Wir lieben startups! Du auch ? :D
As many of you know, I ended last year with a departure from Zaarly and am now working with the wonderful team Threadflip. I am having an absolute blast and I really enjoy the work. As the new year starts up, I’m trying to act on my resolution to pay closer attention to the silver linings in my every day gripes.
Today, I’m going to write a bit about the most common gripe in the world and what I think is ridiculous about it: Being overworked and underpaid.
I have complained about it, have heard friends complain about it more times than I can count, and every country song ever written includes at least one verse that addresses the topic. Although it is a bad feeling to have, I do see quite a few silver linings in being overworked and underpaid.
1. You work your ass off.
This isn’t something one should be mad about. It’s something to take pride in. Going to work day after day with the intention of doing the best work possible is much more fulfilling than chasing a paycheck and then complaining when it arrives.
2. You really provide value.
At the end of the day, businesses are attempting to master the art of arbitraging the sum of individual inputs from within their business against the total output value that it’s customers pay to receive. If a business spends more on the inputs than it receives for the outputs, it fails. You don’t want to take more value from the organization than you create.
I don’t always quote the bible, but when I do it’s this quote: “In all hard work there is profit, but the talk of the lips leads only to poverty”.
Spend your time creating more value instead of complaining about your individual take.
3. You are paid.
If you live in the United States, you could be one of the 7.8% of people that aren’t paid for their work at all. Be grateful for the opportunity you have and pay your company back for it many times over.
If they are truly masters of arbitraging, they won’t let the gap between the value you provide and what they pay in return widen too much. Hard work does pay off other places too.
4. You are the sum of your experience.
The infinite hours you spend working toward your organization’s goals and all of the obstacles that you encounter along the way are making you increasingly more valuable. Spend your days getting smarter and learning from mentors, not watching the clock and sucking value. Make sure your hours worked truly count and you will be glad you did.
I’m going to step off of my soapbox for the night. These types of posts are more of an exercise for myself to think through things, but I hope you enjoyed! I would love to hear other thoughts on this topic. I’m sure there are thousand other elements to this that I didn’t mention.
“There are some words in our vocabulary that will, for the most part, always be associated with preschoolers. “No.” “Mine.” “Gimme.” These words are usually accompanied by a pull, a grab or a hugging motion to the chest … Teaching a preschooler how to share something they don’t want to give up can be a daunting task, but it can be done.”
The above is an opening paragraph from a how-to article on teaching your preschooler to share. It seems silly to write (let alone take advice from) such a piece when this is clearly an important thing to teach one’s child. So why is it that the general adult population does not share their belongings with other citizens?
First lets look at what they have to share and how much they spend keeping it.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American family’s top five spending categories, as a percentage of pre-tax income, are as follows:
1. Housing 34.1%
2. Transportation 17.6%
3. Food 12.4%
4. Insurance 10.8%
5. Healthcare 5.7%
*Followed by Entertainment, Apparel and Services, and Cash Contributions. That average about 4.3% of pre-tax income, each.
That equates to a whopping 51.7% of pre-tax income going to Housing and Transportation and a total of 93.5% going to the categories above combined (there are other spending categories too). Add even a 15% income tax or some other life event (like retirement), and the average family goes into the red because of their lifestyle.
What if we lived in a world where people could share their possessions like we shared the colored pencils in preschool in order to offset our living expenses? The good news is, we do. The adoption of technologies that enable people to connect and share with others is spreading like wildfire. There are now sites filled with sharers and people willing to pay big money to access the homes, cars, and other assets they do not own themselves. Don’t have any assets to share? You can share your time and expertise too.
“Is this guy some sort weirdo who wants us all to live in one big vegan co-op together?”
This may be an average American’s thoughts if they have made it this far. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and I encourage you to read on. I’ve covered the basic stats how things currently are and the cute part about “sharing is caringand possible ”. Lets get to the part of the title that matters… Profit.
Let’s talk hypotheticals… everyone loves those, right?
You are a human at the youthful (but not that youthful) age of 48.8. You own 1.9 vehicles, live in a place with 2.5 people that you have a 67% chance of owning and have a household pre-tax income of $63,091 from the 1.3 wage earners in the dwelling.
You currently spend $32,618.04 on housing and transportation per year. ($21,514.03 on housing and $11,104.01 on transportation)
*Household stats based on the U.S. Department of Labor statistics from above.
What if you rented out a single room in your home for $90 per night to traveling students just five times per month? You would bring in another $5,400 dollars in pre-tax income, or what equates to an 8.5% boost in salary or a 25% decrease in housing costs.
Couple the above with renting your car ten hours per week to your neighbors who don’t share the luxury at a conservative estimate of $5 per hour. This is an added $2,600 dollars in pre-tax income (a 4.1% salary boost or a 23.4% decrease in transportation costs).
With a few tweaks to one’s lifestyle, they can keep an additional 12.6% of their yearly pre-tax income. No budgeting, no starving themselves, just by following the lead of pre-schoolers and sharing with others. That enables a materially better standard of life.
Sharing your home and vehicle are just the tip of the iceberg. There are now companies that allow people to share their bicycles, tools, professional knowledge, office space, road trips, parking spaces and even their unique skills devoted to others during free time.
Take advantage of these amazing technological advances and remember what we were taught in preschool. The opening quote of this post states:
“Teaching a preschooler how to share something they don’t want to give up can be a daunting task, but it can be done.”
Steve used to say to me — and he used to say this a lot — “Hey Jony, here’s a dopey idea.”
And sometimes they were. Really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet simple ones, which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.
And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.