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Time is Money

Time is Money… a phrase I often heard but never truly grasped until recently.

I think everyone can conceptualize this statement: it takes time to do your homework, which you turn in for a grade, which will lead to your graduation and help determine your future. Without going through this process, without sacrificing a bit of your “playtime”, you could ‘earn’ a bad mark, detention, a grounding. This of course never happened to me; while my homework record wasn’t always 100%, I was never one to disobey. I always looked to the future and planned ahead.

Just get through this class, this day, this semester. Just graduate high school, college – it’ll get better. Life was a waiting game. What did it matter what I spent my time doing as long as the time ticked on?

But the time did move forward. I did graduate and I entered the “real world”. And I was still left waiting, still standing still, listening to the clock tick each second away. But this was the sacrifice – pay your dues, work your time and it’ll pay off when the moment is right.

I’ve never been a patient person. I have patience for others: I can calm down an irate customer or gently answer a child’s question. But I’m very much a “Generation Now” child and grunt work always left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I remember talking to a coworker in one of the very first Office jobs I’d ever gotten. My first real taste of a career. I made a comment, I wish I could remember what it was, but she smiled at me and replied, “just wait until you’ve been here 30 years like me.” She meant it to be kind but it left be breathless like a punch to the gut. Thirty Years. It was like a prison sentence and I felt like a trapped animal. But even then, I didn’t truly get the meaning behind “Time is Money”. All I knew was that the cost was too high – I remember telling myself every day on the drive to work that not everyone’s dream can come true. But an odd thing happened; the moment I gave up on having dreams was the same moment I fought to hold onto them.

My journey continued with a mix of bad jobs or poorly paying good jobs. And then I came to where I was at the start of this blog and the rest is well documented.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even “get it” when I started working Freelance. Sure, I knew I was being paid per project and yes, I’m sure I would have figured out that the faster I completed said projects the more I would be able to take on. But the true depth of understanding took a process off about a week and finally sunk in today, as I was standing in the Cutting line of Joann’s for an hour: Time is money.

My agent tells me I am worth $300-400/hr (recording time, not post-production). She advised that at some point, I am going to have to stop taking on these $50 jobs: it’s not so much the money as the principle. “A workman is worth his hire”. I think the hardest thing for me to let myself admit is that I am talented and I am worthy of respect. I am past the point of being given pity work or “favors” in the form of free labor. I am a professional and my time is currency.

So, here I am, standing quietly, waiting for the same two customers to be helped the entire time I’m on line and I realize FINALLY what my agent was trying to tell me. She recently told me to weigh the project and see if it is worth the effort: is the cost of production worth the reward? There may come a time where my plate will be full of opportunity and it is imperative that I learn now how to distinguish between a good job and a bad one.

Last week, I worked my front desk job and every day immediately went to my admin assistant job. This isn’t a big deal, lots of people have multiple jobs. But on Tuesday, I worked my day job, recorded a project, went to my second job and then went out to a business dinner for a fourth venture I am a part of. In that one day I worked four paying jobs and I didn’t have a moment to myself until the late evening. I felt accomplished and proud of myself. But then I had to do a retake of the recording and again, I went directly from one job, to another, to a third. Was the stress, the gas and the time worth it? I took a gamble; I did the project more for the networking it could potentially provide than the actual payment. But it made me wonder – what else could I have done in that time?

A person would go mad trying to make every waking moment productive. But I think – for me – the phrase “Time is Money” is less about monetary gain and more about prioritizing. After all, they say ‘money can’t buy you happiness’ and that you need to take time out to enjoy life (stop and smell the roses). But you should do so consciously. Especially if your line of work happens to be Freelance. Respect your clients, respect your friends and most importantly, respect yourself. Find and accept time that is to be spent relaxing, rejuvenating, regrouping. But prioritize your working hours. This is something I am currently struggling with and an issue I’ve had with voice acting since the start. Since acting is my passion, I keep filing it under “hobby” – something I do when I have my allotted free time. But in fact, it is my profession; my chosen career. Practicality calls for me to supplement with a day job but that does not mean acting should be any less of a priority.

Is the time I’m spending doing X worth it? Would it be more beneficial to be doing Y instead? I feel as though I may not know the answer until I am no longer in the present. Once again, I must wait. But I am no longer living for what is to come. I am finally living in today, seizing my time and making something of it.

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