How Do You Like to Be Paid?

do some workWhen I was in my early 20’s, I did all kinds of jobs.  Good jobs.  Shitty jobsJobs I loved.  Jobs I endured.  My least favorite job was at a group home for intellectually-challenged adults…..but it’s not what you think!  I actually loved the residents who lived there and learned a lot from them.

The problem was, I was only paid around $8 an hour but had far too much responsibility.  And even though I worked the night shift by myself (11:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.), I had to deal with several hosebeasts in-between shifts.  One of them smoked the entire time she was pregnant, yet gossiped about everyone else’s parenting and relationships as if that was her part-time job.  It took everything I had to keep my mouth shut!

I was glad when that was over.

Shortly after I left that job, I began working as a nanny three days a week and cleaning houses in my spare time.  That set-up allowed me to continue taking college courses in the evenings and on weekends without squashing my income potential too much.  I really liked my hourly gig as a nanny because it was fairly easy and fun and I knew what to expect.  I also liked cleaning houses because I was paid by-the-job and could earn upwards of $30 an hour.  At the time, that seemed like a ton of money!

Whether we’ve been paid hourly, by-the-job, or salary, I’ve found something interesting and beneficial about each situation.  Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Salary

Greg’s former employer paid him a salary, and I really liked it at first.  I knew exactly how much he would be paid on any given month, and found that fact extremely helpful when budgeting or planning for any type of purchase.  However, as time went on, he started working more and more hours, and the work began to pile on.  Yet, since he was salary, he was never paid any more for the time he gave up.  By the time he left, we were over it.

By the Job

Since I’m self-employed as a freelance writer and blogger, I am paid for each job I complete.  I actually like if that way since I can work when I’m able and get paid whether a job takes me five hours or two.  I also like the fact that my income is directly tied to my productivity.  The fact that I only get paid when I work is the only reason I get out of bed most days!

Commission

sales guyGreg left his job in the mortuary business last summer for a brief stint in sales.  Obviously that didn’t work out, but it did teach him one thing; he hated working for commission.  Unlike getting paid by-the-job, his sales job relied on the cooperation of other people.  He hated asking people to buy stuff, and he didn’t like the idea of a fluctuating income at all.  A career in sales may not be for everyone, but I do know that some people thrive in that environment!  In fact, sales can be very lucrative for those who have the personality and drive to succeed.

Hourly

I loved being paid hourly when I worked at the funeral home because I was compensated for any extra hours I put in.  We also really like the fact that Greg’s new job is hourly too.  He worked 55 hours the past two weeks and his upcoming paycheck is going to be a monsterI like it.

How Do You Like to Be Paid?

We’ve obviously worked in a wide range of jobs and been paid in all sorts of ways.  And even though I’ve enjoyed some aspect of each situation, I think I’m happiest with where we’re at right now.  The fact that I’m self-employed means that I have unlimited earning potential, but Greg’s job provides us with some stability.  In an uncertain economy, I think a little bit of income diversity goes a long way.

How do you like to be paid?  Have you ever been paid a certain way and hated it?

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. I have the same issue with my salaried job. As I’ve been there longer I’ve had more and more work handed to me and I definitely never get paid for all the hours I stay late- or even go in on the weekends sometimes to get caught up! There are some definite advantages of being paid by the hour!

    • I agree. The state of Indiana actually requires mortuaries to pay funeral directors an hourly wage, but his old employer ignored that rule. His hourly rate is really high so overtime means big bucks for us! I hate that he works so much sometimes, but the money is nice. At least we are being rewarded for the extra hours now.

      His old job was awesome too- just different.

  2. Getting paid by the job would be my preferred way of getting paid. Hopefully over time you can focus on higher paying jobs and drop lower paying ones. People also pay you for the value you deliver, not necessarily the time you put in. In this sense you seperate earning money from “time” and can hopefully end up earning more money per hour by focusing on jobs that deliver more value for the client and therefore more money for the same amount of effort.

  3. I’ve been paid by the day, per hour and I’m currently salaried. Each had their own advantage and I liked them all. I like the way salaried is set up for me because my job does put a limit on how much overtime you can give and its actually frowned upon to work 5 hours over our 40 hour a week contract (apparently more schools are doing this now).

    • I think that makes a difference! Putting a cap on overtime is a great idea. Greg’s job is just one of those where it’s no one’s fault when people have to work overtime. People pass away and they have to take care of them. They can’t “cap” overtime or even limit it in any way. It just has to be done.

  4. I love being paid by the hour, but I also love when I get checks for freelancing. I work about 55 hours a week at my day job, read: 30 hours per pay period of overtime, and then checks come in from writing. It’s awesome! There was a time when I wished for salary, but when I get to leave early on Friday because I”m over on hours, it’s fantastic!

    • Yeah, I think salary is overrated. It seems like everyone I know who is salaried feels like they are being taken advantage of. It might just be psychological though.

  5. Working salary sucks. I would rather get paid overtime. Being a dedicated worker like me, I tend to do the extra, even though I’m not getting paid and it’s a hard habit to break. Knowing I now have my blogging to keep me busy, helps me sign off whether the work is done or not.

  6. Depends on what I’m doing. As a professor, definitely salary. For freelance stuff, by the piece or hourly. (My rates are high!)

  7. It really depends. I’ve always benefited from overtime when getting paid by the hour, and I loved the fact that I could earn more if and when I wanted. Salary offers stability, but hourly allows you to hustle.

  8. I am on salary now and it works out great simply because we do not have tons of overtime. 11 years ago I was on salary in a position that felt 24/7 so I probably made $2- per hour by the time all was said and done. I also have an hourly “side hustle” and it is a pain in the rear to keep track of hours, so…I guess I like salary if it works in my favor? Ha!

    • Yeah, it totally depends on the situation! I hate it when people are paid salary and expected to work all the time. Life is about more than just work!

  9. Is “Early and often” an option? :-)

    I’ve been salary for 12 years now, and while it does have its perks, I’m over it like Greg was. I’m hoping that next year it will be by the job!

  10. When l moved from L.A to Houston, l gave up my manager position when l realized that not only was my pay lowered to be in line with everyone else, l would have to put up with a lot more corporate BS. No thanks, they found some recent graduate to do it. He lasted 4 months. In the 6 years l was there, we went through 5 managers. Like Greg, they were salary and therefore were expected to work like 45-50 hours all in…

  11. I like all for different reasons…well maybe except salary, but that’s because I have been screwed over by salaried positions. Almost everyone has. Commissions are great when they can be unlimited. Getting paid by the job is nice, because you speed and quality determine your rate. Hourly pay isn’t bad, but I only have ever been paid hourly for side jobs. Overall, probably commissions, because you totally determine your own pay!

  12. I think I’ve been paid via all those ways. I absolutely HATED commission. I never liked my pay depending on me trying to convince someone about something. I always like the idea of a salary, but felt it limited my earning potential not to mention having to work until the job is done and not getting paid for it. We do most of our work by the job now and is my favorite. It incents us to get it done quicker so we can basically up what we’re making per hour and it’s directly tied to your productivity.

  13. I don’t have too much experience earning income by the job, but I think that is really the best way to get paid. If I am being a bit lazy on a salary job, I have to work until the tasks are complete, so I feel ok goofing around now and then during work. Hourly I feel that all of my time should be spent working and I am with others on commission. I don’t want my paycheck to be subject to stuffing a product down someone’s throat, but I see the benefits of a per job basis. You can be as productive as you desire that day!

  14. I’m paid hourly, I like the stability. I have worked on commission before and my paychecks were either huge or tiny.

  15. Lately I’ve been getting paid per project, and it’s always come out in my favor (meaning it ends up being more than my hourly rate). Taking a lump sum for a project can be risky…you just have to know how fast and efficiently you can work. There are times where the pendulum might swing the other way.

  16. Mr. FW and I are both salaried, so like you mentioned, we don’t get overtime. Sometimes this is good–our benefits and bonuses are great and we like our jobs. But sometimes it seems really unfair–we both took yesterday off to hike and spend time together, but Mr. FW ended up getting pulled into projects and worked from home almost all day. Then, he was up until 1am fixing a software bug. All on his “vacation” day. But I think in the yearly analysis, it works out for us since Mr. FW’s job treats us both extremely well and my job treats us pretty well.

  17. I definitely agree with you. Income diversity does go a long way. Believe it or not, I get all three of these at the moment. I have some clients that pay by the job, some that pay fixed monthly costs, and some that pay hourly all depending on their budget. It works incredibly well for me. I do my budget based on the contracts with fixed monthly costs, anything else generally goes into savings!

  18. I have been paid hourly, salary, commission and by the job. Salary is best if it is high enough and the hours do not bother you. When you are self employed, you work a lot of hours and if effective earn more too. There is no perfect concept!

  19. I have a salary and I like it because I know exactly how much I’m getting each paycheck. Sometimes I have to work a few more hours, but other times I get to leave early, so it balances out. My job is pretty flexible. However, if I had a job where I had to work longer hours then the hourly pay would be preferred.

  20. I like salaried with potential to earn OT. That was the deal at my old job, but they were also super uptight about dishing out OT (understandably so). More than anything, I just like getting a fair wage for my work.

  21. At this point in my journey to becoming debt free, I don’t what method I’m paid in, I just want to be paid lots and often :) A girl can dream right?!

  22. I have been in sales just about my whole life and now I have my own business, so I have mostly known commission and by the job payments and being the overworking Type-A person that I am, I like getting paid these ways because I know if I work hard, I will get paid for it. My hubby has a salary, though, and it is nice to have a balance between the two from time to time.

  23. My cousin worked in a group home (night shift) years ago back in college…I think it was pretty good money from what he said since there wasn’t too much going on at night. I’ve only really had salaried jobs, but I work in government. One downside is that you get raises based on seniority…not on merit. Not much incentive to work harder.

    • I worked at a group home too night shift and basically it is very laid back until the resident wake up in the morning. Mostly I did paperwork at night. My last pay was 11/hr.

  24. I have been paid salary, hourly, commission, and by the job. I like my salary position along with my per job side job rate. I hated commission and hope I don’t have to deal with that compensation model again.

  25. I’ve been paid hourly, commission and by the job. I prefer by the job. I love my freelancing gigs because I get paid almost as much as I do at my full-time job but I spend about a fourth of the time on them.

  26. I like being paid by the hour because of that OT. I also worked at a group home before becoming a nurse. I also do freelance video work where I get paid by the job even though I also factor time.

  27. I like getting paid by the job. I am usually a very quick worker so it usually works out best in my favor that way :)

  28. I have worked all three!. Currently I am working hourly and there isn’t too much OT, but it is nice when I can bring extra cash home. They are working my position into salary but that will give me flexible hours and allow me to come in late when I have evening events. Before, I worked salary and my employer felt the need to work me each and every hour possible. It sucked, however it did teach me an important lesson, I was worth more. With my new job, they realize my worth and work me so I don’t get burned out. When you get double-time hours, your checks look great, but it’s not worth it when you don’t see your family or even get a break. And then I wont even start to talk about how commission was…

  29. I currently get paid a salary (part time at a dog rescue), hourly (small design jobs) and by the job (larger design jobs/packages) and they definitely all have their benefits! I think my favorite thing is getting paid by the job because if I really focus I can increase my calculated hourly rate. But there are always times when something goes wrong and suddenly you’re pulling in minimum wage or less for the day. There are definitely pros and cons to all of them!

  30. I’ve mostly been paid by salary, but I make sure that my employment contracts have overtime limits in them – or that I get “paid” for them in other ways. Mostly, that’s been pulling a 60 hour week one week to get a project done, then only working 20 hours the next week. I prefer salaried actually – more stable income :)

  31. I do miss the consistency and predictability of a salary. But, like you said, salary doesn’t care whether you work overtime. Now, I’m working hourly and get paid more for overtime. It may not be predictable, but I love that I know that my extra will pay off – literally :)

  32. I like being paid hourly for a lot of reasons but sometimes I like the idea of being paid salary and knowing exactly what I’ll be getting on what days. My husband has a hybrid system where he’s guaranteed an 80 hour pay period (bi weekly) at an hourly rate but submits hours and if more than 80 bi weekly he’s paid for them.

  33. I love my current job. I am an hourly employee, with a guaranteed 35-hour week. And there are often opportunities for overtime. It makes budgeting easy, I budget for my regular week with no overtime. Any overtime earnings are a bonus, that mostly go into savings.

    I think what also plays an important role is pay frequency. I get payed weekly, which is heavenly!!! Makes planning bill payments very easy. The boyfriend gets payed every two weeks, he’s often short on cash a few days after being payed, but then again, he’s horrible with money. I have friends who get payed twice a month, and I know in my province, employers can also pay their employees as infrequently as once a month. I wouldn’t be able to handle that.

  34. I am right there with you on hourly! My boyfriend tries to work over 50 hours a week if possible, but 48 hours is normal for his company. We love all the overtime he gets! I really disliked being salaried for the reasons you stated. I worked my butt off and didn’t get compensated appropriately. Not even PTO. I eventually gave up and stopped going in early and leaving later.

  35. Hi Holly, Similar to your earlier work with intellectually challenged individuals, I work as a mental health therapy aide and get paid bi weekly. I think i like the bi weekly payment as it aligns with my bills for the month. For us overtime is plenty but mandated overtime is a killer :)

  36. Hmmmmm…. It seems like the longer you have a salary job the less you get paid hourly. As you become more competent at your job they keep giving you more and more. My most recent job the first few months had some definite slow time where I only had some stuff to do but a fair amount of downtime. It made it kind of nice to be a salaried employee then. But now…. I’m just overloaded and have to start drawing a line that I don’t cross.

  37. Before we had kids I worked for commission. I actually did pretty well at it, and according to my manager had the highest per-hour earnings in the franchise. It does have its pros and cons, for sure. The worst thing is: You are competing with your coworkers for clients, at least that was the case in my job. It can make for some tense situations. That’s why I’ve decided to avoid commission-based jobs in the future.
    Ironically, my current gig is once again commission-based! I depend on credit card sales, and competing with my blogging peers for conversions. Sigh…

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