Since the advent of industrialization and capitalism, “going to work between 9-to-5” has become a norm rather than the exception. The world has been organized by these forces to become a system were individuals, exchange their time as an asset to earn a living – “you give me your most productive time-block of say, 9am-to-5pm and you are guaranteed a paycheck at the end of the month”.
I say this because Time is the first point of exchange (and most critical) in any negotiation. A dead man, no matter how knowledgeable and skilled he is, cannot take up paid employment because he now has zero time. His time balance is exhausted.
It is the reason why we can negotiate for more money even when we go bankrupt, but it’s often hard if not impossible to negotiate for more time – time can afford you more money, but usually, more money cannot guarantee more time. For example, white or black, male or female, all we will ever have is 24 hours a day. Not any more or less.
My thesis in this piece of writing is not to discredit the system of work that we have today but to awaken our consciousness to the trade-offs that are going on whether we are aware or not. Your time is your most valuable asset and you lose if it is exchanged for only money alone. People (mostly young folks) must make career decision with a new set of criteria. Whatever you commit your life-time to, has got to have a long term implication for you and has got to be the kind of work you would like to use as your own means of making a difference in the world and the world of those around you. Those are the conversations that we should be having.
If you are selling your time for a living, make sure it is to the right people, the right company and for the right causes. Otherwise, you will be selling yourself short!