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Apr 05

Why Do You Go To Work? Do You Have An End In Mind?


I love the movie Office Space.

It was a film that I watched just as I was starting off on my own in the world. As a baby bird newly flown from the nest, it hit me deeply as it portrayed everything that I had felt since I was a little kid. I have never worked in much of a cubicle office type environment, but that doesn’t matter as all I have ever wanted to do was “nothing” as Peter puts it the movie when asked what he would do if he had a million dollars.

Lawrence: Well, what about you now? What would you do?
Peter Gibbons: Besides two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Well, yeah.
Peter Gibbons: Nothing.
Lawrence: Nothing, huh?
Peter Gibbons: I would relax… I would sit on my ass all day… I would do nothing.
Lawrence: Well, you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he’s broke, don’t do shit.

Well, I wasn’t about to just mooch off someone else as human beings never truly appreciate anything given to them on a constant basis that they didn’t earn. It’s just part of our nature. I had to earn it while balancing it off somewhat with my desire to do “nothing.”

Now I don’t mean “nothing” in the sense of just sitting on my ass all day, but that it is completely up to me to decide what I want to do each and every day. So I could relax one day and work hard on a project the next. But since it is all for me, I can do it at my leisure. That is the goal; to have enough money coming in that I no longer have to work. To me, that is my freedom.

I know that my future was 100% in my control. It was up to me to determine it, no one else.

Since young me had this idea locked away in my brain since a young age, I had already started on my career that offered such a treat at the end – a pension. In addition to that, I would live simply and invest the difference. The future was bright and the goal in place.

But life has its ways to throw your plans off course.

I started seeing my friends or roommates spending habits and some brushed off on me. Then I got married to a woman who spent every dime I earned. I knew this path led to ruin, but I didn’t know how to stop. I was being pushed by everything around me.

But I remembered that these were all my decisions coming home to roost. I was always in control of it all, just as you are.

There is an old saying that the self-help gurus love to tell people. “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

I had hit my pain threshold. I was going to change my situation.

Seeing as my wife was not going to change, we went through the pain of a divorce. I started to find my way again. I started making progress towards my end goal. Luckily my initial efforts to my goal were still going, and I could continue to plant new seeds for the future.

So in a roundabout way I have told you why I go to work. Every day I inch closer to that pension, while living simply allows me to invest the rest. Slowly, piece by piece the two halves come together.


So why do you go to work?

Another quote from Office Space:

I don’t know, maybe it was just shock and it’s wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die – Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.

Money

Of course, I’m sure the top reason is money. For most of us, I’m sure that money is the only reason they show up each day. There are two types of people like this, the ones that have to do it and the ones that do it to the detriment of the rest of their lives. The first group dreads Mondays and the rest of the workweek, lusting for the always too short weekends – where they end up just dreading Monday again. The latter work extreme hours and are usually the most stressed. They probable have increased their cost of living to match any money coming in. Sky high credit card bills, new cars, fancy house – all because “they deserve it” for working such long hours. Funny, they are at work for more hours than they are at that fancy house. These people are owned by their things.


They Love Their Job

It’s called ‘work’ not ‘happy happy fun times’ for a reason. It is hard to fathom to me, but some people actually ENJOY their job. Not just a day here or there, but all or nearly all the time! They enjoy getting up early in the morning and navigating with the thousands of other commuters to the workplace. It is like some alien concept. I don’t know if they have been brainwashed or just have some easy, climate controlled job. But more power to them.


Socialization

I get this from my stay at home wife as she watches our child. She tells me she misses and wants to talk to other adults. I am not a very social person, and am perfectly happy staying in all weekend so I don’t much understand it. Luckily she has found a few friends and joined a few groups of mothers that seems to work in getting her need of socialization. As for the rest of us, work doesn’t have to be the place to get our friends from. I find that anyone from work that I hang out with out of a work setting just wants to talk about work, and that is something I try to avoid at all costs. Try to join a meetup group to find people with common interests.


It’s The Norm

Society expects everyone to work until they are in their late 60’s. I remember I was at a BBQ that was hosted by a new friend of my wife and I didn’t know anyone there. Well, it was mainly older people and the normal chitchat that comes from these situations, namely “What do you do?” I told them and added, “but I am going to retire in a few years.” Well, that brought on the next question “What are you going to do then?” To which I replied “Nothing. Whatever I want to do each day.” They shot back with “You need to do something, you are too young.”

Shoot, I thought the whole point was to retire. I thought that was the whole point of working. Why work 40+ years when you can do it in 20ish years or less if you focus on it? Heck I heard a story of a guy that retired forever in about seven working a job. Merchant marine, basically just worked those seven years straight living on ships, investing pretty much every penny. Hit his goal and never has to work again.


The times have changed and you are just a number to any company. They will drop you the moment it no longer suits them. You might think that being a top performer makes you safe, maybe it does – maybe not. Maybe someone will see you as a threat to their position and you will find yourself being let go. It happens.

Even if you love your job, things have a habit of changing on you. I would say at some point, even in a job you once loved, it starts to become less and less of a thrill. If you have built an expensive lifestyle that requires the constant input from your job, you have only built up a prison around you. You will have no choice but to follow the daily schedule as directed by your masters.

So whether you don’t like working or love it, living simply and having a large amount of money saved and invested popping off more cash every month or so is a great plan. It is a pretty good feeling to know you have enough money and could live 4 years without a job. Eventually, the pile-o-cash grows so much that you never have to touch the main pile, you are free from work.

Or don’t, stay in the maze if you want. Doesn’t bother me any.

But I don’t think that anyone has ever regretted becoming financially independent.


Leave a comment. Why do you go to work? Do you like your job?

 

Picture credits: Pixabay or 1 2 3

10 comments

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  1. Mr Defined Sight

    First of all, I love that movie!!!! I’ve seen it several times and I never get tired of it. There is probably a hidden reason for that. To answer the question, no I certainly don’t love my job. I am envious of those who do though. Just trying to build up various income streams so I can eventually leave it behind and do something else that I might enjoy more. You are correct about people just being a number to the company. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. The wheel keeps spinning regardless.
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Will Our Children Live a Better Life Than We Do?My Profile

    1. MrDD

      I think that not liking my job has been a great motivator to push to become financially independent. To finally one day be free of the burden of having to go to a job is one thing, but to get up every weekday and head off to a job you dislike is, in my mind, a much quicker way to figure out a way to not have to do that. Also, I think that those that love their jobs will one day be fed up with it. Either their boss changes, or their colleagues, or they just get tired of it all and they become one of us. One of us. One of us. ;-P

  2. Cody @ Dollar Habits

    I love this, Mr. DD! Count me in as another big fan of Office Space. I am guilty of quoting that movie more times than I’d care to admit. I am also in the camp of solely going to my job every day because of the paycheck. I have never loved any job I have had. They were all just a means to an end and now, I am working hard to change my means. I do, however, envy those who truly and purely love what they do for work. That would, in my mind, definitely help me cope with the heartache that comes with leaving my family every weekday to sit in traffic and commute to a job I dislike. Thanks for the really great post!
    Cody @ Dollar Habits recently posted…Adventures in Blogging – Part II (First Month Blog Report)My Profile

    1. MrDD

      Hey Cody, thanks so much for the positive comment. I have had the opportunity to switch jobs withing my career before, and there was one two year period as a controller that I didn’t mind my job at all! It was quite an amazing feeling actually. Too bad I haven’t been able to get a position like that again, although I have recently been given a similarish position so time will tell if I like it as much as the controller spot.

  3. Mustard Seed Money

    I definitely don’t love work. I would say I’m pretty neutral. I don’t mind it but there are things that I’d rather be doing. I have been investing as much as I can so that I’ll never work again and then sit on my butt doing nothing if I choose. Although I have a feeling that I’d probably get a little bored after a week or two.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Guest Post: Keys to Successfully Managing Student Debt After GraduationMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Oh man, if I don’t have to go to work I find plenty of things to do. Some are chores, others are things I find interesting. I always have some sort of side hustle that is getting me motivated and taking up all my time. Not to mention my growing family.

      I am in the camp of thinking that anyone motivated enough to retire early will always find something to do once retired that will keep them from becoming bored.

  4. Dave @ Run The Money

    Count me as another huge fan of Office Space. I saw this movie in high school and it pretty much solidified my hatred for the cubicle life. I didn’t have to actually work in a cubicle to know I hated working in a cubicle.

    Unfortunately, as I type this, I’m doing so from my cubicle at my wonderfully amazing and oh so incredibly boring auditing job. I always dread Monday morning, however, I have dealt with it better. We also lived beyond our means for a while, but have since righted the ship. So, I guess you could say we fit into both categories.

    My wife is a stay at home mother as well, so we share many things in common, Mr. DD. Most of all, our thought process. I will never understand people that like typical jobs. I just don’t see the excitement. They have their purpose in paying for my wife and son — and paying for us to have a great life.

    But, it is nowhere near what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have plans for my blog, Run The Money, and can hopefully use it to replace my income. We plan to pay off the house, invest in rental properties, and save at least a year’s worth of an emergency fund before I jump ship.

    I think it’s the waiting and unknown that gets to me most. But, we are working our plan.

    Great article. I always love talking about this and Office Space. Thanks for sharing!

    1. MrDD

      Hey Dave, thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful comment. I remember renting Office Space from Blockbuster, oh, about 17 years ago now. How things change…

      Ahh, the Monday. I couldn’t imagine doing it for another 30 years until ‘normal’ retirement age. It gives me the shivers.

      My wife sometimes asks me what day it is. That is what I want, for the day of the week to not really matter.

      I hope you surpass all your goals!

  5. Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds

    I’ve never heard of this film! I’ll definitely have to go and watch it now.

    I agree that society plays a big part in what we do – go to college, get a job, buy a house, work until you are really old. It’s nice to see people challenging that and focusing on early retirement – it’s something that I really want to promote as over here in the UK it’s just unheard of.

    1. MrDD

      Oh well, it’s definitely worth the watch!

      I used to live in the UK for 4 years, in Cambridge. I never heard any of my British friends talking about investing. I don’t think stocks are a big thing over there, and people over there accept real estate ROI’s in the 4-6% range as excellent! Those rates wouldn’t fly over here for most real estate investors.

      Not to mention the taxes take a big bite.

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