“Why are you here?” I asked. The Fortune 500 Executive responded, “Because I am burnt out and exhausted.” “The company keeps reducing our department and adding more work load to those of us that aren’t cut.” “I am working sixty to eighty hours a week.” “I want to find out how soon I can quit/retire.”
“What about retirement?” I asked the small business owner. “I don’t want to retire. I love what I do.” “I want to be financially independent and not have to work, but I want to keep working.” “I feel alive and energized by my job.”
Who would you rather be?
I have had these same two conversations so many times I have lost count. Every time it is the first conversation, the one where they can’t wait to retire and are burnt out, I hurt for them. I have been there. I know how it feels and it is awful.
I am one of the lucky ones. As a business owner, when I finally faced the fact that I hated by job, I was able to remake my business and my role in it into one that resides at my passion point and energizes me.
Passion. We all have it. When we are following our passion we are energized. We feel a sense of purpose. We know what we are doing matters.
Work, where most of us make our living. We spend more of our life at work that we do with those we love the most, our families. Work is where we contribute our personal energy in exchange for money. It is how we meet our external needs including housing, groceries, medical care, transportation and travel.
We trade our precious limited commodity, time, for money. None of us knows how much time we have, but whatever it is, it is finite. Money can’t buy more.
Far too many of us experience worry, frustration and stress when we deal with our money. For the most part, much of that worry, frustration and stress isn’t necessary. We just don’t know how to do it differently.
I believe that it is possible instead to live your life at The Intersection of Joy and Money. A place of peace and joy with money. I believe it so much, I spent a year of my life writing the book. Then I turned my business upside down to develop a process that allows clients to live at The Intersection of Joy and Money.
Just one life, so why not?
In my book, I speak to the fifteen areas of your money life that have to be addressed to live at The Intersection of Joy and Money. One of those is passion and work. It makes perfect sense. Work is how we get money in the world. How can we possibly be in joy with money unless our work is a joy?
Baby boomers have a hard time with this idea. They are more likely to work harder, save more and stay on the treadmill. Often they have built their lifestyle into ones that requires their large paycheck and stock options. If they quit, their entire lives would have to alter, often dramatically. They push against this reality and end up in the sick and tired category.
Millennials get it. They saw their parents work like crazy and wondered, why? They know it doesn’t have to be that way. While Boomers’ employers rail against their millennial employees and think of them as lazy, disloyal and unmotivated, they miss the point. The Millennials are offering the Boomers a way to see the world differently. They know that they have just one life and they intend to live it to the fullest. Millennials will take a job they love that pays less, if they find it fulfilling and meaningful.
The bottom line is this, it all comes down to choice. We create our prosperity or lack thereof by the choices we make every day. We can choose joy or we can choose otherwise.
If you find yourself in that place where it seems impossible to find your passion at work, here are some ideas to consider that might help you change that.
- Take the traditional route. Put your game plan (a comprehensive financial plan) together to build assets to fund your lifestyle for early retirement. Accept your job for what it is, and find peace with it.
- Do your homework, a comprehensive financial plan. Know your options. Talk to your Boss and tell them you want to stay in your current role, but want to reduce your work hours to forty hours a week. Ask them to give you six months to prove you will be just as valuable in forty as you are in sixty. See what happens. Best case, your Boss says yes. Worse case, the Boss says no. Either way you’ve done your homework, you have your financial plan and you are prepared.
- Find your passion. Do your homework, a comprehensive financial plan. As part of that plan, research jobs that fit your passion. Consider the lifestyle changes necessary to take the job you really want. That might mean a smaller home, less travel, and more cooking at home. Imagine that new life and see if it will take you to The Intersection of Joy and Money. Life is personal. Just choose for you.
- Stay in your current job, but go ahead and lower your lifestyle requirements. This will lower the amount you need to save for retirement/financial independence and allow you to retire from your current job sooner.
- Find your passion and build a business plan to start your own business. Likely, it will take some time for your business to meet your lifestyle needs, so plan accordingly, preferably with a comprehensive financial plan.
- Live your passion outside of work. You never know when it might just turn into a way to make a living. There is nothing like beginning to find your way.
Regardless of the path you choose, make it a conscious choice. Be clear why you are choosing what you are choosing and be at peace.
One precious life. A limited amount of time. Money needed to meet your needs, as you define them. Whatever path you choose, I wish you a recipe of bringing together work and money that lets you live your one precious life with passion and joy.