Monday, April 30, 2018

Sucky Job = Sucky Life?

I was reading this article by Minimalist in the City about FI, and towards the end of the article there was the Jobstreet link citing that almost 1 in 2 Singaporeans are unhappy at work. Right below that paragraph, is this picture and quote which I find rather confusing:

Part 1 of the quote: "I never knew anybody who was unhappy with their job and was happy with their life. It's your sense of purpose."

I find this part of the quote false. While SOME people equate their life to their jobs, which is also their passion and career, I feel that quite a large number of people do not equate their jobs to their lives.

Part 2 of the quote: "Now, some people can find it elsewhere. Some people can work a job and find it some place else."

This part of the quote makes more sense to me. If you don't find happiness in your job, that's okay. You can always find happiness outside of it and that's fine.

I think this job=life happiness thing is really dependent on your personal outlook in life and what you value.

If you really treasure your job and working hours a lot, especially for people in skilled and craft jobs, it is extremely natural to have this equation that your job = your life. Bruce Springsteen was a musician, it's no wonder he equates his job to his life.

However, for the majority of white collared workers, that's kind of lame. Hi, I am Bob and identify as a tax accountant? Meh. For white collared workers, it becomes about personal ambition and what you find fun in your own life.

If I was working in a bank, I'd find it extremely fun killing all my colleagues, piling their dead bodies up and climbing the corporate ladder. But I do not work in a bank, so I find my fun elsewhere.

I think it's a slightly more uncommon way of thinking, but I see work as a black box where I step into at the start of the day, time warps by, and I walk out of the box feeling more tired and more agitated, but with a fistful of money. And then, my life starts. I spend my life, my time, doing the things I enjoy outside of working hours - after work and on weekends and holidays. Funded, of course, by the money I receive in compensation for my working hours and effort.

Let's be real. Most people don't end up with jobs that they love. They end up with jobs that pays them enough money to come to work. And that's totally okay. Jobs and careers do not have to be romanticized. There's just something so "millennial" about that sort of fairy tale thinking that pisses me off. It's like the world somehow owes you, not only a job, but a well-paying one that you enjoy doing. Lol wtf?

Newsflash buddy. Nobody owes you a job.

If you had a job you love, they probably wouldn't need to pay you that well, since you'd turn up anyway.

You're probably getting paid for doing shit that nobody else wants to do, likes to do, or has the skill to do. You don't get paid extra for loving your job.

Maybe I have a older, very corporate, THE COMPANY SEES YOU AS A STATISTIC, sort of mindset, but you know what?

I'm pretty darn happy with my life, even though my job isn't what I love. I go to work because I have deadlines due and at the end of the month my bank account gets a top up.

Sounds bleak, but don't be sad for me. I enjoy my non-working hours very much and I am not defined by the job I work at. I am defined by the things I do, people I interact with, my interests and my hobbies.

Why do all these folks want to FIRE anyway? Because they want to escape their jobs which they love so much? Most people don't enjoy working, so welcome to the club with 99% of the working population.

I guess if your job = your life, you will never retire in that sense. Well, if you love it, you don't have to worry since it's not burdensome to work.

For me, FI is not about retiring early and spending the rest of your life travelling. Most people are not born travellers and almost everyone will be worn out after a year or two of travelling around. It's a downright fantasy that you're going to retire and be permanently on overseas holiday until you die.

FI to me is about having enough money that I no longer need to go into my black box to trade in my time and energy for money. I can do whatever I please - do nothing, pursue personal interests, try out other black boxes, whatever.

It is about freedom of choice and just being plain happy.

And PS. some people can have tons of money, be financially independent, but yet still be unhappy.

Just some food for thought on a Monday to start off your week, haha.


  1. Relax, happiness is overrated...

    1. I find happiness to be underrated. It's "cool" these days to be busy, not have enough time for yourself and make sacrifices for the sake of others. Perhaps I'm just hedonistic and selfish.

  2. While an income is important in terms of stability and survival, maintaining a healthy mental hygiene is also as important. I guess it really depends on the priorities each of us chooses to have and the trade-offs we are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it.

    I believe a good Life lived is still about a continuous process of finding what you love to do, looking out for what the world needs, and seeking out a place where both can combine to good effect. For when that happens, you would have found your true calling: a state of equilibrium within knowing that the work you love to do makes you happy within, and at the same time, making other's lives that much better.

    1. Hmmm yes I was reading something similar about a Japanese philosophy on how they view personal ambitions, actual ability, passion and the external world.

      However, few people are lucky to be able to be able to find a job that checks all the boxes in such a framework.

      If you had to reduce it to a much simpler framework, I think happiness is an easy enough measurement.


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