Does money REALLY affect the way you think about work?

My first week as my own boss and independent contractor is about to come to a close.

I get into the office, same old same old, but this time…
Every 15 minutes I sit there, I earn $30.
Every 30 minutes I’m there, I earn $60.
Every hour, it’s $110.
(All gross of course).
I’m not trying to brag, but it just boggles my mind because I am NOT USED TO MAKING THAT KIND OF MONEY and since this is my blog, I’ll talk about how weird it is to earn that kind of dosh.
I’m more used to a fixed yearly salary, and trying to get out of the workplace as soon as possible while not looking like a slacker.
And I always tried to avoid overtime on a fixed salary because hey, let’s face it, they only pay me for 40 hours of work a week. That’s it.
But as my own independent person now, I am actually .. kind of happy to get over time. That means another $60 for every half hour, or $110 per hour.
It is a fricking weird and strangely happy feeling to get on the subway back home and realize that you just made a little over a grand in a day. Just doing what you love.
My attitude has changed a bit.
While I still don’t like actually working more than I should, I am totally willing to work weekends without resentment if that’s what they want (but I’m going to avoid doing that because the commute is an hour a day, which is not a lot compared to my last project – cut down by 50%, but is still a pain in the ass).
I have to keep track of my hours, and what I do so that I can invoice the proper amounts and get what is due.
Monday: $990
Tuesday: $1050
Wednesday: $880
Thursday: $880
Friday: $880
Total: $4680 (gross) this week alone
And I have 10 more weeks to go? NO KIDDING.
Most of the time, it’s stuff that is kind of … silly (in my mind). I mean, I’m waiting half the time, and on the first day, I spent 3 hours (cumulative) doing nothing. Literally. Nothing. No internet, no surfing, no emails, NOTHING. NADA. NIL. (The client didn’t have anything for me to do, they literally told me to sit there and wait)…
It was actually torture, but I made $330 sitting there and waiting for them — just like they asked.
Which kind of made me think about this in more detail on the way back home…

Would you rather have a job with too much work, or a job with NO work at all?

Personally, I want a job with TOO much work because at least I have something to keep me busy. Sitting there, with absolutely NOTHING TO DO, is not only exhausting (mentally), but it almost drove me crazy. At least when there’s too much work, I can prioritize, make lists, get stuff done, feel like I accomplished something and the time just flies by!!!
And as a follow up to that question..

And does the amount of money really make a difference?

If you were paid $10 or $100 an hour to sit there twiddling your thumbs (literally), would that make a difference in your perception?
Personally, I almost felt like it didn’t, but given the choice, I’d clearly wish for the $100/hour option over the $10/hour option. DUH!!!
However, in terms of emotion and feeling, I just.. felt the same, regardless of it paid more or less. Empty. Bored.
Is that weird?
Maybe there’s a threshold you can reach, like $10,000 is when you are say:
WOW…I just made X amount of money in a couple of hours!!!
But for some reason, I don’t think so. I’d still be one bored FB, twiddling my thumbs, and jumping at the chance to do work, ANY WORK, even editing documents or organizing spreadsheets and fetching coffee.
Just something to think about…

But at least I know that those investment bankers earning $150,000 – $200,000 a year, working 100 hour work weeks are not better off than me, like they tried to front in University. I worked it out, and if they earned $110 per hour for 90 hours a week, they’d have a real salary of almost half a million.


And they’re making VERY good money for their age, but not for the hours they work. It’s like working a little over 2 full time jobs for about $50,000 a year with the hours that they work. Which is not cool for your work life karma.

HAH. Take that, you few and far between snobby i-bankers who thought you were too good to be nice to me in school!!!!

(There was a girl who thought she was SO superior having landed one of the top investment banking jobs in New York. If she knew that I made triple her salary, working less than half her hours, she’d be sickeningly sweet to me right now and crawling under my skin)
Me, I’d rather stick to me 40 hours a week, keeping it real and taking it easy because I’m taking a bit of a risk, not having a fixed salary or a job and there may be months (many months) where I don’t earn anything at all.
And you gotta take it all in stride and learn how to manage your money like a pro because it’s a fat time now, but there’ll be lean pickings later when my salary WILL fluctuate for better or for worse.
My final comment? Make sure you really have a plan A, plan B and an emergency fund in place before you jump ship (any ship, not just a corporate one to be your own boss). And have an exit strategy for when you reach the point where you have to throw in the towel.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.