Sure, your salary agreement may say $50,000 per year…but how many hours are you working to attain that $50,000? If you are working a straight 40 hour week and taking 2 weeks off per year, you are making a very decent hourly wage of $25. If you are working a 60 hour week and taking 2 weeks off per year, your hourly rate drops down to $16.67 per hour. Putting in 75 hours a week like my brother does at his accounting job? Congratulations – you are now making $13.33 per hour. That $50,000 salary doesn’t sound so great anymore, does it? After all, while those paychecks might be of a decent size, you are trading a LOT of hours for that $50,000, meaning you are making about what the average first year employee in this country makes per hour. Are you a first-year employee? Then you are doing just fine. A veteran? Maybe not…
I will be the first one to say that the amount of money I make doesn’t really matter to me, as long as I am comfortable. I have no use for more than I need to have a decent lifestyle. And that is one of the major reasons I left my high-paid corporate job 3 years ago – I didn’t want to trade all those hours for dollars anymore. I wanted to make my own hours and set my own rates, so I had control over how much I worked and how much I got paid for each hour of work I did. I wanted to know that if I decided I was going to make $50,000 or $75,000 or $100,000 per year, it was going to be worth the amount of time I put in, leaving me with plenty of time for my family, myself, my hobbies, traveling, etc.. And it was the best decision I ever made, because I now can see that if I ever put in 10 hours per day (which I never do, BTW), I am truly making the most of that time and getting paid for it. If my self-determined pay is $35 per hour, that’s $350 for those 10 hours of work! Most salaries are based on 40 hour weeks, so anything you work above that and don’t get paid for is free labor for your company and less money for you.
So, that leads me back to the title of this post — Does Your Salary Match Your True Hourly Wage? Have you left a job because what you were promised in salary didn’t match the amount of hours you had to put in? Did you strike out on your own, deciding how much YOU wanted to make – and then made it? Let’s discuss in the comments!
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