Another Brick In The Wall

When I first started working, back during the American Revolution, my employer presented me with a check on a weekly basis. I always looked forward to those days. I know it’s a foreign concept today but I was actually handed a paycheck which I brought to the bank, deposited a certain amount and took the rest in cash. There was a sense of accomplishment or pride when I received that check and having cash in my pocket was always a pretty cool thing.

Some time after that, direct deposit came along and I have to say I resisted for a period of time. It’s not that I didn’t think it was good idea, it’s just that I didn’t want to give up the control or ritual of receiving a check and doing my weekly thing at the bank. I probably relented some time before direct deposit became mandatory for all employees, but not too much before. Receiving a pay stub listing all your deductions is just not the same as holding an actual check, but things change. I get it.

Recently, the town where I do some substitute teaching has taken it a step further, as I’m sure other companies have. My check will continue to be deposited directly into my account but I’ll no longer be receiving a pay stub. Instead, I’ll have to go to an online site and look up that information to see if I was paid correctly.

Again, I understand the evolution; it saves trees and postage, it saves time and hours and it’s more efficient. But understanding doesn’t mean I automatically break into my happy dance.

About a year ago, I was speaking to someone my age who was staring at his pay stub and shaking his head. Like me, he wasn’t happy about not receiving a check. He said it almost felt like he was working for nothing and if they ever eliminated the stubs he would end up retiring.

My guess is his retirement papers have already been submitted.

 

49 thoughts on “Another Brick In The Wall

  1. Holly'sMom

    I agree with you! Though most of my employment I have received direct deposit, it was and is nice to physically hold that check in your hands. To read that print right before your eyes, rather than having to log into a computer to see it. And sometimes not just log into a computer, but also log into an account to see it. You know, we may understand it’s progress, but sometimes, just sometimes I tend to wonder is it really progress, because sometimes it’s a pain in the butt to log into something to see what is mine. πŸ™‚

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  2. Jodi

    I don’t miss the checks. Seems so much more convenient this way. I did chuckle at your blog post title though, as I just heard that Pink Floyd song this morning with my son as we were driving back from the gym. Hadn’t heard it in years. And we both sang the words! LOL! πŸ™‚

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    1. George Post author

      I agree… much more convenient and easier. I just miss the instant gratification, I suppose. But it does make sense to do it this way.
      That’s a great song…hard not to sing along with it. Sometimes I just hit the repeat button on my phone when I’m walking…:)

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  3. Carrie Rubin

    You’re right–direct deposit isn’t as satisfying as holding a check in our hands. But the not having to go to the bank is a nice perk, and no pay stubs means less clutter. But yes, a check in the hands is nice. πŸ™‚

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  4. Flop til you drop "FTYD"

    Okay, I’m still having a difficult time with this. Not for the reason you necessarily stated, but because people’s records keep getting HACKED and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an e-mail stating they had someone get into their database, etc. I was always relieved I had opted out of direct deposit and they didn’t have my bank info. My last staffing agency desperately tried to get me to opt for this transaction and I said NO. Surely enough, about 6 months later, a mass e-mail goes out to all their contractors indicating they had a security breech. (WTH, I knew it). So, recently, I’m doing some data entry for a friend and he only has 5 employees and everything we do is remote (we work at home) and his only way to pay is via direct deposit and no stub, view online. It is MUCH easier, but because my amount varies each pay period, I was worried about ensuring I knew the amount each time for balancing my “check book.” Luckily, the online balance is pretty easy to access. I just hope his firewalls are good. However, he’s an IT guy (he knows what he’s doing) with only 5 employees, so he won’t really be a target. It’s these bigger companies, and less than honest employees that sometimes are to blame. That is what happened at the staffing agency. An unauthorized person had access to everyone’s bank info. (yikes)

    On this note: When my daughter was 3 years old, she had surgery on her herniated belly button, and that surgeon traveled between two of his offices and for whatever reason, had her file in his car (in nice briefcase) – left it in his car and someone broke in and stole his briefcase (looking for money, cell, and probably looking for quick cash.) The police ended up finding the stuff by a garbage bin and our file had a credit card number, and my daughter’s social security number (to this day, I’m still worried about identity theft for her.)

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    1. George Post author

      I can’t argue that point at all and I think it’s a concern for most people. Hoping for the best and keeping your fingers crossed your life doesn’t come apart because of some ass who wants to hack and have some fun with his free time. All these technological advances are great…online payments, purchases, etc. but they all come with a risk that no one can really protect us against.

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  5. Helen Devries

    In my student days I worked at a racing stable…we were paid on Friday, with the cash and a pay slip in a small brown envelope.
    I still remember the sheer pleasure of having cash in my hands!

    I refuse to pay anything by direct debit after experiences in France…and pay as much as possible in cash. Given the way that banks have been behaving for the last twenty years or so I dread the day when all goes electronic.

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    1. George Post author

      But that say is coming, isn’t it. And soon. Like you, I remember working part time for someone who paid me the same way, in cash. That was a great feeling..:)

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  6. vanbytheriver

    I’ll go back even one step before your American Revolution. ☺ I remember my first real factory job where I was paid in cash, small brown envelope every week. There is something real and tangible that we are missing out on today, George. I get it. πŸ’–

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    1. George Post author

      Yep…I had the same cash payroll experience in a job while I was still in school and it was a great feeling to open up that envelope each Friday..:) it’s hard to explain to anyone who’s never experienced it. I understand these new payroll methods and they make logistical sense. Still…..:)

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  7. Kate Crimmins

    It’s been decades since I had a live check and I don’t miss them. The banks had peculiar hours (oddly the same ones that I worked) and when I did go the lines were long (and I was always in the one that didn’t move). I did a happy dance with direct deposit. At that time there was no hacking. Now I get my social security check direct deposited and I hope for the best.

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    1. George Post author

      I get the convenience of direct deposit and I came to embrace it. But technology scares the heck out of me when it comes to banking and personal security. For all they do to try and protect us, if someone wants to turn your life into a ball of confusion, there’s not much we can do to prevent it.

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  8. In My Cluttered Attic

    I know what you mean, George. There is no feeling better feeling than the feeling of having cold hard cash in the palm of your hand. That’s why I gave up on casinos when they decided to replace cash with a voucher! Bye-bye to the sweet sound of loose change (never a life changing amount) dropping coming out of those one arm bandits. πŸ˜€

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    1. George Post author

      I used to love that sound! Even if you won 20 dollars, the sound made everyone take notice. Now there’s just the arid smell of smoke in quiet casinos. What’s that all about?

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  9. Kim Gorman

    Wow, I’ve been getting my paycheck direct deposited so long without a pay stub that it never even occurred to me I could be getting paid incorrectly. I wouldn’t even know where to look for my pay stub. Thanks for the inspiration to find this out.

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    1. George Post author

      I think some people do fall into that trap of taking for granted checks are always correct but if your check has the potential of being different every pay period it’s important to take a second look..:) I’m sure it’s fine.

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  10. Carol Ferenc

    Oh, yeah, the good old days! Despite the convenience of direct deposit, getting that paycheck to cash was always the best feeling. Ever heard of country-western singer Johnny Paycheck? I rest my case.

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  11. Nirodaigh

    I have always had my salary paid directly into my account but appreciate the sentiment! Nowadays we seem to pin for everything, and I wonder when real cash will simply vanish (ghastly thought). Only last week my sister and I reminisced about the sheer joy we experienced as children from getting a six-pence piece into our greedy little hands, and how much we could buy in the local sweet shop from it! Yikes. Of course there is more convenience but we have certainly lost some good, old fashioned pleasures along the way.

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    1. George Post author

      Yes we have and it’s hard to relate that feeling or sentiment to those who never experienced it. I’m sure cash will become obsolete very soon. Imagine all the children whose experience of going to the sweet shop will now include a debit card..:)

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      1. Nirodaigh

        Oh it is indeed. I tried by giving my children small weekly amounts of pocket money when they were small, which they do still recall (and enjoyed) but it is a passing thing. We are already racing “into the future” on so many levels, not all good I fear. Oh well. Gotta stay positive too.

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  12. joylovestravel

    Working as a student I got paid by cheque in a brown envelope – oh the thrill of that!! It wasn’t very much but the it was the highlight of the week – I saved the little envelopes for years!!

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  13. Ann Coleman

    I agree completely! There’s a real sense of reward in being handed a paycheck, and a sense of control in taking it to the bank to deposit it. I know that direct deposit saves us a trip to the bank, but it also makes our reward more abstract. I’ve also subbed at our local school district, and I hated it when they stopped even giving us the stubs. I had to go on line, hope the site was working (it often wasn’t), remember my password, etc., just to see if they had paid me what I was due. It seemed to me that the new system put all the responsibility to make sure I was paid on me, not the school district.
    And then there’s the whole matter of having all my personal and banking information online, where it can be hacked. I am so tired of everything being done online, having to remember two or three dozen passwords, and then those dreaded notices that there’s been a security breech, and then we have to close a credit card account, change our bank accounts, etc. Call me an old crab, but I fail to see this as a good thing! And now I’m off to start my day, drawing water from my well, milking my cow by hand, chopping some firewood to heat my house…….LOL!.

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    1. George Post author

      LOL….you know this could be your own post. I couldn’t agree more with what you said and your last sentence was hilarious! I laughed through this whole response. You should write more comedic posts…:) You’re very funny.

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  14. DailyMusings

    There is something about having that check in your hand- but I have found when I log into my bank account online and see the deposit I always smile at how it seemingly miraculously landed in there, with no effort on my part- and now my bank balance has risen immediately! πŸ™‚

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  15. Nancy

    I am with you 100% on this one, George, but we are the minority. Everyone at the school where I work, except me, has direct deposit. I refuse to give up that paycheck. When it all happens online, I don’t feel like I really got paid. I like to have that cash in my hand. I still write all my bills by hand too. It’s time consuming but I hate having more of my info floating around in cyber space than is necessary. I guess it’s a control thing too. Maybe I should head out to milk my cow now, like Ann…πŸ˜‰

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