We have all heard the phrase “Time is Money.” Who would actually dare to ask the question as to whether it is actually true or not?
Since I can’t get anyone else to ask the question, I will.
The very assumption, that time is money, has contributed to getting us in the mess we find ourselves today.
Let’s look at the statement in the light of the current economic situation, including the bailout of Wall Street and the turning of a blind eye toward the big banks and all their shenanegans.
Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that one of the results of “believing” that time is money is to encourage, shortcuts, shoddy workmanship, calling in sick (when you aren’t), greed and other forms of “cheating?” After all one stands to not make as much money if the job (whatever it is) takes longer than “allowed for.” It is so logical, in fact; it would seem to be incontrovertible.
I would like to put forth the argument that perhaps “Money is Time.”
This is the odd notion that “earned-money” does involve “time.” It takes time to actually promote quality and pride in workmanship. This places the pursuit of real value on time instead of money. People who make the best use of their time and produce the most with their time will be perceived as having more value than the actual amount of money that their work translates into for the business—-but the actual result will be that more money will come to the business because the worker actually cares about what they are doing—-perhaps even having fun at what they are doing. In that way, what becomes of value to society is “time”—-instead of money (well not actually instead of money but “more than” money).
The reverse of this can almost never be true because there is always the pressure to get the job done as quickly as possible so that the flow of money isn’t reduced. In reality what happens is that the quality of what is sold (Electric Tooth Brushes for example) goes down and nobody wants that electric toothbrush anymore or will only pay less for it. This leads to even lower pay which promotes even poorer use of time, and even for instances of calling in sick—further eroding the quality of the tooth brush—-getting workers fired. This creates a vicious cycle that encourages lawyers to get involved—-we all know what happens after that. It results in a giant cavity in everyone’s back account and the product has to be made for even less but still sold for the same amount which results in even more dissatisfied customers.
There is almost no incentive to pay a person more when time is money.
There are always numerous pressures to pay the person as little as possible while expecting the same amount of work in return—-the stockholders must be paid after all, and profit margins must be maintained. The very concept of today’s version of a “stockholder” actually encourages the false notion that “time is money.” The bosses desire for a big screen TV will always be greater than the desire for his worker to buy shoes for his kids. While this view may seem cynical, is that not the way it works metaphorically? It is a lose/lose situation for everyone.
When we make “Time” the most valued part of the equation—-and it is an equation—-there is an opening for people to get exited by what they “do with their time,”—-instead of merely feeling that they are “putting in their time.” How can we expect to produce great things from a position of “Take this job and shove it?”
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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