Friday, February 22, 2008

Work Is For Money

Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is a great book.  

One of the concepts that has stuck with me since I read it years ago is the idea that work is for money.  In other words, you go to work to earn money, not for personal fulfillment.  In their words, there is no 'job charming' and so you should find something you like to do, and that maximizes your earning potential.

I think the reason this has struck me is that I think, to a certain extent, it is true.  
Not 100% true, not at all.  I know a lot of folks who have their dream job, they do what they love, they love what they do, and they would go to work whether they got paid or not.    That said, I'm not sure that all of them would go do that job on the schedule required of them, or as much as they do, and so on.  Maybe some would.  

I admire those folks.  I've found my passion - writing, but it may be a while before it is a lucrative, instead of merely enjoyable, pastime.  

For those of us who haven't found the way to make a living at something we love so much we would still do it unpaid, or haven't found a way to make a living at the things we love to do, there is our job.  Our career, even.  

I like my job. I'm pretty good at it, and I work hard most of the time.  I consider it a career, my first of what I hope will be a couple.  But if I didn't need to get up and go to work at that job every morning, I wouldn't.

I would trade my life energy - that limited amount we all have - for something else.  And that is the crux of the work is for money argument.  If you didn't have to, would you?  In my case, the work that pays me the most money I would give up.  Maybe not too quickly, I'm security conscious.  Eventually though.  

This is the idea that drove our 10-year plan.  It also makes it easier to get through the tough spots.  Work is for an end goal, which for us is financial independence.  It is a means to an end, not the end in itself.  And knowing there is an end date makes it even more freeing.  All we have to do is manage to maintain employment and do the best we can for the next 10 years an 10 months, and then we get to transition to what is next, which is a combination of some work and much more time.

There's only so much time we all have on this earth.  No one knows how much time is left on their life clock.  And while I like my nice home and stuff as much as the next person, there are other things that outweigh our desire for say, a flat screen TV.   That's not to say that we are becoming anti-materialist, certainly not.  One of our goals is to complete furnishing and renovating our home.  But there's only so much stuff that I'm willing to trade my life energy for.  
This is a hard concept for a reformed spender, and sometimes I ignore it for the immediate gratification of shopping.  But ultimately, I have to trade my life energy to earn that money, and that drives me to rank things by importance.  

And ultimately, adding years to that 10-year plan so I can have one more outfit is not the thing that rings my bells.

Work is for money.  That doesn't make work a bad thing, and it has a lot of good to it - food, shelter and so on.   But after that, how much you spend  = how much & how long you have to work. 

 And to me, it's just not always worth the money.

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