Value Time, Not Money

Leon Lok
4 min readMar 25, 2022

Explained with some free fried chicken

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I’d like to share a story of mine as food for thought.

I was once given an internal job offer with a decent salary increase; it was a great opportunity and I really wanted the job.

However, it was also going to be more demanding and stressful compared to my role at the time, which I was already satisfied with. I knew for certain that taking on this role would affect my other goals in life, as I’d have less time and energy for them. On top of that, when I was finally given an offer, it felt unreflective of the value that I could provide to the company.

So my question for you is: Would it have been worth it to accept the new offer anyway, given that deep down, I’d be unsatisfied with the compensation and the added stress of the new role?

Personally, I didn’t think so; especially since I was already satisfied with my role. I was even asked by some people whether I rejected the offer out of “pride” or if I “didn’t find money important”.

Both of those assumptions are untrue. Let me explain with some fried chicken.

Free Fried Chicken, Anyone?

Last year, I read the book Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. Demarco. It was the first business book that I’ve ever read. Despite the clickbait title, it completely changed the way I approached money and entrepreneurship.

The bedrock of Demarco’s book is that our time is limited. Money, however, is unlimited. We can always earn more money, but we’ll never get our time back. Demarco gives a simple example in his book: If you waited an hour in line for a free bucket of fried chicken worth $5, then you valued your time at $5 per hour. Now, you can always earn $5 again, but you can’t get that hour back.

This is similar to working as a contracted employee. The amount you’re paid is directly proportional to the amount of time you’re contracted to work for (assuming that you do your work, of course). For the most part, this is irrespective of how well you do. Yes, you might have performance reviews. Yes, you might get a promotion. But believe it or not, whether these things happen isn’t up to you — it’s up to your employer. If your employer refuses, then you’re out of luck.

Leon Lok

Data science, machine learning, and the boring bits in between | |