Time’s Value

Mark once told me that the most valuable thing that he had to offer someone was his time. That day, I appreciated the irony as I watched him spend 5 minutes meticulously crafting a small origami shirt from a dollar bill to give to a waitress.

I could tell by her expression throughout the night that she, herself, would never spend this much time on such an endeavor. It would not have been worth her time, and time is money, is it not? On the other hand, he works in the financial industry and earns well in excess of a six-figure salary. If she would not think that she could afford the time, he certainly could, but it was far more likely that she would have appreciated a few extra dollars.

I sat in my seat watching him fold as I did some not-so-creative math.  I had always figured that he earned about 60 dollars per hour. I could be wrong, but that was especially convenient as there is only 60 minutes in every hour. The way I figured it, his earning power was essentially one dollar per minute. The time spent on the shirt? That would be worth $5.00.  I sat silently and considered how he was spending $5.00 of time on something she would unfold to exchange for $1.

Three months later, as she walked away from our table smiling, he turned his attention to me and winked, “A dollar well spent, right?”

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