Posts Tagged ‘worth’

Regaining My Power: What I’m Worth

I got a call on Friday with an offer to do a day of flagging on Saturday. It paid $12 per hour, which is pretty good for flagging. I would be one of those people in bright vests that endeavors to get people to park in straight lines at a fairground event. I really should have worn a hat, and I was told at one point that I was so polite I must be from the South. For my 6.5 hours of chasing cars, directing people, and not sitting down once I made $78. Assuming a 25% tax rate- the least individuals pay that are living off of work not investments- I get to walk away with $58.50.

With all of my job hopping lately, I can tell you that $12 per hour is considered a half-way decent amount. It’s certainly far above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 or the Maine minimum wage of $7.50. I, personally, look at $12 and see an amount that’s big enough to work with. That $58.50 that I made? That’s almost 3 bags of chicken feed (yeah, I get the pricey stuff) or two pairs of jeans bought new. It’s a week and a half of what I set aside for my food and supplement budget.

But let’s look at that $58.50 from the other direction. The President of the United States makes $400,000 per year. The government uses 2,087 hours per year to calculate hourly pay. According to this calculation, the President makes $191.66 per hour. In other words, I spent all day making the amount he makes in about 18 minutes. Unfortunately, most Presidential candidates are looking at a pretty severe pay cut to take office.

In 2015 the CEO of Coca-Cola made $14.6 million- or $6,995.69 per hour. Just typing that makes me a little nauseous. What took me a day to make, he makes in about 30 seconds.

The CEO of Time Warner did a bit better at $18,051,386 in 2015- or $8,649.44 per hour. He pays his customer service representatives as little as $9 per hour, but averaging around $13. What I made in a day- and what his customer-facing employees make- is worth 20 to 25 seconds of his time.

The CEO of Citigroup took a hit in his pay for 2015, only making $13 million while over at JP Morgan, the CEO is going strong at $20 million. The people that crashed our financial system and had to be bailed out by, well, you and I, are making $6,229.04 and $9,583.13 per hour. A good solid sneeze will see them paid what it took me 6.5 hours and a sunburn to earn.

How many people do you know that make in the $10 to $15 range? Or less? For better or worse, a whole lot of our personal self worth is tied up in how much we make. The more we make, the more we’re “worth” to society. Certainly the more we’re worth in our current democracy where there are more lobbyists in DC than politicians.

I am worth more than a CEO’s sneeze. I spent my day keeping order so that small business people and individuals could exchange goods and money. There is no way that as many cars could have parked in that field as were there if it weren’t for the team of us keeping order. I’m not saying that I need to make a CEO’s salary for something like this. However, I think there is a big problem when what I’m looking to make in a year is what the JP Morgan CEO can make in 3 hours. Or less.

Like so many others in the precariat class, all I want is a home, the chance to reduce or eliminate my debt, and the chance to maybe not work until the day I die. Why is that too much to ask for when there is a not insignificant portion of our society that needs to decide whether to buy a second yacht, a third house, or, the heck with it, both! I need to hold on to the idea that I’m worth more than a CEO’s sneeze. Because I am. Considering the behavior of a fair number of CEOs over the last 10 or 20 years, I have more to give to this world than the CEO does.

Identity Theft

My car was broken into this week. The thief made off with items that totalled less than $200 new. They were no longer new. I now have to pay over $200 to have my broken window replaced. This has, of course, been reported to the police. However, I got the distinct impression that because there were no credit cards involved or other information that could be used in “identity theft,” that it would go in the “not very important” pile. This is not saying anything against the police. They have finite resources, and catching killers is more important than catching this not terribly bright thief. However, it highlighted the fact that unless an item is given significant monetary value, it has no worth.

Let’s go over what this clever criminal stole from me. This was clearly a “smash and grab” job, as they smashed in my window and grabbed the bookbag and briefcase-like binder in my passenger seat. The bookbag contained clothes that would be worn to the barn. The bulk of the monetary value they stole was made up of my riding boots. I can’t imagine they have any significant resale value, as they were comfortably broken in and in need of re-sealing against water. There was also a pair of, let’s be polite and call them “well broken in,” jeans and a shirt I think I paid $5 for at a discount store. I sincerely hope, though, that they appreciate the rather pricy and very warm wool socks. The other item was a nice, pleather briefcase. I got a pleather one because leather was too expensive, and I needed something that I could brush dirt off of easily. It contained the notes for the gardens I’m working on and the notes for every single class I’ve posted here, along with a couple I haven’t posted about yet.

So what does this have to do with anything, other than to point out that not all criminals are even remotely clever? It has to do with the definition of identity theft. In common parlance, it is used to describe people who have had their Social Security number and credit cards stolen. The result is usually wiping out the victim’s monetary assets and often credit score. This is never a good thing. However, when did our identity become synonymous with our bank balances and credit score? I am the victim of identity theft. I identify far more with the boots I’ve been wearing to work and the barn for years than a randomly generated account number associated with a fluctuating balance. If you want to get really technical about it, by stealing my notes, the thief stole part of my brain. We use notes to expand our ability to “remember” facts. All of the information that I intended to review in the future to really get it to sink into my body’s brain is now gone. All of the details and asides that I just

Taking matters into my own hands.

couldn’t thoroughly process in class will be lost. However, there is no way to assign significant monetary value to either item, so it isn’t worth going after. Never mind that it was the basis of a business I am trying to start. Never mind that I’m probably going to just have to take the classes over in order to re-take the notes to re-examine them and re-learn the material.

If you are putting together a mental image of this situation, add in the duct tape along the weather-strip on my windshield. That’s right, this thief is stealing from someone who’s car is duct taped together.

What’s your identity? Is it your bank balance? Or is it something of less “value” and more worth?