What Are You Working For?

There is a pretty pervasive narrative when it comes to people and their careers; essentially one should be working as much as possible for as much as possible. If you can live comfortably on a certain amount, you should still be pursuing more; the bigger house, the better car, the nicer clothes. You could always be more comfortable; ironically it is the very notion that keeps you trapped in discomfort…

Why is it that we work?

I think we’ve forgotten somewhere along the way, the original purpose of contributing to society. If our aim was to improve the quality of life for all then we are exceeding in all the wrong directions and failing in the process.

We now have the technology to work far less than historically might have been necessary and still produce, I mean let’s just be real, far too much. If everybody worked half as much, we would almost not even notice the impact of that shift in a material sense. Sure, they’d probably be less Garfield key-chains floating around dollar stores but people would easily have access to the things required for a comfortable life. And time to actually invest in it.

Why is it that you work?

On a personal level, I know many people are working towards a time where they won’t need to work. If our aim is to improve the quality of life for ourselves (and our family), why have we devalued time today so heavily in favour of a future we might be incapable of fully living and the trinkets of “success”. What if there was time already in existence that you didn’t need to work? Is all the hours that you currently work really best spent by working?

How little value have you actually given your time when you consider the amount you’ve traded for your house? Your car? Your clothes? And what of things lower down your list of priorities that you’re still spending just as much of your time to acquire? Is it actually worth it?

How did you determine your hours committed to work? Were you ever even really a part of that decision?

Are you simply tolerating what society has decided is required of you? And then living to whatever figure that produces?

If you’ve not considered questioning the 40hrs demanded of you then the only way to boost the worth of that time is to increase the amount somebody is willing to pay you for it. But what you can spend that money on is limited, there is only so much you can buy; money’s value is relative.

Sure, there are things we do need and there are things we really want. But what about beyond that? Does continuing to push for more when your priorities are covered still make sense?

Where is the point when your time is the more valuable choice?

What if you asked yourself how much you (and your family) actually required? And then worked in line with that figure?

How different would the answer be? How different would your life look?

The ever-lasting pursuit of a generalised “more” is an unfulfillable brief. Is “more” what you really need or want?

What are your priorities? What is important to you? Where do you want to be investing?

Contentment inspires an existence where your time and money are being used to their highest value. Where is your contentment?

What are you actually working for? Is it working?

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7 Comments

  1. I like this! I am currently working 30 hours a week instead of 40 because we realized that this was enough to pay our bills (and put my husband through school) and at the same time gave us the flexibility to always have the kids at home with one of us instead of at a daycare we could barely have afforded anyway (since there are three of them now under 4). I love my job and how I can contribute to society through it, but I also love my family, and by stepping away from the expected norm of 40 hours a week I was able to find a better balance of those two things for myself in this season of life.

  2. I know, right? My husband and I spent the last 7 years working toward NOT working. He worked 8-5 and pushed to be able to work from home while I found us a smaller, cheaper house to live in, started investing our newfound savings in rental properties. Now here we are, comfortably retired in our early 30s, and able to spend all day with our children and travel whenever and wherever we’d like. We still live in that little house and we share one car, but we get to actually raise our children and have fun before we’re old.

  3. My step-dad worked like crazy from the time he left university to when he retired. He barely saw his kids grow up, he barely got time to enjoy the world, he basically lived at work or in his office. He’s retired now, he’s a wealthy man. He has a number of medical conditions that prevent him from enjoying his retirement to its fullest. His kids still resent him for not being there when they grew up.

    I’m not sure what he achieved, but whatever it is, I don’t want it.

  4. Great article. My partner & I have hit the road full time and only work a little online to cover our expenses. It is amazing how much you don’t need when you make the conscious decision to LIVE your life rather than WORKING your life. We are now continuing to find ways to reduce our working hours.

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