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August 23, 2006

As soon as you got to the main page, you must have realized something was different. Yep, I'm changing the format of the front page. Everything will be easier to reach, soon.

It's just one big editing process . . .

Now, on with the purpose of this blog, again a personal story with a moral for writers and artists at the end.

I've got an issue at my "real" job. Every hourly employee has time-management issues--namely, that their hours get cut and they can't survive--but in my case, it's affecting more than myself.

You see, my boss wants me in charge of the food and candy aisles. The problem is not only that I keep getting called to not come in on Saturdays, when I'm scheduled, but that he keeps having me do other things.

Food has to go out ASAP so it will still be good when it's sold. Because of this time mismanagement, there's a virtual ton of food that's still sitting there, some of it from two weeks ago. Unless other employees get some out (fat chance, given how it's been the last couple weeks), it will be impossible for me to get it all out this week.

Now, much of it is canned, but some isn't. Every week, I get out all the cookies, crackers, and chips, work on the candy, and get out some other stuff that can go bad easily. Last week, I got out a lot of pasta, fruit snacks, canned vegetables, rice, and mixes. I'll have to look at what we've got this week before I decide what to do.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a stocker. It's one job where I can have a little bit of creativity because there's no set place for each item. It's the way my work time is being misused that's bothering me.

Everyone wonders what goes through their minds when companies cut work hours. Well, here's what they're thinking: profits. (You can always use that last sentence to answer any question about why corporations do the things they do.) If sales are down, they cut employee hours to compensate. On average, a company makes $1 profit off every $10 revenue, so that $60 to pay one real hour of work time takes $600 sales. Then you have overhead, which is paying for everyone from the district manager to the CEO. This brings it up to about $750. That's translated into the value of an average price of an item sold, say $2.50, to get 250 items per hour. That's how much they must average through the work week.

But there's a huge problem . . .

If you don't get the product out, it won't sell. This brings revenue down. So if you cut hours, you hurt sales. If you have that one more stocker on the job, and he puts out, say, 20 boxes in an hour, that's $500 of product on the sales floor. Assuming 2% is sold on the first day out, that's $12--his hour of work, plus one other employee. Multiply that by six hours, and you get $72. That pays, on average, 10 hours of work plus $12 overhead.

Of course, this can be affected adversely if people wait for an upcoming event, such as Christmas, back-to-school sales, or graduation season. The key is to remember that the sales over those times will, overall, be more than usual, so cutting hours really doesn't make sense then, either.

So, how does this apply to writers and artists?

Simple. If you don't work, you don't get paid. If you don't write, you can't sell your manuscript. If you don't draw, you have nothing to display. The creative arts are a full time job, just like being an hourly worker! If you take it seriously, make it your full time job. Put in full time hours, an average of 35, and you'll be working hard at making a profit in the business. Don't cut your own hours; that's just financial suicide.

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