Thursday, August 18, 2016

In the last job I worked-- a home improvement store-- one of the assistant store managers was a lady probably in her late 40's or early 50's. I recall her talking about her house. She mentioned getting new carpeting for this house.

No big deal.

 At another time she mentioned that it has three bedrooms that she doesn't even go into.


The revelations about the bedrooms came as part of a discussion of what it costs to heat and cool a home. And they bought this house not long ago.

On top of this, she mentioned that she would probably have to keep working until she is 80 to pay for this house. She was joking-- but not really.

So, while I don't want to stand in judgement of what anyone decides for themselves, I am curious why a person would make a decision that appears to have so little benefit. What exactly do you get from a big box that requires a regular mortgage payment, utilities for space you don't use-- not to mention the space that you don't use-- insurance and tax on such a princely estate, and let's not forget repairs and maintenance? The house alone sounds like a full time job.

Altogether, it's not just a question of what does it cost to run such a household? And not just in terms of money. How much time are you spending to earn the money to pay for a house that you barely use? And what else could you be doing with your time if you were not spending so much of it at work? People often say they enjoy their jobs, but do you really enjoy it that much?

Look, obviously I'm not the first person to ask these questions. I'm just one of the most recent. I would like to direct you to the book Your Money or Your Life.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin asked the same questions and offered a few ideas about figuring it out.

And just what would you do with your time if you didn't spend so much time at work?  You'd probably live your life. I work some, I have to. But I work so much less now. All the same, I'm busy from early in the morning until I finally crash at night. It's just that now, I'm doing things that are important to me-- things that make sense to me.  I'm working on my tiny. I look after my sister's kids. Once school is in session again and the tiny is built and I have more time, I have no doubt I will find more than enough ways to fill it, because much like my life when I was still working for "the man" I have this running list in my head of things I want to do when I have the time.  If all you do is sit around and watch TV when you don't have some regulated activity in front of you-- like going to work-- then you are in sad shape indeed.  I'm not saying that I don't watch TV. I may watch an hour long program to unwind before bed, but I don't spend the entire evening there, let alone the day time.

I recall working at a jewelry counter in the mall. I worked with a teacher for whom it was a little part-time after school job.  She was a single lady who didn't need the income. She just did it, she said, because she needed something to do after school.


I can think of hundreds of ways to spend my time if nobody is deciding that for me. If you can't then let me recommend Ernie J. Zelinski's excellent book The Joy of Not Working.

Alright, so that's my diatribe for today.  Stop working so hard for stuff you neither need nor use.  It's stupid. Decide what you really need and work for that, then you will have all you want to be really happy.

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