Over at Freelance Writing Gigs, a place where I have found some pretty decent jobs, there is always a discussion about rates. A lot of the people who hang out over there are people who are focused on the bird in hand school of thought. Better to have a job that pays $10 for a 500-word article and pays it quickly than wait a month or six for something that pays much, much more.
The argument is almost always, "These jobs don't take me long, so the per hour rate is great," with the corollary that $10/hour is a great income in parts of the country.
But I was thinking about this the other day. One of the discussions happening on the site involves a job posting for a one 500-word post a week, with a paycheck of $40 per month. Some people thought that was a rip off; others thought it was a great "per hour" rate.
Anyway, what got me thinking was this -- that's $40 for 4 hours of work (say) in a month. That's a pretty rotten "per month" rate when you think about it. It's a pretty rotten per day rate, too.
A "per hour" rate means nothing unless that per hour is over the course of a day, a week, a month.
Everybody looks at the way they earn money differently. I've said before, after years of working in a job where I got paid once a month, I'm more interested in seeing what my bottom line is on the 30th, and from there I can figure out how I'm doing per hour or per day.
Sure, it's important to consider what you are making per hour on a job. But it is also important to put it context with the big picture. That $10 per hour is $400 per work in a regular work week. But one $10 job a day is $50 a week.
But of course, only you can determine if that's the rate that works for you.