Yesterday, I showed you what it might look like if you were offered Ten Million Dollars, but you had to work seven years before you got more than minimum wage.
Now consider this. You have a mortgage, including taxes and insurance, two car payments, a few medical bills, two children, ages ten and six, and one on the way. How are you supposed to exist on minimum wage? Your creditors aren’t going to forgive your payments for seven years. But Ten Million Dollars…how do you turn it down?
So, you crunch hard numbers. You and your spouse sit at the kitchen table, and through a sleepless night compare figures. You decide to skim excesses like movie channels from your television programming, data packages off your cell phone, unplug electrical appliances when you aren’t using them, and turn off lights every time you leave a room. You’ll plant a garden, buy freezable groceries in bulk, and car-pool to save gas. You conclude there’s at least a couple of hundred dollars a month you can save without too much effort.
So you agree to the condition. You will work seven years for no more than minimum, but when you finish your term, will receive a check for the difference between your wages and Ten Million Dollars. You sign the contract and cinch the deal.
Now you work.
For seven years you gulp down anxiety when you open the check that never changes. Week after week, no matter how hard the task, your pay remains the same. Unexpected repairs, medical emergencies, relationship tensions, all conspire to make a difficult commitment more challenging. But, with the prize in mind, you keep on.
Until finally, the last day of the seventh year arrives. After the work day ends, your boss walks up and says, “Well done. Tomorrow morning we’ll go over the details, and I’ll have your check ready.”
You go home where you and your spouse spend another sleepless night at the kitchen table. But the atmosphere is different this time.
You banter back and forth, “What should we buy first?”
“Let’s pay everything off and then decide.”
Surges of adrenalin cause your eyes to sparkle as you allow yourselves to talk about the possibilities. For the first time, you let your imaginations roam, excited in your pre-celebration moments.
You pull into the parking lot before dawn. You watch the digital clock alternate numbers in slow-motion. The wait seems to last weeks instead of hours.
And then, you see his Cadillac Escalade glide into its preferred slot. Your boss gets out, looks toward your vehicle with a huge grin, and waves his arm in a come-inside-welcome.
In the quiet, before most employees arrive, you follow your employer into his office, trying not to fidget like an eight year old on Christmas morning. You say, “I finished my time according to the terms of our contract. Do you have my check?”
He turns the combination on his briefcase, the latches click, and he pulls out an envelope. “I’ve included a statement, showing the deductions from your minimum wage earnings. Everything’s in order.” He holds out his hand and offers you your reward.
In your rush to tear the seal, a deep paper-cut stings your finger, but you shake it off and keep peeling the envelope away from your check. With a tremble in your hand, you raise the money eye level. You’ve never seen so many zeros. All your hard work was worth it.
But wait…something’s wrong. There’s a typo in the first few numbers. You shake your head, but don’t look up. You squeeze and reopen your eyes to readjust focus, but the numbers are the same. You tear the statement out of the envelope and shake the folded document open. You aren’t mistaken.
The starting figure is half the agreed upon amount. Everything else matches, but instead of Ten Million, it says Five Million.
You slowly lift your chin, meet your employer’s gaze, and question him without words. Your copy of the written contract rests inside your jacket pocket, and you pull it out in front of him.
He furrows his brows and speaks….
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Genesis 29:25 (NIV)
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri with her family.