Why having a job is a bad financial decision

“The starting point of all achievement is desire”
Napoleon Hill

 

Do I honestly believe having a job is a bad financial decision? For a few people people no. Having a job is the only option if you are afraid, incompetent and lazy. For anyone else especially readers of this blog I would say – absolutely I believe a job is a awful financial decision. It’s also a terrible happiness strategy to boot!

In a nutshell I feel like jobs are stupid and possible outdated now.

Why would any capable person voluntarily cap their income? Work harder – get paid the same. Create massive profit or value for your company – get a 2% raise. How is this a good financial decision? Seriously?
Why would any capable person pass their economic future over to a company to manage? A company could fire you whenever they can get the same value from someone offshore for less money. Jobs are not a financial security plan.
Why would a capable competent person put up with the boredom of a 9 to 5 for a paltry economic return when they could potentially make double the money with half the effort in half the time?
Why would anyone continue to trade their time for money when we now live in a world where that model is fast becoming obsolete?

If you are lazy, stupid and scared then the 9 to 5 grind is for you.

However, if there is even an ounce of spark left in you then chose the hustle and give yourself a shot at the life and freedom you deserve. The hustle is the only sane reaction to one’s financial needs. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter if you just need to feed yourself or if you also have children to feed.

The choice is to settle for the crazy financial situation of a job or quit that crap job to go get’r done chasing a dream (which in my opinion is a far more rational approach to the problem of making money in this world!).

Simplify your life: Discover 4 simple things you can change right now


“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence”

Norman Vincent Peale

 

Is your life a stressful hot mess right now?

If the answer is yes you are not alone.

Our modern lives are so fast paced, pressurized and over scheduled that few people cope elegantly.

I often hear people talk about gaining work-life balance. Really there is no work or play or study. Just life in disguise and so you have to enjoy all of your moments whether they are labelled work, play or education.

Starting today I urge you to commit to four simple habit changes that can dramatically improve the quality of your experience.

Number one – don’t live in your inbox

Your email and phone messages should not run your life. You are the scheduler of your life not some external person. If you react to every email and text the instant it lands you are giving control of your life to a remote person. It’s like you are voluntarily becoming the TV in the corner and their device is the remote that turns you on and flips your channels! Turn off notifications and program 1-3 times a day that you will check your messages. This puts you in charge of the information rather than letting the notifications shape every moment of wakefulness.

Change Two – find the fun or the funny side of every experience

The things that grind on us tend to do so because of the mental lens we cast over them.

Years ago I took a leaf out of the famous Farside cartoonist Gary Larsen’s life and never looked back.

Gary worked in a boring lab job.

To add some humour he began writing one single stanza cartoon per week and posting it on the noticeboard.

After a few years a colleague bundled his cartoons up and pitched a book deal to a publisher.

The publisher loved Gary’s work and signed Gary into a two or three book deal. This resulted in him having to scale from one cartoon per week to two per day seven days per week. He stressed because his initial reaction was that he wouldn’t be able to come up with enough ideas, but then he started searching for the funny in life and he found boat loads.

He later reminisced that the lab job was actually a very comical place to work. He commented that it was originally a boring job for him because his focus was on the mundane and dull elements of his work.

The moral for me is no matter where I am, who I’m with or what we are doing I am looking for the funny side. This is a simple game changer that you can action right away.

Three – Schedule free time

Take glimpse at your month. Pick one thing on your calendar, preferably reoccurring, and cancel it permanently. Don’t sweat it if it’s something for your kids like their piano, soccer, karate or elocution lesson. Pick one that is least important to you, to them, and that creates the biggest hassle in your life and dump it. In place leave a gaping nothing in your calendar. No programmed meeting or activity. When the time rolls around do whatever you think will make the greatest positive impact on and your families wellbeing and happiness and do it.

Repeat this process over a couple of months until your life regains a sereneness that it mas missing when your event calendar was chocka.

Fourth (and finally) – gain distance from mind, body and worldly phenomenon

This is going to take a bit more focus than the other three, but I figure if you’ve read this far you are up for some crunch peanut butter.

First relax on purpose.

David Cain calls this ‘becoming a good passenger’. The theme here is to find some space between your mind, your body, the events that happen, and the observer that watches the experience play out.

Bringing awareness to this concept makes it part of your focus and by doing so you can gradually gain a sense of separation between you and the experience that is happening to you.

It’s like watching a TV show. At times you may feel invested. Something might happen to a character on the screen and you cry.

This is mostly how we live.

Other times you watch with distance and are able to maintain the separation from you and the drama played out on the screen.

Seek out the second experience where you watch the drama dispassionately.

It’s not hard to experience life in this way, but I’m not sure I’ve described it succinctly.

It’s like being able to see your body, it’s interactions with the world and the phenomenon that arise as something you are observing from a hiding place rather than as the involved agent actively engaged in as a participant.

If you can pivot your experience in this direction doors open and deep understanding is accessible.

Fundamental to this way of being is an unearthly stillness or a reassuring calmness that life is all okay and that you have untapped capability to deal with whatever may arise.

If other parts of your life are being simplified, why not spring clean the weeds from your consciousness?

The Penniless Aristocrats Guide to Being Broke as a Joke


“You have to go broke three times to learn how to make a living”
Casey Stengel



If you have the courage to choose the simple life you might have the pleasure of experiencing life without money. I’m not being sarcastic when I say pleasure either.

Hopefully you won’t find your new broke status depressing. Being broke is relative and it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. For example if you are reading this then chances are you are in the top 10% of the World’s wealthiest people. Think about that for a second.

I’ve always maintained that there is nothing wrong with being broke, but there is a gigantic problem if you are depressing or even worse if you are boring to be around.

Trust me, you can have a lot of fun being broke. Especially if your time is your own!

You can make great art, have great sex, and have stimulating conversations with people you normally have no time for. You can play with your kids, spend time with your Mother. You can run. You can read and above all you can be joyous.

It’s all your choice.

I was never happy in my life as a freshly minted corporate mind slave. You can’t experience corporate cowardice everyday without it rubbing off on you. The childish behaviour of corporate life. The parental conversations with an arsehole Boss. The powerlessness and the feelings of helplessness in the face of corporate stupidity. All while trying to stay under the radar of the corporate knife forever looking to make some poor schmuck redundant.

By having the courage to ditch that shitty part of my life I found the key to enjoyment of life.

Freedom.

The freedom to be my own man. The opportunity to carve my own path at whatever time I chose to start in the morning. No more evil alarm clocks or hotel wake up calls from synthetic humans.

By waking up to the madness and crafting a different life experience I have gained the time to find the fun in life that I lost after my University days.

Being broke is not ideal, but just because you are broke it doesn’t mean you have to be boring or depressed. If you find yourself broke it’s a signal to unlock your creativity, to free your spirit, to rise up to the challenge. Trust in providence and stay the course. Things are all going to work out so you may as well adopt the mindset of the penniless aristocrat and have as much fun as you can along the way.

Just because you are broke it doesn’t mean you need to be boring.

Providence, joy and the gift of work

“Work is the joy in returning one’s gifts to the community”

Matt Fox

Mostly we have the wrong view of money.

We are encouraged to think about money as a means of enabling barter. Something of worth that can easily be stored and translated into a positive future outcome. But, we must move away from this thinking and recognize that fiat money has no true value. We must see money for what it is. Money is Debt. In striving to accumulate money we incur more future debt than the amount of money that we are ever likely to have. In this way we become betrothed, beholden…enslaved…

If every debt in the world were paid back today there would not be enough money in existence to complete the exercise.

Once money is seen as debt and debt is understood as a loss of life and freedom then our interactions with money must change.  It follows that our wrong view of money leads to our wrong view of life. That our life is our work. The mistake is understandable, but it is still a mistake!!

Instead of doing what we otherwise would (returning our gift) we do tasks that are so stupid, so pointless and so boring that no fool would do them in the absence of a monetary payment. We prostitute our talents and trivialize ourselves all the while distracting ourselves from stumbling upon our true calling.

Finding your unique individual gift is very hard. This is not because it requires hours of introspection and a deep self knowledge or anything like that. It is hard to find because it is usually hiding in plain sight. Our gifts reside in our pleasures our hobbies and our passions. It’s just that we are almost never thinking vocation during recreation.

If finding our gift is hard, harder still is having the courage to place our trust in providence and forge the untraveled path.

This path may well be un-monied, but notice how fellow travelers appear rich beyond bounds. Contrast this with those still stuck in the traditional career and let your heart not your head set your compass for the future.

The triggers for transforming your roof into a part-time job

“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun”

Ralph Nader



Our house is old. Over a hundred years. We need a new roof. That will cost about $60,000 for labour and materials. Less if we did it ourselves.

I’ve had a holding treatment on our roof. It consists of found roofing iron and car inner tubes. The car tubes will give 3-5 years life before they perish if you paint them and use the right adhesive.

But whatever cheap innovation, or temporary solution we can’t escape that we need a new roof. No doubt about it, but I am not going to buy a roof. I am going to buy a farm that generates an income. See there are new solar panels out now that double as the waterproofing. Before you needed the roof then the panels on top now you can get a product that does both.

We estimate that this will cost us $100,000. We have also estimated that this should generate about $650 per month. Less what we pay on power ($80-150) and that’s over $6000 per year income after paying our energy bill. $160,000 over the life of the roof plus free electricity during this period. The panels have about half the effective life of roofing iron, but they pay themselves back around the mid point in their life. This doesn’t take into account escalation. If the price of power goes up so does our income.

One trigger to consider…

Is this a good use of $100,000?

$6000 per annum on $100,000 is only 6%. We could get a better return than that on a number of alternative investments, but the net return on investment ratio is 1.5/1. Meaning by the time we need the next roof as pensioners we’d have the cost plus a large additional deposit that would have been earning interest for 15 years.

Even if we sold our house the income from farming sun would be a significant factor in the resale price. The only problem….when is the best time to buy technology?

Well it is always next week. Technology will be better and prices will be cheaper…

Still I’d rather have an income producing roof and free time to a traditional roof and enforced economic slavery of another part-time job!

Smile laugh and keep on trucking

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Sometimes you get treated like shit at work. There doesn’t seem to be any relationship between how much you are paid and how many shit sandwiches your employer serves you. The natural reaction is to become annoyed or angry. Most people have to swallow their pride, calm down and quietly get right back to work. Its hard to find another job and its always better not to do anything rash.

About now you’re probably expecting a story about me telling a former employer to stick it. Sure I’ve done that, but that’s not the message. I try hard to avoid negativity. Negativity is inevitable and without experiencing fear, anger or sadness we could never really know joy, bliss or happiness. That said their is no point courting negativity. The environment we live in will programme our minds unless we consciously do it ourselves.

So when something riles me (usually work politics) instead of flying off the handle I find some distance. I examine my rage from a dispassionate 3rd party perspective. Almost like the anger is happening to someone else. Rage is a blinding emotion so this takes practice and maybe some help to trigger yourself into another reaction to anger.

In my experience I usually laugh. Most situations that enrage me are totally trivial. I don’t really care about the situation. I’m not really personally invested in it say in the same way that I might be if I owned the cafe rather than work in it. Getting some space between yourself and the anger lets you see how silly it all is. You also get the choice of moving on and forgetting it. Living with the moment instead of having your day ruined and then taking it home with you to infect your family that night.

Emotions are like a virus in that they like to leap from person to person and feed off them. I choose to infect people around me with happiness. I’m attracted to joyous people and happy environments. If I find myself in negative spaces I take it as my personal mission to cultivate enthusiasm, lightness and fun. I want to have a positive experience on people around me and I can’t do that if I allow myself to be captivated by purposeless emotional responses like anger.

Anger is our response to either frustration or a personal threat. There is no need to be frustrated. There are infinite means to achieve an objective. Likewise their is no actual danger. No real personal threat. Most workplace threats are benign. The personal threat is mind created and carries no element of physical danger.

So smile, laugh and keep on trucking my friend!

The Idlers Guide to Unjobbing

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”

George Carlin

  People are either fascinated by my attitude to work or they find it abhorrent. I prefer to spend my time with the first group :). My personal experience has led me to conclude that paid work for big corporations or big government is unfulfilling and pointless. We only do it because we are paid and if we weren’t nobody would volunteer. But, what are the alternatives to the career salary – really? We all must suffer work my lovely Mother tells me. It is just how the world is. Most interesting to me is the observation that almost all of my colleagues, my friends, my family and pretty much every casual acquaintance that I meet moans about how much they hate their boss, their job or their company. The interesting bit is that very few people question the basic assumption that they are trapped in some form of salaried work. Too many people I fear unquestioningly accept that their job = their life. What if they just stopped turning up at their job? Could they find a way to feed their families? Ye Gods how to pay the bills! What might happen in the future without the security of the salary? So generally we don’t question our lot in life. We trudge on in our unhappy morning march to the office. We don’t seek alternatives. We completely ignore more exciting possibilities. I am here to tell you that there are ways to restructure our life and the only way to live contentedly is to align ourselves with  labours of love. Now I am not about to give you an exact guide specifically describing how you will unjob yourself, but I believe that I can share with you a few keys to the locks that bind you in subservience to the petty demands of your corporate overlords. We matriculate to safe, steady jobs because we are afraid and it is the fear created by the company that keeps us there and working hard without much supervision or the need for physical coercion. It is principally our fear of being fired that leads us to meekly suffer the indignities of the career. Our fear of the future is also an unnecessary anchor that ties us down in boring work. Because we are afraid (taught and constantly reminded) it will be better to dip our toes into unjobbing before going cold turkey. Far less of a shock than leaping off the cliff. By that I mean keep your job, but while you are still employed try your hand at every cottage industry that excites you. Make your Grandma’s secret recipe jam and sell it at the craft market on Saturday. If demand exceeds supply quit one day of salaried work to pick, boil and jar. Teach night school to adult learners on topics you are passionate about (playing the guitar, photography for beginners, vegan cookery). Forget whether or not you are qualified to teach. If you love it and spend lots of time doing it you will be an engaging teacher that delivers value to your students.

So Key One: Build up to a river by monetising your passions. Get out of the habit of thinking large single income. Instead think about creating small streams of income that combine to form the river you require. Use your money to create money and turn your mind to finding fun ways to get paid to play. I have found that I don’t care that I get paid below minimum wage teaching children how to surf in summer. I would do it for free. The fact I am paid is all the merrier. For me the test on unjobbing yourself is that you find it hard to decide where your life stops and your work starts. In growing surplus vegetables and seedlings I gain food for my family, a small income from my neighbours and all while enjoying the outdoors, pottering about, and caring for my children. Children love dirty hands!

Key Two: Pick the appropriate financial scale for your ventures Wh atever endeavour you engage in look to thoroughly test it. Test, test, test. Never stop testing it for free (or at very low input cost) before sinking your life savings. In fact I strongly support notable economist E.F Schumacher’s contention that individuals should have the means to create sustainable income on the equivalent of a year’s salary. What that means is that you should only start up your own business (a café, a digital photo printing booth, or a mountain bike guiding company) by spending no more than the take home earnings that you would receive in a single year from your current salary. Any venture bigger than that is beyond your current means and is not worth the risk.

Key Three: Start small and prove to yourself that unjobbing is viable Next point. You don’t need to completely forgo your career. I have enjoyed being part-time while unjobbing. I get a nice salary. I don’t get pulled into most of the corporate bullshit and because I am not a full-timer I seem to have escaped extra duties as I have shown no interest in the dangling carrot (promotion) and the empty promises therein.

Key Four: It is very hard until you right size your desire Be thrifty and minimalistic. Forfeit your material desires. At the core of simple living you must learning to be a peace with yourself. Happiness comes inside out not outside in and that nothing out in the world will compensate. If you really adopt this view then your cost of living and hence the money that you need to find each week is quite manageable.

Key Five: You will work longer and harder for way less money, but trust me it is worth it! No doubt it sounds like I recommend giving up an easy and secure salary to work 12 hours in menial low paid work. Well this is true, but for much of my day my work is my play and my play is my work. For example: Would I get on my mountain bike and drop off some rock for free? Absolutely! The fact that it was captured by a photographer taking shots for a magazine (riding technique article) is just good life management in my opinion. If his images ever sell I will receive a royalty. The other 99% of the riders in the park, many far better looking and more skilled than I, go unpaid for their fun. The difference is that I am inquisitive and I made a few phone calls to mates of mates. Do I make money from this regularly? Well no, but my availability is a big draw card for this cameraman and I guess that my rates are far lower than other non-celebrity professional bike models (if such people exist). I garden and make money. I don’t garden for money. Same thing with my bike. So my advice – start small, ease in gently. Keep your job as you unjob. Look at the things that you love to do and see if you could find a way to be paid for them. Explore your social networks.

Key Six: Agree to offers. Figure out how to do it later. Most of all agree to do things that there is no reasonable basis for you to take on and then learn how to do them later. I meet many people that I am certain are capable of doing any number of things better than me. The difference is that I am out there doing them while they are worried about what people might think of them if they fail.  I fail plenty, but I wake the next morning to new possibilities and a clear conscience. Failure is just learning in drag. As I said your path to unjobbing will be unique. To help in that process of discovery here are some of the things I’ve made money from in the couple of years. Please don’t ask about paying tax! Yet more robbers at our door!

Teaching: Woodwork, Office Suite, Surfing, Basic Bike Mechanics and Skills, Public Health (part of practicum at a med school)

Nature: Vegetables, Fruits, Native bushes, Trees, Plants, Chutney, Jam, Seeds  

Hobby Jobs (employed and self employed): Civil Engineering office based, Cafe Hand, Labourer (carpet laying and electrical work), Handyman (embarrassingly poor one indeed), Child Minder (since I do it for free anyways), Bike Mechanic/Shop Assistant, Graphic Designer, Technical Writer, Bike Courier, Model (of sorts!), Fruit Picker, Holiday Home Cleaner (free long weekend accommodation at holiday destinations – yippee), Landscaping, Planner (Transport), Painter, Gibstoppers assistant, Personal Trainer (run morning boot camps, teach running biomechanics etc).

Investment: Rental Income, Dividends from stock, EFTs, Interest on cash and term deposits. Prior to this small business holdings.

Other stuff: Event Management, Marshaling, Shoe maker (very unprofitable!!), Delivery Driver, Library Labourer/Shelver, Artist (sell at markets), Online Merchant (specialty food items, and unsuccessfully trying to sell upcycled furniture) …quite a bit of other stuff but you get the idea.

Supplementary questions – Aren’t you worried about your retirement years? No I hope to be able to do many of these things well into my golden age and I actually think the risk of losing all income from a salary job source at age 50 (well before planned) is scarier and more likely that not being able to earn like I do. If you can do many things you can always find something. Not true of the micospecialised professional. How do you find the time? Only sleep six hours and sell your television.