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The Hidden Upsides To Having A Job
Is your job something you loathe or celebrate?
If you’re in the latter camp, there is no doubt that you’ve found something that most of us desire.
Financial independence (FI) and Retire Early (RE) movements offer alternatives to the need to work for money or to work at all.
This huge trend is spreading like fire literally and for good reason
If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll note that I am a huge fan of FI, but I have much more of an interest in optional RE.
My take on work is that there is an altogether bigger reason for why we need to work, and that work is a good thing.
This goes against the big trend of discontent many people have with their jobs or choice of work.
FI certainly gives you the choice of what you do, and if you have not found things you’re passionate about doing, then achieving FI won’t be near as fun.
Whether you’re FI or not, work is important. However, it requires taking stock of your current reason for why work is important.
Recommended book: Know Your Why by Ken Costa
Over the years, I’ve had deep times of reflection in one or two jobs I absolutely detested. Partly due to the combination of a missold role and/or horrible people.
Realising we have a choice in the type of work we do goes a long way toward helping us exercise that choice to do work that meets our personal needs.
For some, those personal needs will be all about paying the bills, yet for others, it will be about a social adventure or personal growth.
Whatever your reasons are, it is important to identify and think about them when the going gets tough.
My current day job is one that I enjoy a lot. It offers me complexity, autonomy, and a wealth creation opportunity.
However, the beauty of having a decent level of financial independence means that I’m not imprisoned in my job and have the option to do what I want and when.
Having this best of both world is ideal, although the hidden upsides of having a job should never be underestimated.
It is partly as a result of this underestimation that most people get frustrated and unhappy with their jobs.
Well, I have news for you – If you have a job that pays you today, you should be extremely grateful.
The reward for working isn’t always financial. However, my take is that any form of work that offers any form of positive benefit is a blessing.
Below are some of the hidden upsides of having a job:
Indirect Help for Addictions
You won’t see many personal finance blogs talk about this, but the chances are some of your work colleagues are addicted to a lot of things.
This can be anything from pornography to drugs or even social media or alcohol.
These addictions are well hidden during work hours as everyone has to put on their game faces and look normal.
Well, those hours at work help even the most hardened addicts to take a break from their addictions.
It may even offer them some time to reflect and seek some help.
Just think of how much of a disaster life would be if you had all the money you needed and yet had a few addictions.
That is a recipe for self-destruction and one I don’t say as a joke.
You only need to take a look at our celebrities and the stories that the newspapers pick up.
Having all the money you need is great, except, if you also have no self-control, then you could be walking into a deadlier prison than a bad day job.
I am a huge fan of businesses and creating side hustles for many reasons including the opportunity to create serious wealth through ownership and control.
However, one of the often overlooked possibilities for wealth creation is through a day job.
If you have a job with significant barriers to entry (e.g. difficult qualifications) coupled with hard work and creativity, you could create wealth through your job.
Bonuses should be negotiated if you don’t have one already, and pay rises beyond inflation should be the goal.
Pension contributions should be maxed out, with life and health benefits demanded where you can.
Essentially, if you play your game right, you can maximize upside and minimize the downside.
If you’re smarter than most about this, then you’d make this all a part of your plan for Financial Independence.
Related post: How Much Money Is Enough?
Prepare for Entrepreneurship
The workplace is essentially a playground for failure on someone else’s balance sheet.
You put no risk capital in, yet you can make decisions that could benefit you financially and reputationally.
But you could also fail, and this is often the best thing, although most people don’t see this as an upside.
When I sit back and write a log of my many failures, I can trace a lot of them back to future successes.
Encouraging a culture of positive failure is a good thing if you have the responsibility of others at work.
Such activities help you ask more interesting questions and approach problem solving differently.
You stand to be a better entrepreneur one day as a result.
Related post: 7 Habits For Highly Successful Side Hustling
Are leaders born or made? I believe the latter.
You can learn to be a good leader and your job is the second best place to practice this.
The number one place is ofcourse your home, especially if you are in a committed relationship or have children.
You don’t need to have done an MBA to be a leader.
Good leadership starts with listening to others, not gossiping, looking out for others, taking initiative etc.
Recommended book: The Language of Leaders by Kevin Murray
Your networks should not get created by themselves. Instead, the process of creating your network has to be an active one.
What you put in is what you get out of it. Your job offers you the opportunity to build real relationships that could be useful in other spheres of life.
The mistake most people make here is to wait until they start to become more senior before they start actively building networks.
See your job and career as a window for potentially getting to know a diverse pool of people.
My big tip here is to be yourself. Don’t put up a front in order to be accepted by others. Instead, invest in those you want to know for longer.
Simple acts such as Christmas cards or gifts with nothing expected, go a long way.
The quality of your networks will play a role in your future net worth.
One of the things I took away from reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, was the importance of mastery.
Mastery at anything comes with repeated practice and unrelenting effort.
Money aside for a minute, there is a lot of joy that comes from being able to say “I am a master of X and/or Y”.
Learning a craft well is important for finding meaning in life. It is also something that can be passed on to our children or even something that offers great conversation.
When I think about the many things that are wrong with our society today, I can link the lack of passion for a craft to a lot of the poor productivity we see.
Self-confidence comes through taking ownership of various activities and doing them as well as you can.
You can read books, blogs or listen to podcasts about various things, however, if you never dive in, nothing happens.
The work environment is perfect for growing in self-confidence if you can identify this as a worthy goal.
For one, you’re always allotted a task or project, each of which can be seen as an opportunity to excel.
You also have the opportunity to be judged by your peers or a manager on a particular piece of work.
Learning to take criticisms will take you very far in life if you understand that they are meant to help you on your personal development journey.
Cure for Laziness
Ever notice how you’re a lot more effective at work during your 9 to 5 compared to when you hope to do work during the weekends?
The reason for this is primarily due to being pushed outside your comfort zone at work.
One of the many things I enjoy about my job (as a CFO for an investing business) is that it offers me complexity.
I love such environments because they offer the opportunity for the brain to work hard, whilst being pushed to get better marginally each time.
Just think about that. If you get to do work that offers you complexity in an interesting way each day, whilst also being paid a salary, then it’s win-win!
One thing is for sure, there is no one I know who has attained wealth or anything of significance by being lazy.
The work environment offers the opportunity to make hard work part of your internal culture. Once established, there is no changing it.
Good Training Ground
One of the best benefits I ever received from of an employer was funding the majority of a £65k Executive MBA bill.
Ofcourse this came with me having sown years of my time helping the company grow, whilst also giving them my loyalty.
However, on reflection, had I not had that job, there is no chance on earth I would have forked out £65k to attend one of the best institutions in the world.
I certainly would not have gone into debt for it. Instead, I paid for it through:
- Simply asking – No one had ever asked in the company’s history. I asked and received.
- I negotiated my terms and made sure it was fair for both parties.
Neither of the above cost any money. However, it required taking the initiative and time to plan in order to achieve it.
If you have a job today, even with a small business, begin to consider what skills you’d like your employer to help you acquire.
Simply ask! Most don’t bother and as such don’t receive nor grow.
Best book on Negotiating: Getting To A Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
Opportunity To Give
Generosity is a Lifestyle and one that I appreciate not everyone quite understands yet.
I've found personally that you have to look in order to notice a need.
And only through noticing a need do most of us consider giving.
Ordinarily, we all expect to have about 80,000 hours of work through our careers.
Ofcourse for those that have the means to retire early, they'd have less hours.
All these hours in a variety of jobs means that we effectively have the opportunity to cause a ripple effect in our communities.
What I'm referring to here is the opportunity to give to support causes we're passionate about as a result of having a job.
This aspect of work is often overlooked as we typically only think of ourselves when work gets tough and we consider quitting.
What if we imagined the work we do as not just being about us but also about others?
Work has meaning. In fact, I see work as a miracle and part of life's design for a good life.
You may not quite see this in your day to day, however, when you zoom out and look at your life (and impact), it will be obvious.
Rather than hate your job, celebrate it. At the same time, take steps that will further transform your life.
Those steps include Financial Independence and optional Early Retirement.
This is living life by intention and design.
- The Purpose of Work and the Role of Money
- To Break Free, You Must First Fight The Resistance
- 30+ Recommended books on Leadership, Wealth Creation and Life
What hidden benefits do you see from having your current job? Please comment below.
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.