The Value of Time

Published on April 30, 2006 under Career

Late night at the office

Currently, I'm in grad school working my arse off towards an illustrious Masters Degree.  It's been rough.  Trying to find a good balance of time to work, study, and somewhat lead a social life.  Originally my plan was simply to have a bigger piece of paper so that if I ever found myself out of work again, I would be more valuable than all those other web developers sporting Bachelors degrees.

Well, I currently have the high-paying job in a reputable company, but here I am still working for that Masters.  I've been told that this degree more or less trains me for bigger and better positions, like management.  However, I've seen these management positions both in my current company and in past companies.  It's a slightly bigger paycheck, but a very larger load of work.  I watch these guys work 12 hours a day Monday through Friday, and then even give some time on weekends.  For what?  A more important sounding position title? A slightly bigger paycheck? Is it really worth it?

This leads me to my own conclusion and revelation...and I want to share it with everyone - THE VALUE OF TIME.

We tend to think of a job and a career only in terms of the money it pays us and the other benefits that come with it.  Most people never really take the time to see how much time in their lives this job takes up.  Is it really a 40 hour work week kind of job?  Where you come in at 9, leave at 5, Monday through Friday, and nothing more?  Or is this a job where they say it's all that, but you really end up working 9 AM til 7, 8, 9, or 10 PM every night, and get hit with so many unreasonable deadlines that you work weekends?  Do you find that you're taking your vacation days simply to use for getting personal household stuff done?

That's what I mean by valuing time in your career and job.  How much is your PERSONAL TIME worth?  Many just believe that this is the way of the world and we just have to accept it.  Others choose to not pursue big careers mainly because they don't want to spend their lives working, and instead pursue personal interests.  Always take into account how much of your personal life your job will take up.  You might think that your career is everything, but later when you lament that you can't find a decent mate, or wish you had a family, or even just time to do something fun and non-career oriented, you'll see what I mean.

So how do you live the American Dream then?  How do you make the big bucks for the big house and expensive car?  I realized the trick is not so much about working your arse off for a diploma to get a bigger position, but instead to put your money to work for you.  A diploma is important to get into work that will make you your starting capital as well as to educate you in the world, but too many people just get the degree and take the high-paying jobs, thinking that's all they need to do. They either spend their money frivolously or put it into savings account.  A better move is to take your extra money and invest it, find ways to let it grow.  In the end, you'll wake up and find yourself working a middle-position making decent money, but your money is out there making you suddenly have that precious commodity of TIME at your disposal.

Time is important, and it should not be wasted...but even a bigger goal than just to be rich is to be in a position where you don't have to sell your life to your job.  Always factor that into your career.

Tags: career, time, salary, work, life, balance

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