I do not teach math.  To me, mathematics belongs in the same mythological realm as unicorns and mountain trolls–interesting to think about, fun in riddles and puzzles, but ultimately unreal.  I mean, what is a number really, but a description of something that actually is.

Nonetheless, I recently made the mistake of doing math.

Last night I graded papers for four and a half hours, a regular occurrence for me.  Most weeks I push a sixty hour work week, which in the overtime world would be awesome because I’d bank and probably own a yacht and drink martinis or some other silly nonsense.  But mind you, I am a teacher–the noble profession.

Somehow I had the terrible idea to calculate how much money I brought home, considering the actual hours I work.  Bad idea, teacher.

Bad, bad idea.

Put It in a Word Problem

Let’s say that I take home dollars each month at a grueling, thankless, yet indispensable job.  I am paid for working a laughable forty hours a week.  Yet since I work sixty hours each week without overtime pay, what is discrepancy between the paid the dollar amount and the actual earned amount in terms of y in dollars per hour ?

I’m no mathematician, and my formula could probably be better expressed, but since math is mythological, it doesn’t really matter as long as the magical numbers balance in the end:

Math = Unicorns

Math = Unicorns

In any case, it wasn’t the difference in the pay per hour that mattered, but the fact that after working out the calculations, I realized that with as many hours as I work, I am pocketing less per hour than when I waited tables at The Olive Garden as a college student.

Would you like to sample our new Valpolicella?  Soup or salad?  I’ll get  you some more breadsticks…


7 thoughts on “Mathematics

  1. That sounds about right. If you’re being paid for a standard 40 hour week, and you’re working 60, the discrepancy could be calculated very roughly to be R=\frac{w\times x}{s}.

    R is your adjusted hourly rate, w is your normal wage, x is the number of hours you should work in a week and s is your actual number of hours.

    So in your case, we could use x=40 and s=60 to obtain a rough value of R=\frac{w\times40}{60}=\frac{2R}{3}.

    Hope that makes sense.
    If it’s any consolation, my old boss worked about 65 hours a week (but only got paid for 36) – I did a calculation like this and it said he earned an adjusted rate of $9.50 per hour. Which is horrible.

    …oh, and sorry. I completely crashed this status with my math.

  2. I get it that teachers work hard, but journalists work just as hard — X hours per week past 40 hours with no extra pay, lesser starting salaries that those for starting teachers, no pension, AND they have to work a full year, not a 180-or 185-day contract. When you calculate the pay based on number of days worked, journalists are making $40 to $50 less a day than a teacher. Just saying …. teachers always complain about how awful their jobs are. Journalists have it a lot worse. :D

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