budgeted for, but I am firmly against talking about ideas that are not supported by accurate numbers.
The secret to wealth is that there is a system that works best for your life. The idea that everyone should have equal bank accounts and that everyone must be rich is one of the largest problems this country has. While a drive to be successful is great and we should foster the growth of this segment, there is another side. That side is jealously and envy, which is the root of most evil. Honesty is a place where we could sort out this issue. To find wealth in your life it may just mean having plenty of time to push your child in a swing or it may be purchasing the mega yacht and helicopter you dream of.
The next time you think to yourself, “I want to be rich and powerful,” think, “Do I have time for that?” This means when you run a multinational brand and are compensated for it, are your ready for the work volume? When it is 1 a.m. in the United States and 12 p.m. in Beijing, and your China division is having issues, are you ready to wake up and take the call? Are you ready to have a personal assistant wake you up in the morning with a briefing of every news report that matters to your companies? Are you ready to make the decision to cut jobs because fuel costs rose and you can’t afford to keep Betty the happy receptionist with three children, one of whom is an infant? These things show us all that wealth is but a perception.
Though I do not know it to be fact, I would venture to guess that the 40 hour work week was conceived by the Man to always keep us just happy enough with our pay. At 40 hours a week, there are very limited ways to ever really make it. The 40 hour work week is the biggest reason for most people’s failure. Ask any entrepreneur, millionaire, billionaire, or other successful person you know the last time they worked a 40 hour week and i’m sure they can laugh and tell you they have never worked only 40 hours in a week since they started.