Home Economics

A few weeks ago, the Husband and I had the brilliant idea to have the kids do extra jobs around the house and earn money to buy each other presents for Christmas. Since we knew we'd be shelling out the cash anyway, it seemed so much smarter to get three little slaves helpers out of the deal as a bonus.

Seemed being the operative word here.

Day one of their bondage helping began. I wanted them to really feel that they earned the money. I wanted to instill in them the joy of giving, as well as the pride in doing a job well done. I started assigning little tasks for them to do. After each one was completed, they would come to me and ask how much that job had been worth. I started out very low - one job was worth ten cents. Another was only a quarter. A really big gross job (like cleaning their bathroom) was worth a mere fifty cents.

It took them all about two hours each to earn their three dollars per person (which was the goal for each day).

The translation of that last sentence is really this: They were constantly up in my face, bugging and nagging, for two hours each, while I had to wrack my brain and come up with new jobs for them to do. It got annoying. Real fast.

I'm a cleaner, people! There isn't that much to do around here in the first place.

Over the next few days, the value of the jobs increased exponentially. What was once worth ten cents was now a whopping one dollar. The unpleasant chores became easier for them as the value attached to that chore increased. I found myself paying them to brush their teeth and make their bed. Anything, ANYTHING that was quick, easy, and required no thinking on my part.

And just yesterday, when one child was at my side once again, asking what job could she do, I told her to think of one herself and tell me once she had done it.

She skipped off very excited, naturally.

I am not sure that the lessons they've gleaned from this plan are the ones that the Husband and I had originally dreamed of.

[I fully blame my poor management style, and lack of motivation for the project.]

Essentially what happened in our little experiment was this: The workers in this warehouse are really doing the job of the manager. The actual manager is hiding out in her office shopping online and blogging, praying that no one in her factory needs a thing from her, while writing out paychecks for work she is not sure was actually completed. She has no quality control department and does not want to take on the responsibility of that herself, so all work remains unchecked at this point. The chairman of the board (aka The Husband) is not told what's really happening in his company, and there is an unspoken agreement between all the employees to keep it that way for as long as possible.

I'd say I've taught them about corporate America quite well.

God bless capitalism.