I Want My $300!

humor, money, Better Off Dead, MTV, Modern PhilosopherI hear the same questions from my coworkers every morning, Modern Philosophers, as they pass my desk on their way to clock in for the day…

Did you sleep here last night?

When’s the last time you’ve been home?

Are they holding you here against your will?

Since I’ve been working so much overtime, I am one of the first people to arrive and one of the last to leave every day, so I usually see everyone as they come and go.

No, I haven’t gone all Costanza yet and built a sleep nook under my desk, but that couch in the break room does look awfully enticing.

People keep asking me how I do it, and I really don’t see what the big deal is.  I don’t have anyone waiting for me at home, so it’s no big deal for me to arrive early and stay late.

There was a time when I’d rush home because someone was waiting up to hear my voice on the other side of the ocean, but now only silence awaits me at The House on the Hill.

Why not fill the silence with piles of cash earned at time and a half?

Overtime is a distraction to keep me from thinking about how much I miss the woman I love with all my heart.  For the record, it’s not working very well.

But I’m also working all these hours because of the way I was raised.  Back when I was only knee high to a Modern Philosopher, I grew up in a home where we pinched pennies so hard that they bled.

humor, childhood memories, frugality, Modern PhilosopherMy Stepmother was extremely frugal, and we were raised to understand the value of money.

We shopped at a store that sold irregular merchandise.  I was so embarrassed by this, even though no one else could tell that my clothes, like me, weren’t quite right.

I knew they were irregular, though, and that made me feel even more awkward than I already was.

Even though I wasn’t a fan of this upbringing, the financial philosophies driven home on a daily basis have stuck with me into adulthood.

While no one ever shouts, “Does your father work for Con Edison?” when I leave a light on in a room, my instinct is to get by with as few lights on as possible.

I’ll never buy irregular clothes, but I have no problem buying last year’s model of running shoe to save a chunk of change.  I tend to select the generic brands when I do my grocery shopping, and buy in bulk when there’s a sale.

Lately, though, an odd memory from my NYU days keeps popping into my head whenever someone asks me why I’m working so much overtime.

MTV, NYU, humor, money, Modern PhilosopherI had a pretty sweet internship at a production company that worked mostly with MTV, Nickelodeon, VH-1, and HA! (which would one day morph into Comedy Central).  This led to my first paying writing gig at age 19, when I was hired as a writer for “The Movie Masters”, a game show the company produced for AMC.

Yes, Modern Philosophers, before zombies and drug dealers dominated AMC, there was me with my dorky movie trivia questions.

Prior to my big break as a writer, I would do PA work on various shoots.  One job was on a series of commercials for HA!

A PA does total grunt work.  The days are long, the pay is crappy, and the work is hard.  For this gig, I was promised $75 a day for four days.  $300 sounded very good to a kid who was putting himself through NYU.

However, after the first day, I knew I couldn’t hack it.  We worked over 12 hours on a sound stage in Manhattan, and I spent most of it painting the entire place white.  Not just the walls, but also the ceiling and the floor.  It was insanely grueling work for a guy who just wanted to be a writer and enjoy the glamorous side of the production business.

So I bailed on the last three days.  Don’t even think I called anyone.  Just didn’t show and didn’t really care.  This was over the summer, so it was outside of my internship and the director I was working for wasn’t involved with giving me my grade.

I was relieved to be done with the job, but for the next couple of years, every time money was tight, I would wish I’d had the $300 I would’ve been paid for the work.

Better Off Dead, money, humor, Modern Philosopher, work, overtimeLike that tenacious paperboy in “Better Off Dead”, I just wanted my $300, but no one would give it to me.

No matter how much I asked for it!

Ever since, whenever I have an opportunity to make a little extra cash, I jump at it.

I never want to find myself wishing I had that $300 again.

While I know money can’t buy me love (that’s another movie entirely, with Patrick Dempsey instead of John Cusack), it never hurts to have a nest egg just in case that special someone with expensive tastes comes back into my life and allows me to spoil her again.

Time for bed.  It takes a while for me to get comfy under my desk, and I want to get in a solid six hours before the cleaning guy arrives and starts vacuuming…

I want my $300… and for you to follow me on Pinterest!

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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14 Responses to I Want My $300!

  1. Look at you now! You don’t need that $300, since you are getting $300 an hour in overtime! 😳😳

  2. Shirley Corder says:

    🙂 Good for you. Do you have a favourite pillow under the desk? It can double as a pillow during the occasional hours when you sleep, and as a foot warmer in the colder days!

  3. Spoil yourself instead. Pack a bag, pick a destination, and take off. Amp up your writing through travel and new experiences. Hike, drink, meet people, get out of The House on the Hill, and let go.

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