Sunday, December 11, 2016

The butterfly effect of salary system

In my previous post I did praise a lot about salary. However! there is a catch!

I once thought, when I am rich I would make a company that allows flexible time. If you are done with the work early you should be able to go home sooner. If you need to be absent tomorrow then you can work overtime for 2-3 days to make up for one man day that you will be absent. Why can't you work from home and measure work based on your task? Or other thoughts along these line.

Then I talked these with my friends why no such company exists in common. The answer is surprising, it's all because the after effects of a salary system!

It is that if you allows overwork to compensate, you can't make sure that the work is really being done or not. This is why company measure your work in days that you come to the workplace for easier management. I can totally imagine someone abuse this by sitting still until midnight for 3 days straight to gain Friday as an another holiday, especially in Thailand. Why would they do that? Because they did not work to work, they work for salary.

The same with working from home. It is difficult to monitor. When the traffic is insane you still have to go to the workplace despite an inefficiency of time:work that lies before you.

All of these I understand, salary seems like a "too good to be true" system but there are these structure that make it balanced.

I realized these when I started "time shifting" around with my unemployed game dev work. Today, as I am currently writing this, is now 6:28 AM. I goes to sleep at 3:00 AM with massive work done so why wake up early? It is because my father came and keep snoring that I could not sleep. For today I decided I will start working now and maybe in the afternoon stop working early to go to arcade or play Pokemon Moon.

After 2 days from now I decided to stop all work until the rest of this year, because deadlines of music composing competition is coming at the end of the year. With this time shifting ability, I can push my work away when something important is coming up. Or I can overwork for many days before this period which I did.

Last week I got a flash invite from my senior at work at his music recording room to go see him work directly. It has to be that day, and he said it on FB at 1:00 PM so I immediately stop working and go. (I am at a certain coffee shop, luckily, so I save some travel time) It was a superb experience to be in the real recording room and see him deciding things in mixing and mastering in real time. And I would not get this if I was locked down by the side effect of the salary system.

Just yesterday I goes to my friend's graduation at some university really far from here. On the way there and on the way back I work!! on the public transportation bus. The travel is about 1 hour and I got plenty done (A bit shaky, but that's fun with fresh air blowing along your face.).  Yesterday was Sunday, and if I was under the salary system I would surely think secretly in my head "why am I wasting MY Sunday like this?" despite I truly wanted to go to the graduation ceremony. It is because Sunday and Saturday is your reward to balance off the "unresonable-ness" that you have to go to the workplace on weekday when on your mind you can think of a better way to work. It is all the by-product of the great, salary system.

Staying in the sweet environment of the salary is great, but you will also have to sacrifice some efficiency that you see in front of you but could not take it. How many times you have thought you could work at home to wait for traffic to dissipate near the afternoon and then go to work? That's a no brainer choice for a freelance person like me. There is nothing to lose by managing your time like that, but it can't be avoided under the salary system to enjoy its benefits. You have to be monitored.

Yesterday I was happy. The graduation event was set on a specific day so it cannot be shifted, the one with time shifting ability is a freelancer so I did that. I did not feel bad for wasting precious weekend because I know I got some work to compensate along the way, then tomorrow I can think that I already worked some more on weekend and I should be able to relax more. It's like I shifted a portion of my weekend to Monday by finding some time here and there doing OT on Sunday. On a normal salary system, even when you can OT you will have to go to the workplace. You would not be able to do it on the public car like I did. Even if you did OT on the bus you will get nothing because you are not monitored, and you will think you better not doing it on Sunday in the first place. I just utilized 2 hours that no one could utilize on a boring travel downtime. Combined with the waking early today from my father's snoring (did not see that coming) I should be able to quit working at 1-2 PM legit.

Being a freelance, you can still setup your workday to be five days and receive 2 days reward like everyone else but as a bonus you can be a little more flexible about your time.

Also I got a new sound effects for Duel Otters by just pressing record button on the way back and do a little Ableton Live with it. (When it's out) go play Pinball mini game and listen to the mechanical sound in the opening sequence. That's from ambience and noise of the bus!

I have explained where the salary system is not that good. But to do it outside of that system the most important thing is self-drive. You have to monitor yourself. Do you able to manage all these "responsibility" in your head without any punishment from others at all? That's the trade-offs, and this make the salary way and non-salary way quite an interesting choice to make.

ps. Just found this article which kind of goes with my idea. Although, I don't think salary is bad at all. Calling it slavery kind of attaching a negative word to it. (Slavery is not a bad choice then!?)

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