Imagine walking into an interview for that next big position you are hoping for. You are dressed for the occasion—some dockers, a nice blouse, perhaps a business suit that you spent a few dollars on at the dry cleaners after lugging it out from the recesses of your closet—and your resume is simply radiant from the hours of work you have put into it over the last few weeks.
So far everything is going well; the interviewer has asked you an assortment of slightly uncomfortable, but appropriate, questions, and you feel satisfied with the answers you have given. Now comes the part that matters the most, and quite frankly makes your palms a little sweaty. The company is prepared to offer you a job. As you sit there in anticipation, figures are jumping through your head, and you wonder whether or not you will finally be able to afford that new car, that sneaker purchase you have been putting off until you found employment, paying back your student loans, buying a house, etc. The offer comes in: $4.86 per hour. Hold the phone.
I would never accept a job that offered me such a low-ball figure, even if it was to flip burgers (which I am not above doing, but as of July 24, 2009 even people working in McDonald’s now earn a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour). I assume that many of you would not either.
But what about if you were working for this kind of pay without knowing it? Case in point: my one year spent on SendEarnings.com. This is a website where you earn money for reading emails. You sign up for an account that is automatically credited with $5 to begin with. Once you reach the point of $30.00, you can fill out a little online form to claim your check. Sounds good, right? I all ready read many worthless emails everyday by accident, so why not get paid for it?
Well, it turns out that you only make $0.02 per email. This means you would have to read 1500 emails before getting your paycheck. It took me from around August 2008 through July 2009 to reach this point. True, I could have quit halfway through the year when I realized what a waste of time this was, but by then I was up to $17 or so, and was so close to that $30 nugget that I couldn’t quit and lose all of the time I had already invested into this.
Here’s how it worked out for me (notice that I only had to read 1000 emails; this is because during my membership I received an email for a product that I had wanted to buy already, regardless of the advertisement, so I earned $10 through SendEarnings by doing this):
1,000: Number of emails I had to read
20,000: Number of seconds spent reading emails
333.3333: Number of minutes spent reading emails
5.5555: Number of hours spent reading emails
$4.860049: Pay per hour
Not only did it take almost an entire year, and 5 hours of my life to do this, but the check will not be issued until September 1, 2009, and if my account goes dormant between now and then (which is to say, I stop reading future emails over the next month and a half), then they will not issue the check at all. I feel like I am being held ransom…
My point in writing this is that sometimes something looks like a good deal (who wouldn’t want a free $30.00?), but if you do the calculations and figure out the time investment you will be putting into it, it really is not. The older I get, the more I value my time, and I am quite sure that I am worth more than $4.86 per hour.
How much are you worth?