What Is The Dollar Value Of Structure?

This is really a question about what an insurance premium should be, that would guarantee a person against any loss in their overall wellness that might occur during a long period of inactivity. They say that having an unstructured life tends to put a person at risk (there’s the insurance connection) for various behavioral troubles.  The old saying is: “Idle hands are the Devil’s playground.”

Value of Structure 1

So, how much would a rational person be willing to “pay” for the benefit of daily structure in order to avoid the risks inherent in an unstructured life?

A job with good benefits

Lets consider the case of the unemployed lifestyle. If a person (who is currently unemployed) were to be offered a paying position, then, of course, there would be many factors that would need to be considered when deciding whether or not to take the job. For example, how much does the job pay, how far is the commute and what are the benefits?

The question that we are looking at revolves around the “benefits” section of the job offer. When a job offers good benefits then a person will, understandably, be willing to accept the job at a lower rate of pay (all else being equal.)   In this example, the “Value of Structure” works out to be a side benefit that comes with having a job.

So here is the question: All else being equal, how much of a pay-cut would a rational person be willing to accept just so he could obtain the side-benefit of having a structured lifestyle due to the job?  (As compared to the unemployed lifestyle.)

Hindsight is 20/20

In my own case, I have gone through several long periods of low structure over the years. Looking back, I would say that those were times when I often made bad decisions.

Now lets imagine that it were somehow possible to go back, and purchase “Structure Insurance” – just to protect myself against the loss in well-being that came to me during those long periods of low structure.  Its hard to put a number on it, but I am thinking that it probably would have been worth it to me (in terms of protecting my own well-being) if I had had a full-time job – no matter how low the wage was – just so I could have had the value of the structure that came with the job!

Which is pretty much like being a full-time volunteer.  And that may sound like a lot of work, but as we all know, people who do that level of volunteer work generally have good life outcomes. So maybe they are on to something after all?

Get help and get active

Have you, personally, ever gone through a period in your life in which (by your own way of perceiving things), you had too much time on your hands?  If so, then, from hindsight, how much of a pay cut would it have been worth to you (in terms of your overall wellness) to have had accepted a job during that period – just so that you could have had the  benefit of the structure that the job would have added to your life?

Its something to think about – if you have the time.

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7 Responses to What Is The Dollar Value Of Structure?

  1. The Past says:

    Good question. But the thing that comes to my mind right off the bat is the matter of the inconvenience and pain due to the job. I see how they are really separate issues – but the point is still that they came to my mind right away. Probably it was a reflexive act of self-protection – since I don’t want to work anyway. So it’s something that you will likely have to deal with when asking this same question to other people.

    Now to get to your question: it reminds me of this saying: “I didn’t always get in trouble when I was drunk, but I was always drunk when I got in trouble.”. Of course that is not strictly true since ppl do tend to get in trouble even when they are not drinking – but the point is well taken that there is a noticeable correlation between being drunk (or in this case, a long period of unemployment) and getting into trouble.

    And since some of those long-period-of-unemployment problems were, in my case, really, really serious, then I’d have to say it probably would have been very much worth it to me to have paid someone to give me structure … :-p

    One dollar an hour is $2,000 per year. So how much (from hindsite) would I be willing to pay now if I could go back in my life, buy the “insurance”, and then relive those poor decisions that I made during my periods of unemployment?

    Of course, I still might have messed things up – but at least I wld have had the benefit of that centering force on me – so maybe – really, *probably* – my mistakes would not have been so serious as they were …

    And that would have been worth a lot more than $2K a year …

    • Meds says:

      Yes, it probably wld have been worth a lot more than $2K a year – I’m thinking more like 10X that – like $20K a year. Which wld be pretty much the same as working a F/T job for free! Which is pretty much like being a F/T volunteer. I know that that sounds like a lot of work, but as we all know, ppl who do that level of volunteer work generally have very good life outcomes. So I’m going to stick with my $20K/year estimate for the insurance premium!!!

  2. Ideas says:

    How many ppl are able to discipline themselves (to their own sincere satisfaction)? Most ppl give up pretty quickly unless there is a supervisor keeping tabs on them or a deadline coming up.

    So the question of “What is the dollar value of structure” really means that everyone pretty much is going to say it is very valuable and a good thing. But the point is that most folks (90%?) cannot achieve it unless they get some external help.

    Good article idea – how many ppl can stick with their own structure to their own sincere satisfaction? Not many!

  3. Meds says:

    There is a definite pro-health advantage to the early to bed early to rise lifestyle. That potential health damage could be factored into the insurance premium for an long period of unstructured life.

  4. Meds says:

    Disability And Responsibility

    The govt pays you enough to live. But they don’t do anything to ensure that u make even the most basic of personal responsibility type choices as part of your period of “healing”. So folks with poor self-control just naturally spiral further and further out of control.

  5. allentown5 says:

    I have gone through periods of time throughout my life with no job, and no structure. Also I have experienced times in my life with structure, and no actual set job. Looking back at it as long as I Atleast had some structure in my life. Then my overall wellbeing seemed to be ok. My belief is that society thinks that in order to be a good citizen or even person then you need to have a job and pay taxes. I disagree with that. For instance when I built my own structure for my life by waking up early everyday and putting some time to the side in prayer and communication with God. Also doing volunteer work a few times a week. Eating healthy, and also working out on a regular basis. I felt great about myself. My point is how im trying to Tie this into the article. Is that times in my life when I Atleast had some level of structure, and was doing positive things for myself and others. I wouldn’t have traded that for any Dollar amount in the world. Because those times were the times in my life where I gained the most wisdom

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why Is Corporal Punishment Illegal?

    Actually, it is not entirely illegal – but at least the general sense in 2016 society is that CP is not allowable in many cases. Certainly, it is not legal in schools and probably there are severe limitations placed on CP in a home setting, i.e., parent to child.

    Meanwhile, Back in the Real World …

    However, life itself does allow for CP. There are many examples. Smokers may eventually suffer the physical pain of lung cancer. They feel the pain in their bodies just as clearly as a child feels the pain of a spanking in his body.

    Poverty delivers CP, too. When someone does not have a car, then getting around from place to place is a pain. The pain comes through to the body by way of exhaustion from walking. Asking (or begging?) for a ride causes many people to experience shame. We feel the pain of shame in our bodies.

    Who Would You Punish?

    So why is it legal for a person to be afflicted with the physical pain that comes from lung cancer and the exhaustion of walking and the shame of begging – but it is not legal for a person to be afflicted with the physical pain that comes from the CP that could prevent these painful states?

    Maybe the answer boils down to “There is no one that the legal system can punish” in order to de-incentivize the CP that comes from these non-person actors: Cancer, Poverty and Shame.

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