How much money do you make for the amount of time you work?  You know that your salary is “x” amount and a typical workweek is 35 to 40 hours.  Discover for yourself the real trade-off in time, energy and monetary expenses that are directly associated with your job.


Whether you drive, walk or take public transportation, getting to and from work incurs an expenditure of time or money, or both.  What is your commuting time?  Calculate how much money you spend on a bus pass, walking shoes, gas, parking, tolls, traffic tickets, and car (and bike) maintenance.


Are the clothes you wear at work the same as you wear on your days off – or do you need a special wardrobe to be appropriately attired?  This includes not only the obvious outfits like nurses’ uniforms, construction workers’ steel-toed boots and chefs’ aprons, but also the tailored suits, ties, shoes and accessories that are the norm in offices.

Consider the time and money spent on shopping and personal grooming activities.  Don’t forget dry cleaning, tailoring and other clothing maintenance.


Extra costs for meals take many forms – money for morning coffee and doughnuts (not to mention the time spent in line at the Tim’s takeout window), daily lunches, drinks after work with your co-workers, and expensive convenience foods that you buy because you are too tired to cook dinner.


When you come home from work are you ready to jump into your personal projects or share family time?  Or are you tired and drained and need to veg out in front of the TV for a few hours with a drink in hand.

Job-Related Illness:

What percentage of illness is job-related –  induced by stress, physical working conditions or conflict with employers or fellow employees?  There is a lot less illness-caused absenteeism in volunteers than in paid employees.  Think of the time spent waiting in the doctor’s office and the money spent on drugs and remedies not covered by insurance.

Other Expenses:

Childcare expenses (day-care, babysitter or nanny) take a big chunk out of your salary.  Do you have a housekeeper or hire a cleaning service? What about the hours spent reading work related material, upgrading, going to seminars and conferences, and spending evenings networking for business.

Don’t overlook expenses such as educational programs, books and tools.

The Bottom Line

Calculate the hours you spend on work related activities – what you wouldn’t do if you were not working – and add them to your normal workweek.  Then subtract all your job related expenses from your salary to come up with your real hourly wage.

What if you discover that you’re actually making six bucks an hour?  Are you willing to accept that?  Knowing the financial bottom line for your job will help you clarify your earnings.

You can reduce or eliminate your expenses by bringing your own lunch, using transit instead of driving and rethinking your clothing needs.  You can decide whether it’s worthwhile for a parent to stay at home with the children.  You can use the results as criteria for accepting or rejecting a job offers when you can see clearly what they are worth and perhaps accept a job that you wouldn’t have previously considered.

It’s an interesting exercise to do.  How much are you really earning?

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