Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quid Pro Quo

What constitutes conscionable compensation for services rendered in any given profession? The greatest economic minds of our time have tried time and again to diagram this equation. I’m taking a stab in the dark here but one can assume certain factors such as fair and competitive market value, prior experience, inflation, hours logged, education, efficiency, and a slew of other bullet points are taken into consideration when comprising this metric. Every now and again, an unforeseen variable like NAFTA realigns the entire economic wheelbase and complicates matters further (don’t nod off, I promise this is not about the economy, just be patient). After all negotiations are completed and we finally arrive at a cushy “whatever thousand dollar a year” salary for which the labor review board and your employer can peaceably coexist, we upset the balance with the variable that is “Peter Gibbons” a.k.a “The Employee” a.k.a “In a given week, I probably only do about 15 minutes of real, actual work.” (a.k.a YOU). If fair compensation can’t ever be accurately quantified due to worker variability, and especially where literal monies for services are exchanged, how are we supposed to quantify it within the confines of a relationship, where intangibles like love and faith are the ruling class? I told you it wasn’t about finance you impatient bastards!

I am personally unaware of individuals who have never felt slighted in a relationship at one point or another. Your significant other has either taking advantage of you, or not taken you into enough consideration (to hear you tell it.) As right and just as you are, what is the benefit of getting upset or ever keeping score? Even if you are right, you are wrong because you have succeeded in finding flaw in your other half, consequently faulting yourself. Congratulations. You called it. “New Coke” didn’t catch on and you were opposed when we initially pitched the idea but they bought it and now BOTH our bonuses are in the toilet. I could’ve sworn the whole point was “for better and /or for worse” together. I should not be taking joy in finding flaw / being right

Good deeds & transgressions committed in a relationship can never be evenly weighed, measured, nor counted. Since we are all individuals with specific wants, spending $20,000 on a pair of diamond earrings may not mean as much to your particular boo as just listening when she really needs someone to talk to, then again, depending on the boo in question, it just might (and that denomination was used for hypothetical purposes only ladies ;-)) Concurrently, what is the value of sex to a man when he is at that ravenous stage and looking to release? Any stripper worth her weight in Chinchilla fur coats can attest to the fact that the male libido is priceless. Sex and companionship are but a few of the responsibilities in a relationship that can’t be quantified. What about the household logistics? Surely there’s hope there.

She makes more money but he’s better with the finances. He’s a slob but she’s a neat freak. She cleans the toilet and he religiously makes sure there is something there to clean (and something resembling a chocolate ├ęclair behind the toilet seat.) So how much are her sanitation and nurturing services worth on EBay if he doesn’t ramp up his efforts? What is the net asset value (NAV) of his accounting and “lifting heavy shit” skills on the open market if she maxes out another damn credit card? How many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a happy spouse? The answer to the first two questions are “ If you value your relationship and don’t ever want to find out, it would bequeath you to work out some sort of flexible compensation agreement whereby good deeds are weighed heavily and transgressions discounted with alacrity”. As for the third question, as many licks as it takes (and said licks should be factored into said flexible compensation package).

We all have pet peeves and of course conflict resolution is never as simple as it sounds on paper when void of emotion, and especially when you have made him / her aware on multiple occasions, both forcibly and lovingly, that he / her is annoying the ever loving shit out of you and is about one phone call away from showing up missing (relax, relate, release.) There are times where your compensation @ work may not have been to your liking but ancillary factors more than made up for salary woes (commute time, corporate perks, cool employer / employee’s, hot employees who like to drink after work and just broke up with her boyfriend, etc . . .) Like all jobs however, whenever the reward does not outweigh energies expended, and there is no viable resolution to ongoing conflict, it is time to polish up the resume and see what Monster.com has to offer.

I don’t think the point of a relationship was ever to find someone who has as much physical and emotional capital to invest as you, for that, is a literal impossibility (specifically because it can’t be measured). I think it is more about finding someone whose skill set you have obviously been comfortable lacking to date but are also willing to admit and improve upon for the benefit of the relationship. Don’t ever believe you won’t have to amend your behavior to some extent but it should feel worth it in the grand scheme. No one wants to be at work @ 9 am but you do what you have to do for the sake of your overall happiness. The best decision you could make in my humble opinion to avoid tons of unnecessary strife would be to; a) vet your potential candidate as best possible; b) assure synergy between your mission statements AND inception to fruition timelines, and most importantly; c) trust your instincts. Maybe one day I’ll explain why I’m so in tune with all this shit (says the reforming scorekeeper).

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