At the height of his career, Harvey Weinstein made more in a month than I made in forty years of work. But he was under the assumption that power and influence gave him license to degrade and abuse people—especially women—and that makes him a scumbag loser in my book. Conversely, I personally know several people who have made huge sacrifices in order to nurture and comfort family members born with severe mental infirmities. And while these heroes will never know fame or riches, they are far more admirable than the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. If I had a child, I would much prefer that he or she grow up to toil honorably in poorly compensated obscurity than grow up to be a rich, scumbag loser.
In Groovyland, honor is job one.
Honor from a Personal Finance Angle
You should be honorable, first and foremost, because it’s the right thing to do. But you should also be honorable because it’s financially smart. Now, at first blush, I know that seems a little far-fetched. But trust me on this one. Honor begets financial dividends.
To show what I mean, consider these two things. First, you will never be able to handle all the misfortune or adversity that comes your way. You will need help from time to time. Second, your fellow man is more apt to help you if you’re a nice person. As my last boss at my government job liked to say about his management style, “I take care of the good ones and crush the bad ones.”
During my government career, I was one of the good ones. I got to work early, did my job well, and played nice with my co-workers. In short, I never embarrassed my bosses or made their jobs harder. And because of this, they always “took care” of me.
One way my bosses took care of me was by being less rigid when it came to my PTO (paid time off). Every once in a while, work would get in the way of life, and I would need to leave work early. Dentists, car mechanics, and favor-needing family members are largely indifferent to your work schedule. The people who schedule college classes are largely indifferent to your work schedule too. I learned this shocking revelation while earning a journalism degree and a public administration degree during my government career. And for all the times I needed to duck out of work a half hour or an hour early, I don’t ever recall needing to use my banked sick time or vacation time. I would of course submit a PTO slip whenever work got in the way of life, but my boss at the time would invariably say, “don’t worry about it.”
Now, if I were a bad employee—someone who routinely gave his boss agita—I would have been forced to use my PTO whenever I needed to leave work early. “No PTO perk for you!” That’s an example of how the bad ones were metaphorically “crushed” at my government job.
On the surface, this PTO perk appears to be rather trivial. But over the course of a twenty-one year government career, an hour of PTO saved here and there really adds up. When my government career was over, I had 248 days of banked PTO. My guess is that roughly 10 percent of my banked PTO was the result of my bosses taking care of me. And since we got reimbursed for our unused PTO at our final hourly wage, here is what my PTO perk put in my pocket.
$36.54 x 8 x 24.8 = $7,249.54
But wait, it gets even better. Once I quit my government job in 2006 and left Long Island for Charlotte, I easily invested half of whatever money I made. If my investment portfolio had an 8 percent return over the past 11 years—a very reasonable assumption—half of my PTO perk ($3,624) would now be worth $8,451. This in turn means my overall PTO perk is now up $15,700. And it’s still growing.
Not too shabby a reward for simply being a conscientious employee who treated his bosses and co-workers with respect. Like I said, honor begets financial dividends.
Haha! Yesterday, during our daily constitutional, Mrs. Groovy and I listened to Mr. and Mrs. WoW from Waffles On Wednesday being interviewed by Gwen and J on the Fire Drill Podcast. And wouldn’t you know it, Mr. WoW launched into his own riff about how honor begets financial dividends. Only Mr. WoW didn’t use such a flowery term to describe the cosmic connection between virtue and money. No, he told the show’s listeners that the key to attracting money was simply DBAS—don’t be a shithead.
Damn it! Next to “don’t be a shithead,” my “honor begets financial dividends” adage seems rather freakin’ lame. Perhaps I should have consulted with Mr. WoW before I wrote this post?
Anyway, here’s the link to the podcast. If you get a chance, it’s definitely worth a listen. Gwen, J, Mrs. WoW, and Mr. WoW have a rollicking gabfest that tackles everything from traumatic brain injury to Gwen’s appearance on The Bachelor.
Okay, groovy freedomist, that’s all I got. What say you? Does honor beget financial dividends? Or is that notion a bunch a flapdoodle? Let me know what you think when you get a chance. Peace.