You’ll need a calculator for this. I’ll wait.
Okay. Enter the total amount you earn — salary plus a rough idea of benefits, even those you don’t use but the association sets aside for you (for example, a tuition assistance program, if you’re so lucky to have one). Include the general cost of attending a conference, if you normally can attend one.
It’s okay if your number isn’t exact. But it should be close.
Now figure out the rough number of hours per year you work. Include overtime at conferences, weekend meetings.
It’s okay if this number isn’t exact, either.
Let’s say you earn $70,000/year, including all bennies, and you work about 3000 hours per year, including long days for live events and a couple of weekends, but minus two weeks of vacation and holidays.
That means you earn just about $23/hour.
Think about the others in the office. Even if you don’t know exactly how much the association pays them, you probably have an idea of where you sit within the overall pay scale.
Those of us who’ve worked in small offices know how fast a day can go and how often we feel we’ve accomplished nothing (or very little) at the end of it. We need to think differently about how we’re using that time.
For example, it’s easy to say, “I’m happy to help any way I can.” So when a job gets behind and you need to print, collate, and ship 60 binders for the next event, you pitch in to help.
My question for you is this: How critical was it for you to do that? Why did you have to step in to help? At $23/hour, is this the best use of the association’s investment in you? Why are you performing this task instead of someone earning $15/hour?
Here’s another example. Let’s say the executive director/CEO has decided that the best way to find out what everyone has been up to and has planned for the next week is to haul everyone into a weekly staff meeting. Yes, it’s more efficient for him, but unless everyone else there gains something from it, it can be a huge waste of the association’s resources.
Here’s why. Let’s say the staff has ten employees, counting the executive director. He earns about $30/hour. And for simplicity’s sake, we’ll say that everyone else in the office earns an average of $18/hour.
That meeting cost nearly $200.
If the meeting stretches into 90 minutes, that’s $300.
Over the year, that one meeting can cost about $14,000.
Just for kicks, figure out what your last meeting actually cost you.
Here’s my point: our time is NOT FREE.
Saying to someone, “Yes, I’ll help with the binders this time because we’re really in a crunch, but we need to look hard at why we’re in this situation and how we can avoid it” is the responsible thing to do. Asking the executive director/CEO if you can report out in the weekly meeting then excuse yourself so you can make the most of your time isn’t being disrespectful, it’s being mindful of the way money is flowing in your organization.
You are not shirking responsibility.
You are not trying to “pull rank.”
You’re just doing your part to make sure the association’s money is working optimally.
And you are carving out little pieces of time for yourself that you desperately need.
Say it out loud: “I resolve in 2010 to make the most of my 8 (or 9 or — heaven forbid! 10) hour day by being as efficient with my time as I can possibly be.”
What better resolution for 2010 could you make?
Oh, and be sure to keep that calculator handy.