Incentives

Would I do what I do for the day job if I weren't paid hourly? This thought crossed my mind today when a colleague who works to the letter of their contract said that it didn't matter how much overtime they might put in, their salary for the month would remain the same. Sticking to expectations makes a great deal of sense, too, as it pretty much enforces a seemingly realistic work-life balance. When overtime is required for whatever reason, the hours are subtracted from another day in the same pay period. Every month sees an almost consistent 160 hours of effort rewarded.

Could I do this job on a salary rather than Base-plus-OT? Probably not.

When this week is over I'll expect the cumulative time to reach about 75 hours in total. There are still three weeks to go in the pay period. An average month sees about 6 weeks of work reported with all the supporting evidence required to ensure an audit of my recorded hours aligns with reality. The way 2020 has been going so far, January might just see seven weeks of work performed.

If I were paid base and nothing more, there is no way that I'd want to maintain the amount of effort that's put forward. If I were paid base plus hardware1, I might put in a couple of hours extra per week, but it would be difficult to maintain for the long term. Base plus hardware plus overtime seems to be the reason I'm pushing so hard … and the ego boosts that go along with solving complex problems encourage a great degree of effort as well.

One of the positive benefits of all the overtime is that I've come to value my personal time at a much higher value than ever before. If the day job really wants me to work on a weekend because they're in a pinch, I can do it. But it will come at a price that makes it worthwhile not only for me, but the family as well.


  1. I'm fortunate that the day job has provided quite a bit of hardware that allows me to perform all of the tasks that I need to complete, and then some.