Why do we work? Around the holidays, with a chance to take a break, spend time with family and reassess our lives, we look to the New Year with resolutions, expectations and a fair amount of anxiety. We spend so many hours of our lives at a job that once in awhile we may ask: “What’s the point?” Turns out, all of our gift buying this time of year offers one very tangible answer. According to a Gallup Poll, spending on holiday gifts in the U.S. reached an average of $830 per person in 2015, and 30 percent of respondents spent more than $1,000. That figure is up 35 percent from $616 in 2008. The key question: How many days, hours, even minutes does it take to earn those bits of holiday joy for friends and family?

Using an enormous database, Korn Ferry Hay Group made a rare and detailed assessment to answer that question. With information on more than 20 million jobholders in 24,000 organizations across more than 110 countries, the company has compiled a chart with several job titles at various salary levels and calculated the time it took each to earn what it costs to buy a wife those beautiful Tiffany earrings, or a husband a Fitbit sports watch, or a teenage son a trendy Element skateboard. Obviously, one jobholder’s time frame is going to be a lot different from another’s. So the hope is to spur some conversation about compensation, while toasting yet another year of holiday cheer.

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