Your work could be killing you slowly from the inside out.
Have you sold your soul? You probably did at some point in your life. Perhaps you recall the time when you came to the realization that your wife was a sociopath and opting for a divorce would make it emotionally challenging for your kids. Or you recall the time when you listened to your parents to go to college and become an (fill in the blank) in order to be successful. Unfortunately, you realized that taking their advice makes them happy but leaves you with displeasure.
Those are just two of many examples but the most common example is the relationship between the employee and employer. A nationwide Gallup poll has found that only 30% of employees are happy in their careers. While there are more satisfied employees in the U.S. than most countries, 30% is still quite a low number. Can we solely attribute our government for this number? Most people would prefer to blame someone else because they fear to look in the mirror to see the real offender. They cannot accept the fact that they sold their soul for job security.
Do you know people who have been working for an employer for three, five, or even ten years? That’s employee loyalty if you ask me! We live in a society that values this trait as a factor to a successful career. However, most people fail to realize that an employee’s loyalty does not always equate to their happiness.
Some employees are trapped in their careers due to a fear of loss. Most of them enjoy their current salary and the lifestyle that it provides for them, which cripples them from moving on to a lifestyle of freedom. They may earn six figures but they have to work 60 hours a week in return. What’s the point of having a BMW if all you end up doing is driving it to work everyday?
What’s the point of having your dream home if you’re at the office most of the time? Their loyalty exists not because they love their job; it exists because their materialistic things numbs the pain and distorts the realization of their unhappiness. Yet, it’s never enough, which prompts them to buy more stuff in an attempt to fill their void.
Some employees are not currently fortunate to have high paying careers and believe that they don’t have any other options. One of their justifications sounds something like, “Hey, it’s my not ideal job but this is as good as it gets.” The sad reality is that most people living from paycheck to paycheck share this type of mentality. While they may hate their boss or colleagues, they continue to be loyal to the company because they don’t believe that they can do better in their financial life.
According to a Gallup survey, 42% of full-time employees work 40 hours a week, while 50% of employees exceed that amount. If we figure that most college graduates start their career by the age of 25, and work until 65, they will have worked for 40 years (or 14,600 days). I will be conservative and subtract two weeks from each year for vacation, which leaves 14,040 days left. Working 8 hours a day for 40 years is the equivalent of 12.8 years (or 13.4 years for millennials). So, they’re dedicating about 13 years of their life to a job that brings them misery and resentment. If you are among the 9-5 group, I think it’s worth asking yourself the following question: “Is it worth the sacrifice?”
Unless you’re one of the 30% who are happy in their careers, I would suggest that you reconsider your intentions. If you want to spend more time with your family, working from home can offer you that freedom. If you prefer to be your own boss, being an entrepreneur can give you that lifestyle. You may say, “Well, if I follow your advice, I’ll end up earning half of my salary at my 9-5 job, which doesn’t sound like a good idea at all.”
Perhaps that may be true, but let’s look at both sides of the coin. You can stay at your current job working 60 hours a week and continue to lack spending quality time with your family. Or you can become self-employed working in the comfort of your home, which will ultimately increase your quality time with your family. So, which is worth more, the thousands of dollars earned in lieu of the quality time with your family or the quality family time itself? If you do end up taking a pay cut, it’s not permanent. If sufficient preparation is made beforehand, the transition will be much easier. You’re not downgrading your lifestyle; you’re investing in the future of your lifestyle!
It is never too late to start over. Colonel Sanders didn’t allow old age to stop him. So, why should you? You can start reaching your finish line today!
Photo: Flickr/ Moyan Brenn