The Worth of Your Time Depends on Your Market

Following my breakup letter to Benjamin Franklin, I was asked about exchanging time for money “according to market principles.” It’s a concept that I have touched on before and one that I did not understand well in the past.

A paperboy's time has no worth
I was a 30 year-old paper boy because I didn’t understand how markets affected the that the value of my time. Photo by Joanna Bourne.

After a period of post-grad school unemployment, I was working as the Marketing Manager for the Utah Symphony earning $26,000 per year and not making it financially. I realized that I while I had found a buyer for 40 hours of my time each week, I still had 128 hours that I could offer for sale. (more…)

Franklin Was Wrong: Time is not money

Dear Ben,

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised: it’s a classic case of hero worship crashing into reality. We met when I was an overly-impressionable child and you were the charismatic character in the play 1776. You became my imaginary BFF and we had great conversations (it’s a wonder the other fifth graders didn’t kick the snot out of me). You were so wise; so smart. You knew all the answers and when you didn’t, you had a good joke or witty remark. I accepted everything you said as true until a few years ago when the difference between my pay and that of the CEO made me realize that time is not, in fact, money.

Time does not equal money.
Ben Franklin was so very wrong, and believing him cost me dearly.

We didn’t talk as much after that, but I still wanted to believe you had the answers. I rationalized that because time and money can be exchanged according to market principles they were, if not identical, at least somewhat equivalent.

No more. (more…)

BBC 3: Not Fun Enough?

Achieving goals, self-improvement—these things are really hard all by themselves. If you forget to bring the fun, they may be impossible.

Girl dances on a beach.
Don’t get so wrapped up in self-improvement that you forget to have fun. Photo by Mike Baird.

It happened gradually (these things always do). From a healthy mixed diet of oldies, 80’s pop, choral, classical, top 40…and the occasional hair band just to make the kids roll their eyes, I found myself listening almost exclusively to BBC Radio 3. (more…)

Want Real Change? Give It A Week.

Recently we visited Mount Vernon—the home of George Washington. I was impressed as never before that President Washington was one of the world’s great men and I asked myself, “How did he get that way?” After an hour in the estate’s excellent (and air conditioned!) museum I got at least part of the answer: He made himself into the man he wanted to be. He saw what he wanted to change in himself and made those changes.

My daughter admiring George Washington
George Washington was a man who knew how to improve himself.

We have all heard ourselves say things like, “I wish I could speak to a crowd like him”; “I want to be as gracious as her”; or “Wow, running a marathon would be so cool.” How many times have you seen or read about a characteristic of someone else and wished you had that trait or skill? Are there 10 things you want to improve on? 100? 1000? If the number of ways you want to improve seems impossibly high, I’ve got good news for you: it’s not.