Boot camp time. I’ve had several conversations recently with folks regarding work, and I can’t help but suspect that there is some self-convincing going on.
They say things like “Oh, I like my job, I’ve just accepted that I will need to work for a long time” or “Yeah, I don’t mind working”. Often, these folks have taken out loans to buy depreciating assets, or regularly take expensive vacations.
They seem to have reached a certain “status quo” with their monetary inflows and outflows, and they have accepted that the cost of maintaining that status quo is devoting 40+ hours per week to working toward fulfilling someone else’s goals (that is to say, working at a job as an employee, presumptuously to progress someone else’s enterprise).
When I meet these people, (and you meet them quite regularly in HCOL areas) I can only think of one things… Really?
Really?… There’s nothing you would rather be doing for the next 40 years, than working at a job?
I mean, work is important. In many ways, we are made for work, and I would always advocate having some form of work to do, but there’s really nothing you would rather be doing, than working like you are now?
If the opportunity ever comes up to actually voice this concern (in a very gentle manner), the answer is inevitably “well, yeah, there are things I’d rather be doing, but I just can’t right now”.
I’m here telling you that yes, you can do something else. You can opt out of the lifelong grind of 9-5. You can say no to conspicuous consumption. You can pursue an “alternative lifestyle” that does no involve debt, spending, and a lifelong servitude to your employers.
It all start with admitting to yourself one simple thing. Yes, there are things I would rather be doing than working, no matter how much I like my job.
If you can embrace this single concept, it has the power to radically change your life. It radically changed mine. I decided several years ago that a life of eternal servitude was a wasted life indeed.
Even if you like your job, it doesn’t mean you need to do it for the rest of your life. Especially when other options are available. All it takes is realizing that yes, there are other things I’d like to be doing than working at this job.
Maybe you really really do like your job. Maybe it really is the only thing you want to be doing. Maybe you really do believe that it is the greatest and best use of your time. But alas, you would be wrong. It is not. I guarantee you that there are other things you would rather be doing than devoting 40+ hours per week to fulfill someone else’s goals. I’m tempted to suggest that if you are one of these people who really really like your job, and really do believe that there is nothing you would rather be doing, then at least do it for yourself, and not someone else; as in, do your job as a sole proprietor. But this is not always the right way to go – there are significant costs, both monetary and otherwise, that are associated with starting and operating a business. Whether or not your job is appropriate to be done as a sole proprietor is the topic of another discussion. For now, just consider that if you are really honest with yourself, there is something you’d rather spend the majority of your waking hours doing other than working at a job.
The greatest asset we have is time. Some of us have more than others, but we all have some. That time can be used to fulfil goals in two ways – by either doing something or doing nothing. The time will pass, and in the end, what will you really regret, and what will you not regret. I can’t answer the first question, but I can answer the second. You will not regret not working more. Work is not the answer to building a legacy or feeling fulfilled.
You don’t need to commit to anything. There is no “repeat after me” coming. All that I ask is that you admit to yourself that yes, there is something you’d rather be doing than working. Admitting that is a start to moving toward building a life and owning assets to allow you to find out what that something is. This is the first step. Join us in taking more small steps toward this goal. We’ll share them here in this blog. They may inspire you, or they may be worthless to you. All I hope is that they help you make steps, too.