Are You Pulling Your Weight?


Looking back on last week, and assuming you were not on vacation or ill, you probably clocked a good 40 hours or more of work in your role in training.  If you were an independent consultant instead of a full-time employee, how many of those hours would you be able to say were focused on work objectives that you could charge for your time?

As an hourly contractor, you are unable to charge a client for the hours you spend on email or chatting with people online or the on the phone.  You can’t charge for time spent on personal projects or even breaks and lunches.  Ultimately when a contractor spends 8 hours working, they must be working that entire time to invoice for 8 hours of work, and often cannot because of other things that interrupt their time.

Now it may seem tough to look back over the past week to determine how many of those hours could be billable.  So if you are unable to determine the exact amount, start with a guess.  Be honest with yourself (and your employer) and how many do you think you devoted to work?  How much did you accomplish?  Could you feel good presenting an invoice to your employer for the hours they are paying you?

Oh, was that last question unfair?  If you put in 40 hours you are working full-time.  If you could only invoice for 30 then you are not pulling your weight and earning your full salary.  Some of you are at work 60 hours a week so you can theoretically invoice for the 40 hours you are earning in a salary.  But, at least you are pulling your weight, so be proud.

For those of you that cannot quite fathom how many hours you could justify invoicing for your time worked, spend the next few days with a notebook and jot down what you are doing every hour, and at the end of the day, tally up a total.

What I’m trying to do here for my training peers is to demonstrate that many are busy, but if you are not productive it doesn’t matter at the end of the day.  If you cannot invoice for your time because you are salary, you can at least work the hours you are being paid to and really earn the money in your paycheck.  The goal should be the same if you are salary or hourly.  Be accountable for your productivity and respectful of the people paying you.

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