Toolanddie I was reading in the paper another one of the hundreds of tales of woe, wherein someone was decrying his inability to find work in this tough economy.  In this particular case, a 41-year-old tool-and-die maker lost his job after working 20 years at the same plant.  His resume has just one work entry and his education consists only of a high school diploma.  His job search efforts have been fruitless, so he has decided to go to a technical college for a two-year mechanical drafting program.

So what does this poor soul have to do with delegation?  I’ll bet if we asked him, he would say that during those 20 years he was barely scraping by.  He certainly could not afford to hire others, he would argue, and had to do every errand around the house himself.  He had no time to go to school.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Whatever was keeping him busy after work, whether it was watching the kids or working on the house, if he had delegated those duties, at least part of the time, he could have freed up enough time to attend school at night, even if just once or twice a week.  Over 20 years, he could have earned about four PhDs if he was so inclined.  Instead of starting his education while unemployed, his toughest decision now would be whether he wants to teach calculus at Cornell or political science at Penn State.  I exaggerate to make the point, but he certainly would be in a position to aim higher than drafting school.

I speak from personal experience.  I earned my college degree while working full time as a police officer and running a business, and continued to work through law school.  One of the attorneys in my office began as a legal secretary, obtained her paralegal certificate, and then attended law school at night for four years, all while working full time and raising a son.  She used the power of delegation to free up her time enough to allow her to attend classes three nights a week.

It’s a major cliche, but one that fails to resonate in the minds of so many.  Our attorney was 37 when she started law school, and when some people felt compelled to point out to her that she would be 41 when she graduated, she would just respond, “How old will I be in four years if I don’t go to law school?”  If only the tool-and-die maker had lived that philosophy.

As stated in my prior post, you have an hourly rate that should not be squandered.  That hourly rate can be immeasurable if by delegating house work, yard work and occasionally the child care to others, you free yourself to improve your situation.