Value Your Time (Kidnapping Marshall Godeyemi)
Meet Marshall Godeyemi. He’s twenty-eight years-old and works for a big marketing company in Sydney.
Oh, and you’re about to kidnap him for a handsome ransom.
First you hatch a plan.
You assemble a small group of friends… maybe two or three. People you can trust – no need to take unnecessary risks here!
You keep it covert, subtle and well considered. Nothing in writing unless it’s in code. You draw up a simple plan, buy and put on three black balaclavas, hop in your friend’s white van and go to nab Marshall on his way into work.
You’re a novice criminal though
Because you’re such a novice criminal, you actually forget to factor in traffic on your route and are a bit late… but luckily, so is Marshall.
You pull up, and hop out. You yell “Hey Marshall!” and he turns around confused. He pauses. You swoop in, making the snatch.
He writhes around, even manages to kick you in the gut, but that’s of little concern. All-in-all, Marshall never did well in gym class, is quite scrawny, and so he is captured easily. He does not pack much of a punch.
Step Two: Go to his boss for the ransom.
Big marketing company right? You think that could be your best shot at a payday. You put on one of those mufflers for your voice using an iPhone app and give the boss a call. Why there is an iPhone app enabling kidnappers is not your concern. You’re looking for a payday.
A lady’s voice answers.
(Your muffled voice) “We’ve got your marketing manager, Marshall Godeyemi, and if you don’t pay up, he’s done for!”
“One moment sir” a calm lady’s voice responds. “You’ve come through to the reception. Where might I best direct your ah… concern today?”
You pause for a moment. “To the bread Hronchor” you muffle back.
“Sorry sir your voice is hard to hear it’s a bit muffled, would you mind repeating that?” the receptionist responds.
“THE HEAD HONCHO!” you exclaim.
“Ok no problem sir, I’ll just be putting you on hold while I direct your call”.
She actually puts you on hold!
The CEO, Marilyn Unfazed, comes to the phone.
You explain the situation to her directly and bluntly. You explain that her marketing manager’s life is on the line.
“Who?” Mrs. Unfazed retorts in confusion.
“I don’t believe we have a marketing manager by that name sir, I’m afraid you’re mistaken” Unfazed replies.
“I’M NOT PLAYING GAMES HERE LADY”
You bellow back, veins now bulging from your forehead. “I’VE GOT HIS ID CARD IN MY HAND!”.
“Oh why didn’t you say so! We can look him up then, what’s his ID number, that’ll help!” Unfazed responds, sounding somewhat unfazed by this whole situation.
“Ahh… okay… hang on…” you turn to your co-conspirators “pass me his ID, what’s the number?”. After some moments stumbling around, you find it and read it back.
“Brilliant! Ok just looking him up now…” some clicking and whirring is heard on the other end of the line. “Ok it says here we do have someone by that name here, yes. My apologies. Though he’s not a marketing manager, he’s an intern”.
FUCK you think to yourself.
“Well he works there, and we’ve got him, so if you don’t give us BIG MONEY we’re going to… well… you know!” you mime slitting Marshall’s throat by running a finger ominously across your own, only to realise of course that, you are on the phone.
“Hmm….” Unfazed responds, still sounding… well… unfazed. “Well interns don’t have much market value sir, and I mean, we’re down for the second quarter in a row so this really isn’t a great time”.
You counter “He said on a date that he earns $200,000 a year, are you telling me he has a low market value! C’mon lady! I’m not playing games here!”
“No… that’s not very true. In our system it says he gets $40,000 a year. And he’s also always late, so… you know… there’s that”.
Your blood is literally boiling at this point.
You gaze across at Marshall, who whilst taped and gagged in the corner gives an apologetic eyebrow raise and head tilt in your general direction.
“Well, he’s your intern then, and we’ve got him! So pay up!”
“Hmm…” Unfazed responds, “how much were you thinking?”
“Like, big, big”
“See, I don’t know if we can do that sir”.
Time to improvise. What would the criminals in the movie do?
“If you don’t pay big lady, we’ll kill him!”
There is a pause on the other end of the phone. And some murmurs.
Unfazed returns. “Would that become public knowledge, or would it kind of… you know… be kept out of the press? Swept under the rug so-to-speak? I only ask because that might influence our decision” she pauses, hesitantly “I mean we love Michael and all, but these are tough times”.
“HIS NAME IS MARSHALL”
“Oh, right, right of course, Marshall. Yes Marshall of course.”
You hang up.
Your inexperience as a criminal shows. You thought Marshall’s company would pay big, big money for him, but all they did was peg him down to a measly market value… that they weren’t even able to pay.
You reflect, realising now that he’s pretty disposable to his company. You realise that, as an intern, anyone can do what he does. So it’s back to the drawing board. Who else is connected to Marshall?
Well there’s his soccer team. There’s his high school friends that he hasn’t seen in ten years. There’s the people he takes the morning commute with too.
You sit Marshall up, remove the gag, and ask him. “Who would pay the most for you? Your soccer team or your morning bus crowd?”
“Probably neither. I don’t socialise with them much.” Marshall seems very casual and flippant about this. .
“If not them, then who?” You beg.
He pauses and thinks.
“Well, you could try my family? I mean I seem to be pretty valuable to them.” He looks up curiously.
This could be something. You nod hurriedly in anticipation for him to go on.
“They keep inviting me around every year for Christmas. They help me out with rent sometimes because I ah…” he looks around guiltily “don’t earn much. I was a dropkick at school but they always supported me and all that. They’re pretty sweet.”
This really is an idea. You think about it.
“How much do you think they’d pay for you Marshall?”
Without hesitating he responds. “Oh they’d give everything they have – not sure I deserve it but yeh. It’s almost as if I go beyond currency when it comes to them.”
This thought catches your interest. “What do you mean?”
“Well I kind of feel guilty you know. I’ve sold most of my waking hours to a company for only $40,000 a year, that’s like $19 an hour or something. I guess that’s how much I’m worth on the job market. But wow, my time is worth way more than that to those who love me. There’s no price they wouldn’t pay. Wow, my time is actually incredibly valuable isn’t it? I’ve been selling myself short this whole time”.
“Well what if it was $200,000 a year like you said on that date?”
Marshall thinks for a moment, looking away and furrowing his brow in deeper thought than he has done for some time whilst updating spreadsheets.
“Well $80 an hour… I mean… even if it was $800,000 an hour, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade all that time for money, or chasing a promotion. My family would match that if they could”.
And now you ask him
“Marshall, if you had your time again, what would you do differently?”
Marshall responds “I’d do the least amount of work I had to do to fund my MVL, my Minimum Viable Lifestyle… it’s an idea written and spoken about by Joe Wehbe and his friends. But then I’d make sure the time I spend doing all the things in my life is quality, including work”.
He goes on.
“And if there’s no work that I enjoy that much, I’ll resort to working the least amount of time possible to cover my MVL, and make sure I don’t rip myself off by trading my time for cash. Because our time cannot accurately be valued against a dollar. It is of infinite value, because it is, at the end of the day, finite”.
“Your time is finite, which means it has infinite value to you.”
There is no sale of your time that is well justified unless it is for more than cash.
There is no way to peg your value to a dollar amount. There is no worthwhile conversion rate between your time and money.