STORIES OF A WORLD GONE MAD

Who am I to say you're wasting time?

BARRY CURRIN
Posted 1/4/19

Originally published in December 2017Back in my days of working at a financial institution, we had to adhere to all types of regulations.Compliance took lots of time. Some people — never me, of …

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STORIES OF A WORLD GONE MAD

Who am I to say you're wasting time?

Posted

Originally published in December 2017

Back in my days of working at a financial institution, we had to adhere to all types of regulations.

Compliance took lots of time. Some people — never me, of course — thought it was all a big waste of time.

We had to send people to classes, endure government examinations, verify we had all the fine print right and buy computer programs to make sure our calculations were correct.

One computer program we used calculated what is called the time value of money. 

The time value of money is an economic theory based on the premise that a certain amount of money is worth more today than the same amount of money is worth tomorrow.

For instance, theoretically having $1,000 today is better than having $1,000 tomorrow, because if you have it today, you can invest it today and start earning interest on it.

I thought about this concept when I overheard two young adults talking about their Black Friday shopping experience.

They were thrilled — giddy, almost —  at their conquest in the wee hours on the day after Thanksgiving.

They saved $12 on a video game, and they only had to wait in line for an hour and a half to pay for it.

Essentially, they traded an hour and a half to save $12. Trading time for money is essentially like working for someone.

In this case, their wage was $8 an hour.

That $8 an hour only accounts for one person, though. Since they both stood there like lemmings all that time, we can divide their earnings in half for a grand total of $4 an hour for each person.

Don’t get me wrong. I sometimes waste time. It’s easy to get caught up mindlessly watching a television show or playing around on the internet and look up five minutes later to see that an hour has passed. 

I try to avoid it, though. And at the very least, I try to be cognizant of when I’m doing it.

It probably gets magnified when we become more in tune with our own mortality as we get older.

We’re all different, though. I realize my idea of wasting time is probably different from yours.

Those two kids who spent 90 minutes of their lives only to buy a video game they will spend countless more hours playing with isn’t my idea of good time management.

Of course, they’ve got a lot more time left than I do, so I guess they can afford to burn a little of it.

Who am I to talk? I was pretty good at Pac Man back in the days when we had to wait in line forever at the arcade for our turn to play it.

Normally, that would’ve been my big finish, but I want to take a moment to thank you for reading my column for another year. I appreciate your emails, and I love it when you see me out somewhere and tell me you enjoy reading it. You all keep me going.

I also want to thank the editors and publishers at the newspapers who give me some space every week. Your job is harder than it has ever been, and I am honored to be a minuscule part of it. Keep fighting the good fight.

This year, I will try not to be a waste of your time.

———                                                       

(About the writer: Barry Currin is founder and president of White Oak Advertising and Public Relations, based in Cleveland. “Stories of a World Gone Mad” is published weekly. Email the writer at currin01@gmail.com.)


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