Thursday, February 25, 2010

true value

time, money, or both?
i came across this article recently, and found it interesting. in it, writer laura rowley comments on a poll of 1,000 adults, 25% of which said that they would work every day for a year in return for double their current incomes.

that is a powerful statistic! to me, it says a couple of things:

1. people really don't know what it feels like to work day after day after day after day after day without any sort of break. if they did, i have to believe the figure would be lower.

2. a lot of people are really stressed out about money. (and probably for good reason.)

i mean, obviously, right? the economy is in the toilet, jobs are hard to come by. but this fact illustrates that this weighs heavily on many, severely impacting quality of life to the point that they would rather work daily (for a year) than continue to be stressed by struggling to make ends meet.

the writer goes on to illustrate why -- even in financially tough situations -- in reality, a neverending work week is not such a great option. for one, taxes will get you. second, your life will fall apart, which is bad (duh) and can also ultimately be expensive! in the comments, one person wrote in about how working continuously he completely lost control of his home life, to the point where his fridge broke and he didn't have time to get it fixed and just kept it shut and left the food to rot inside. a vivid (and gross) picture of a life fail, i think.

all this is why i stand firmly on the time side when i think about which commodity i value more. i realize that this is probably due to the fact that i am not in dire straits financially, but know first-hand the horrors of a (nearly) continuous work week.

i am not very frugal (understatement). i think i am pretty generous, and i like to save a bit, but spend too, rather than delay gratification to some time in the future. i tend to value experiences over cash, and even over material goods (unless they're from anthro -- their clothes come with the fun experiences of shopping for and wearing them!).

but even i have my limits, which is why i am giving up my friday night and saturday AM for 19 hours in the NICU, which will buy me:

■ a new camera (the S90 i've been coveting)

■ tickets to wicked for me, josh + my sister

■ a massage (booked for march 6!)

cherry juice heels

in this case? 100% worth it.

what are your feelings about time vs. money? have they changed as your financial situation has evolved? and what would you do for an extra $1000?

interesting thoughts to ponder, no? share in the comments!



workout: 6 miles, with 3 at tempo
i couldn't do 3 in a row at 7:53/mi like i did a couple of weeks ago before my little break, but i came close, just sticking in a 1/2 mile rest interval and then eking them out. again, all on the TM @ 0.5% incline
miles 0-1.5: 8:57/mi (warmup)
miles 1.5-3.5: 7:53/mi
miles 3.5-4: 0.25 mi recovery jog, then 8:57/mi
mile 4-5: 7:53/mi
mile 5-6: 8:57/mi (cooldown)

real simple: i used this recipe from real simple for sweet potato risotto, and it was as easy as promised! lots of stirring, but otherwise mindless. and i liked the excuse to crack open a bottle of white . . .

served with a simple spinach salad with annie's italian dressing


  1. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I wouldn't work every single day for a year for any amount of money. That sounds horrible.

    Wicked is great!

  2. We are on a tight budget because both of us wanted me to be able to stay home with our son. However, we did a lot of planning and saving before he was born, so we live very frugally day to day but have a "we have money for the important things" big picture philosophy. For us, the important things are travel (especially to see family and friends) and good food. I wouldn't enjoy life nearly as much without the occasional $25/lb wedge of cheese from Whole Foods:)

  3. Great post! I hate feeling like I go to work for money, but it's true. I would definitely work extra hours for $1000, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. I think time is necessary in many ways, including being able to enjoy the money you worked to earn. Otherwise, what's the point!? And I'd take a pay cut if it meant I could have more free time too :)

  4. Anonymous10:31 AM

    since i grew up in a large family making just enough money to keep a roof over our heads, i tend to see $$ as trumping time. i simply grew up with so little that i'll do anything to not go back there.

    that said, i'm slowly changing my view on working (like school-wise) vs time. i'm slowly realizing that spending time with my friends has more importance than spending time with the textbooks. it's still very hard to justify dropping the books but i know that's what i need at the end of the day.

    so great post :)

  5. Stephanie10:50 AM

    I would definitely do it for a year, but not indefinitely. I know even a year would be unbelievably tough, but I think with a concrete end date, it would be tolerable.

    I think you have the best of both worlds-- being able to work extra to make a nice influx of cash when you choose, and having a moderate (comperably) schedule otherwise.

  6. Oh money. How I both love and hate thee! I have this debate (not fight, debate!) with my mother kind of often. I get paid pretty well, although not nearly enough, in my opinion, but I keep looking into non-profit organizations where I would definitely be taking a pay cut. In my mind, ANYTHING where I don't cry about going to work and don't dread being there would be better, no matter what the salary is. In my mom's mind, I'm making plenty of money to save for fun things to do, fun places to go, not to worry about buying groceries, or being financially stable when I want to buy a house, get married, have kids, etc. Which is great unless you're miserable in the process!

    To me, you couldn't pay me enough to work every single day. I also joke at work that I walk in every day hoping to get fired...which would be okay because I am fine financially and have good support if I were to ever lose my job. For other people, I realize how devastating that would be.

    Also, having worked an odd schedule of 3-11pm, I find myself yearning for the day in, day out Monday-Friday 9-5...

  7. i realized yesterday that i have only taken about 3 days off since december 15. i am a mess. i agree - i would not work extra for the money. although i guess i can say that because we are also comfortable financially. but i also think i was happier when i was uncomfortable financially :) (what a positive post, eh?)

  8. I think we are really lucky that I'd say, no, I wouldn't change my life around for another $1000. We're not rich by any means (I'm a researcher at a university and my husband is a grad student), but we definitely have enough for savings, giving, food, and fun.

    As me when I have a mortgage and kids and that might change...

  9. And to Susan- Your mental health is worth so much more than your salary. My DH took a huge pay cut (like 78%!) to return to grad school, but he's lifelong goal has been to be a professor and we knew he'd never be happy staying in his old job long term. His parents were against the decision at first for the same reasons as your mom, but they've come around.

  10. I haven't had a full day off work since Jan. 17th. I can't get enough hours to support myself if I don't. Most of my days are only 4 hours. I have plenty of free time with the short work days, but I really want a day completely off. It would be nice to travel to see my parents and friends.

  11. I'd say those hours in the NICU are well worth it--those are some awesome rewards. Totally diggin those shoes--adorable!
    Love the look of that risotto. I guess I need to take a look at my Real Simple that's been sitting on my night stand...

  12. No WAY would I work every day for a year for double my salary...or any amount for that matter! Just two weeks without a day off is tiring enough. :-)

    I like being able to give gifts to people and spend time with friends. If that involves money, I'll try to do it. I love clothes from the Loft, but rarely buy anything NOT on sale! I wait! :-) We don't have moonlighting opps in our program, but it sure would be nice!

  13. That for me is pretty easy - NO.
    As a teacher, I actually work almost every single day for 9 months out of the year, with some short respites. I have to teach a certain number of classes for my contract, but honestly, if we could swing it financially, I would happily take a pay cut for a year and teach one less class and just do less at school.
    Also, my husband and I made the time vs. money decision over a year ago. He left a job job and now does free-lance work from home which is very touch-and-go, but he was miserable at the job.
    While our finances have shrunk a bit, our quality of life is about 100x better!
    I may be giving up part of my summer vacation for an extra 1000. We'll see if there are sign-ups for a class that I'm offering.
    One of these days, I really want to take a whole summer off!

  14. atilla9:24 PM

    for me its simple, got money, need time

  15. Loved this post and all of the comments! I think it's all about balance. I would not work every day for a year nor anything approaching residency hours for any amount of money but there is something to be said for a good, honest work day. I've had plenty of jobs I hated and I guess I'm just really appreciative to have a job I like. I work a few more hours than I would like many days but I think working makes me appreciate the time I do get to spend with my family even more. Of course, we are comfortable financially, so I might change my mind if I NEEDED the money.

  16. Hmm, time or money?
    For me it is very different now since I have a small child. Before that I could work for many days in a row and could possibly have done a full year simply because the time I had left in my day after work was *mine*. I would still have time to run, cuddle my husband and cook. But since I had my baby things are different. First of all I don't want to miss out on her early years. She misses me when I am gone all day and she needs my time between work and her bedtime. So I have a lot less time for myself. To stay sane I need to have time for some intrests and projects of my own - cooking, running and reading. And to fit that in and still give my daughter the time and attention she deserves I need my weekends, more now than ever!

  17. Anonymous5:22 PM

    People want what they don't have, time, if they have money and money, if they don't have money. Its a tough call. I work nearly every day in some capacity--university based researcher. That said, its sw my discretion. Wish I had more money though. College expenses for my eldest are looming ever closer.