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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Minimalist Wages

If you ask me "how's business?" I'll say "Oh, it's keeping me in beer money" and change the subject, since you were just making small talk and talking about myself always makes me uncomfortable (whatever this self-centered blog might make you think). Ideally we'll talk about beer now. 

My last paycheck belies my facile retort. Curio City paid me a record low $87 ($67 net) for the two weeks from Sept. 6-19. I only drink good beer and I drink a lot of it, so that didn't even come close. That revelation silenced a friend who was bitching about only making $55 an hour. To me, he's in the same league as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump.  
Just for fun, let's dissect my $87. That would equal $1.09 per hour if I worked an 80-hour week. Minimum wage is $9 in Massachusetts, so a real job would have paid me $720. 

Of course, I didn't work anywhere near 40 hours a week. During the first week I spent maybe five hours prepping the mini-vacation shutdown, monitoring email while I was gone, and reopening before I came back. The next Monday I spent a few hours processing the sparse business that Curio City did while I was away. With no spendable cash or pressing workload, I caught up on household chores and didn't pay any further attention to business until Wednesday or Thursday. I'd say I worked 10 hours that second week. 

$87 for just 15 hours of work grosses out to a more respectable $5.80 an hour. Minimum wage still looks pretty attractive by comparison, but of course I'd have to leave the house to earn the state-mandated $135 for those same hours, and somebody else would dictate which hours those had to be. When business stumbles along at its customary pace my wage is much closer to the legal minimum. Business didn't rebound this week, though. I wish that I could double my income by doubling my hours, but in reality I'm more likely to triple my hours for no tangible reward. It's hard to get motivated under those conditions.

As much as I hope that that paycheck was an outlier, I do have to consider the prospect that Curio City won't keep me in beer money anymore. That would, of course, spell its doom. With the Massachusetts minimum rising to $10 next year and $11 in 2017, conventional wage slavery looks more and more tempting. (spoiler alert) I'll launch a full-scale rant about September's epic bad numbers in next week's post so let's just leave this here for now.

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