A Roll Is a Raise
Warning, Will Robinson! (And warning to you, too, Wilhelmina Robinson!)
Love all the money you are saving by working from home? Well, that could change. If certain companies move forward with their newest, nefarious schemes, working remotely could significantly reduce your paycheck.
The nefarious idea here is that companies would index the amount they pay you to reflect the amount that you pay for the basic essentials of life -- housing, food, a subscription to the Cartoon Network.
There is a certain sinister logic to this idea.
Say you are working remotely from Toad Suck, Arkansas. You moved to Toad Suck from San Francisco because working remotely meant you no longer had to live within commuting distance of your job, so why shouldn't you take advantage of the low cost of living in Toad Suck, not to mention a population so small that you had a really good chance to be voted Toad Queen at the annual Toad Suck Daze Parade.
Say also that a co-worker -- let's call him "me" -- has remained in San Francisco. The result is that while you're living high off the hog in a 1,000-square foot luxury penthouse above the flour mill costing $150 a month, I live like a hog in a 100-square foot cubby I share with four roommates costing $1,500 a month. Each.
Is it fair? We have the exact same job and the exact same salary, yet by living in Toad Suck, you live like a king, and I live like a -- well, like a toad. No matter how you look at it, your salary goes a whole lot further than my salary.
Not that there's very far to go in Toad Suck, but you get the point.
This is where your employer's scheme kicks in.
In order to make things fair between the two of us, they could increase my salary by 75%. That way, I could afford the same luxuries you enjoy, like gourmet meals at the DQ and driving a massive 23,874-pound Massey Ferguson 8700S tractor instead if tooling around town in a puny 4,100-pound Tesla 3.
I think you will agree that the chance of our employer giving me a 75% raise is less than 0%. On the other hand, they could cut your salary by 75%.
That they could do, 100%.
A cut of this nature would not change your lifestyle. You'd have less to spend, but in Toad Suck, there's less to spend on. Unfortunately for you, the calculation is rather shortsighted because it doesn't take into consideration the cost of all the therapy you'll need when you retire and realize you have wasted your life living in dingy backwater.
You don't have to move to Toad Suck to pay a price for working remote.
Consider all the lavish perks your company used to provide for free, the cost of which now shifts to you.
Like toilet paper. Be honest; have you considered the cost your employer incurred providing you and all the other freeloaders in your department with roll after roll of toilet paper? Considering all the employees and all the toilets -- that's a lot of money, even if all the company provided was two-ply.
Well, dear remote worker -- that expense now falls to you. And if you haven't noticed what the TP shortage caused by TP hoarders has done to the cost of TP, you must have been living in a cave, or shopping in one.
It gets even worse if you were fortunate enough to work in one of those megagenerous high-tech companies that provided employees with free meals. The thought of how many boxes of Lean Cuisine you would have to purchase to equal even one trip through the Google cafeteria line is enough to bust your budget -- and your freezer.
Even if you funded your lunch, you will still have to shell out for many costly employer-provided expenses you once took for granted. Such as unlimited coat hangers and handsome desk blotters and all the electricity you used playing Goat Simulator and Super Meat Boy.
And what about donuts? Those crusty, day-old donuts that appeared like magic at staff meetings now have to be provided by y-o-u. And let's face it: While mold may grow on donuts, donuts don't grow on trees.
Put it all together and it is clear that your new remote work style could cost you a bundle. So, enjoy it while you can. After all, you're going to pay for it.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.