Make more out of making less

Bo Gemmell

Job loss seems like the worst thing possible in a tough economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a loss of 263,000 jobs in September.

Could there be anything worse than losing your primary source of income? It seems like job loss would be on the top of the list right now, but one thing is worse: a pay cut.

A decrease in pay to perform the same functions the employee previously performed at a higher rate is even worse than doing nothing for nothing in return. Withholding an annual raise to compensate for inflation is essentially the same thing: The employee is left with less funds to use for the same manner of living.

Even with a small raise to keep up with inflation, an employee forced to take on the workload of laid-off colleagues is put in the same situation as a pay cut: The level of employee input doesn’t equate to outcomes.

Payment isn’t the only motivation for working. Employees also look for praise, achievement, job security and benefits. But most of us don’t go to work to get a pat on the back.

Pay is the primary reason we work. If the pay doesn’t match what an employee inputs, he or she can take several actions to ensure a fair balance.ÿ

Slow down

Being less productive isn’t always a bad thing. A roofer who installs a roof in 18 hours could slow down and create better results. Adding a couple hours or minutes to a task allows the employee to strive for quality over quantity and end the day feeling more satisfied.ÿ

Pretend to smoke

It’s hard not to envy the smokers. At all the jobs I’ve had, smokers were able to take a five- or 10-minute break every hour or two. A nonsmoker suffering from a pay cut should skip out for the same amount of time and take a stroll around the block.ÿ

The fresh air will relax the employee and make his or her day more bearable.ÿ

Find a hiding place

The jobs of most college students probably don’t come with a private office, but it is essential that workers find their own personal sanctuaries. These can be anywhere: between boxes, on top of freezers, in unused corners or even under tables.

A discreet hiding place gives the employee a place to nap, read and do just about anything else that won’t draw attention.ÿ

Exercise in the restroom

This works best if the supervisor is the opposite gender of the employee. Restrooms provide adequate room to stretch and do jumping jacks. Getting healthy and doing less work is an incentive that could leave you hoping for a pay cut.

Bo Gemmell is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].