The ongoing debate over money versus value popped it's head up recently in a recent article about a Time magazine cover photo that netted the photographer $30 instead of the $3000 that others felt he should have received.

“Who is the IDIOT that is happy he got paid $30 for a TIME cover? I have had TWO EDITORIAL TIME FRONT COVER STORIES and I can tell you that once the money runs out YOU CAN”T BLOODY EAT THE MAGAZINE!“
However it as much as some people may not like the amount of money that photographer Robert took he looks at it from a different perspective.
"yes. I am happy."
"I will frame it"
I have to say that I found Robert's response to the criticism that he didn't get enough money for his photo refreshing. He found contentment in the agreement that he would take $30 for his photo and receive the recognition that comes from a Time magazine cover.

So many times we find contentment in something, no matter the price until we find out that price went down or a newer model came out that is the same price. We no longer have that contentment because we are always looking for that cheaper, newer, or paying better something that is waiting around the corner.

So often we don't put value to items around us no matter the cost unless it is something we lost from our past; like a classic car, an antique dresser or favorite toy that was found again at a yard sale. It seems that we are looking around and what else is out there that we might like better that we forget what we have in our hands to appreciate and make last.

In a way, we can act like little children who are content with a toy until they see something shinier in another child's hands and immediately the toy is tossed down as they go after what looks better.

When I read his response to price he got and the price he could have asked for it, I was reminded of a bible story/parable about a Landowner looking for field workers. If you will oblige me I will post the story below (Matthew 20:1-15):

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went.

"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'

"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'

"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

I have to say I am guilty many times of not appreciating my own things and looking for something better because I compare myself to others and it doesn't seem fair. I need to stop. Think. And remember why I chose what I have and make it last as long as possible.

The new frugality isn't just saving money, it is being content with what we have and remembering why we appreciated it in the first place.


  1. David @ Dinks Finance // Thursday, August 20, 2009 1:00:00 AM  

    Interesting analysis. While I don't think getting paid less than what you could receive is necesarily the right thing in every situation, obviously Robert found more value in having the cover of the mag. than in the pure $$$ he received.

    That story you quoted could be analyzed in a ten-part blog. It's very deep, i.m.o.


  2. Anonymous // Thursday, August 20, 2009 9:02:00 AM  

    "The new frugality isn't just saving money, it is being content with what we have and remembering why we appreciated it in the first place."

    In my opinion, what this story tells me is that, in the marketplace (business), if you're willing to accept less, that's exactly what you'll get: less.

    For me, this story is more about the ruthlessness of American corporations are always willing to shaft an employee (or freelancer, in this case) if they can get away with it, never mind the going rate for a cover photo.

    the same kind of thing has happened to me, due to a combination of ignorance and lack of confidence on my part.

  3. Dawn // Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:59:00 AM  

    There are quite a few ways to look at contentment and I have a sneaky suspicion that no two people will fully agree.

    As David pointed out there are different ways to analyze the idea of contentment.

    I also considered the idea of including a value definition that included more of a "value we put on ourselves" but instead poked at the definition from the view that the decision we make is the one we find contentment with.

  4. Paul B // Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:01:00 AM  

    Thanks for using my picture - and for being good enough to attribute it correctly! Cheers! Paul