Kwajilein here I come!!!

August 19, 2009 · 18 comments

If you’re like me, you’re scratching you’re head and thinking WTF. Well mi amigos, apparently Kwajilein is one of the freakin’ small islands within the Marshall Islands. Again, if you’re like me you’re wondering “Where the heck are the Marshall Islands?” A quick geography lesson shows that they are located between Hawaii and Australia. Check out the image below…

I got an email yesterday notifying me I’ll be heading there mid September through late October to do some work. I’ve never been off the North American continent so I’m excited to see what other parts of the world are like. A couple random things about Kwajalein (or as I like to call it “The Kwaj”)…

  • The population on the island is less than 1,000 people.
  • Bicycle is the primary mode of transportation as private vehicles are not allowed.
  • It’s 3.4 miles end to end and 0.62 miles at it’s thickest section.
  • The island is leased by the U.S.
  • The water has 100ft visibility and is 80 degrees….hell yeah!

Anyways, enough about where I’ll be, moving on to more important things… While I am there I will be working 8 hours of overtime a week. I have two options with the overtime I will accrue over the six weeks I’ll be there. Get paid for it (at time and a half) or bank it as paid time off. I’m a terrible decision maker, as noted in previous posts, and would appreciate your input.

Here’s how I think it would break down. If I take overtime pay for the 48 hours I will get paid $1,740 for that time. If I were to add it to my annual leave, I would get paid $1,162 for that time when I did take it off. Here’s a few of my thoughts: If I take the money, then I pocket about $1,218 of it after taxes. That’s a butt load of money to just pass up. If I choose time off I never get that $1,218, but I exchange it for 6 extra days off this year.

So what would you do? Imagine your boss says “Hey you, you can take a week off whenever the heck you want and get paid for it or I’ll give ya an extra paycheck this year.” Which one would you take. The personal finance side of me says take the money and run. The lazy ass in me says take a week off and get paid to do something fun. I guess this is another awesome dilemma to have, but any and all opinions would be appreciated.

1 S

Can you split it? Take 3 days as paid and 3 days off? This way you can take a really long weekend and have some moola to do something fun. If you can't split it, it kind of depends on how much vacation time you accrue. Could you use that time off to your advantage for something? Or maybe use the money to pay more student loan debt!

2 myprettypennies

First off: WOW! That's awesome you get to go there! Your job sounds so exciting! I want a job that takes me around the world!

Ok, the momentary jealousy is over. As for the decisions: Aren't you a government employee? Don't you guys usually get a lot of days off anyway? If you get around the average (2 weeks) then I'd probably take the time off. But if you get closer to a month, I'd probably take the cash. You can certainly do a lot with that $1200.

3 QL girl

About the money….if you take the extra time off, chances are you won't be sitting at home not spending money. You'll want to do something fun while you're off, leading you to spend money.

However, if you take the money….that's just money! You can either spend it, save it, invest it. It's your choice what do with it.

I'd take the money, obviously, but that's just me. (I'd use it to make a nice dent in my car loan!) That's also assuming you get enough paid time off as it is, and don't need extra days to take care of other stuff.

Have fun (as best you can while working overtime), and take pictures! It sounds awesome!

4 Donnie

Or, put it towards your student loans again, and save like, 6 months of payments!

6 months vs. 6 days!

5 Jessie

Personally I would bank the time and take it off… buuut, if you already have tonnes of vacation time, take the money!

6 stackingpennies

Financially, taking the cash is the better choice. But I'd take the PTO. :) I am always using up vacation hours and would love some extra days

7 Kyle

I would take the cash, I have enough leave as it is. Use it to pay off some debt or buy a new bike ;-)

8 Punch Debt In The Face

The decision is pretty darn close. I look forward to seeing what other commenters have to say! I'll let you know what I end up doing as soon as I decide! Keep em coming guys and girls.

I currently have 61 hours of vacation time and 110 hours of sick time available.

9 Jesse

Keep the money man, pay off your student loans or contribute to your IRA. My aunt used to teach English at one of those islands out there…pretty cool

10 calquist

Take the money. Time off is nice, but you won't have to worry about keeping track of it or losing it or something.

11 Jake Stichler

I'd take the money and run. Then again, I always get a ton of overtime, so I'm not really in the same boat as you.

Don't forget to find the two geocaches on the island while you're there!

12 me in millions

Do you have a specific purpose for the days off? I know that I hardly ever take days off because the work piles up while I'm gone. Would you use them or do you already get enough vacation time? Unless you have a specific need for more days off, I say take the money!!!!

13 Foxie | CarsxGirl

NICE! I'm so jealous of you people who get to travel for work…

Personally, I'd take the paid time off. Then again, I'm *always* wanting to go on trips to places, and I don't get much vacation time as is. (I'm using my first bit of paid vacation next month for three days. I'm excited!)

However, I say this because I decided this year to value my time more than my money, that I can always earn more money but I can't make more time. I prefer to have time to do the things I want to do than a boat-load of money to do it and zero time! Just me, though. :) It seems you've got plenty of time off it you don't have plans, so the money in this case might be the better choice. Just my $.02 of course, but you asked for it. ;)

14 negative_net_worth

I'd take the money in a heartbeat! But I already have a work environment where if I need an extra day or two off, I can figure out a way to take it. Either way, I'm jealous :) Have fun on your workcation. :)

15 Josh

Ninja, geez you're lucky. Would be awesome to get sent on a work trip to a far flung island, even if you do have to work overtime while you're there.

You won't be far from my place, you can see where I live on the map, in Queensland (Qld) Australia.

I reckon take take the time off option. You're doing well for yourself there, sticking to your budget, working toward your goals and you get paid well. You're obviously not desperate for the cash so take the time off and enjoy it. You're only young once bro.

16 SavingDiva

Sounds like an awesome place to spend a few weeks!

I would take the money and run…but then again, I'm a broke grad student!

17 Kim

I dont know how so many people have never heard of Kwaj. Then again, I was born and raised there!
Oh and I vote for taking the money. After all, you will be getting paid to live in tropical paradise. No cars, no crime. Crystal blue water. Hope you enjoy your stay.

18 Boss

I think it all depends on what money you may spend on that extra week off. If you were to splurge and go crazy then the time off would be counter productive.

Personally, I would take the money and use it to pay off debt and that means that when you work those 6 days more of that income is actually yours and not owed to someone else!

Have a great workcation!

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