If you’re the average person with a full time job (40hrs/week) getting an average amount of sleep per night (7 hours), you’re spending approximately 1/3 of your waking hours at work. This is a substantial time commitment.
One third is a considerable portion of anything. If you’re saving a 33% on a purchase, you’re usually fairly pleased. If you’re spending a third of your money on something, it’s usually a something that’s quite important to you. If you’re spending a third of your weekend with someone, it usually means they’re pretty special to you (at that time anyway).
Our time is a very precious resource; once it’s gone there is no getting it back. Ever. There will never be another 1:47 PM on June 30, 2010. Or 1:48 PM… or 1:49 PM…
Given the value of our time and how much of it we spend at work, I thought I’d take a moment to break down employment situations and give my two cents on them.
The best of all worlds – making good cash and doing something you love. This, clearly, is the ideal. I understand why these people are in this position. It doesn’t get any better than this (other than being independently wealthy and not having to work at all).
Happy middle ground – making little cash and doing something you love. If you wake up every morning excited about what you’re going to be doing with your day, I’d say your ahead of the game. You’re following your passion, so it’s easy to forego some cash to do that.
Mostly happy middle ground – making good cash doing something that you tolerate. You’re not jacked about your job, but that’s probably the majority. At least you’re making good money for your efforts, which will allow you more freedom in the other 2/3 of your waking moments to do stuff you like to do. I’d put myself in this category at the moment, but I’m trying to move to one of the previous categories (preferably the first, but I’ll take the other if I can get it).
The dark side – making little cash and tolerating/hating what you do. This blows. There’s no better way to describe it. You wake up unexcited for or dreading the work day, and worst of all, you don’t get compensated well for it. You watch the clock when you’re at work and you’re on a tight budget outside of work. I understand that some people have no choice but to be in this situation due to the fact that said job is the only one that they could find at the time. Being in this situation is a necessary evil at some points in our lives (I’ve been there too). What I don’t understand are people who are in this situation and are doing nothing to try to change it.
I have numerous friends on the dark side, and many are not making moves to try to better either their enjoyment of work or their financial gain from work. Call me crazy, but why the hell not? At this stage, what do you stand to lose?
The issue is probably people’s propensity to stick with the devil they know. If what you have now sucks, what if the grass on the other side sucks even worse? That’s a scary prospect, but what you have to gain is either finding greater enjoyment in (or even loving) the 1/3 of your time that’s dedicated to work or having more cash so that you can feel more secure and have more flexibility in the other 2/3 of your time. Or you get a new job that lands you back on the dark side and you start looking again.
There are a ton of articles online about not settling for a partner who isn’t everything you want, but it’s time we all start looking at jobs in the same way. A partner is involved in the 2/3 of your life you’re not at work; why relax your standards in the other third?