You may think this blog is about money, but it’s not. It’s really about time. I don’t want money to buy fancy clothes or cars or gold iPhone cases. I want money to buy time! Once I have enough dollars working for me, I’m free to do whatever I want with my life.
I’m fascinated by how people spend their time. Some waste it watching crappy TV while others work their lives away. The following two tales are about the latter.
Use it or lose it
I’m a software developer and was recently at a meeting with a very, very big software company. It is the one not named after fruit or a very large number. Yeah, that one. I was there to discuss the next generation of the system that I was designing.
I got there early and made my way to the conference room where some of this company’s employees were already talking. I sat down to a very interesting conversation. The employees of this big software company were discussing how most of them were about to lose a significant number of vacation days due to this company’s policy; any vacation time not used by a certain date would be lost. Gone. Zippo. Out the window (ha!). A couple of these folks were about to lose a couple weeks! One guy lamented, “Oh well, whenever I take vacation, I’m barraged by work calls, so vacation is no fun anyway.”
On previous visits with these same folks, I had made mental notes of how many of them had broken personal lives. One guy, not even 35, had already been divorced a couple times. At least one other young guy was also divorced. Maybe the job had nothing to do with it. I’m sure that it couldn’t have helped though.
Promotion to director
A really great friend of mine recently got promoted to director at a large corporation. For those of you not in the corporate world, this is a pretty big deal. He’s now pulling down close to $200,000/year, maybe more.
However, this promotion didn’t come free. He paid for it with his time. Over the past couple years, he has spent many weeks putting in at least 80 hours. Sometimes, he puts in over 100, even going into the office every day of the week.
If he was a young guy recently out of college, I still wouldn’t embrace this lifestyle, but wouldn’t have as big of a problem with it as I do now. See, he has 2 young girls. The youngest isn’t even in school yet. He’s climbed up the corporate ladder aggressively, but what has he missed out on?
What the hell is wrong with these people!?!?!?!? I’ve accomplished some neat things at work and enjoy what I do very much, but my fondest memories do not involve writing software.
I remember meeting my wife. I remember our honeymoon. I remember seeing my children walk for the first time. I remember hearing them speak their first words. I remember all the funny things they have said:
- “Does thunder have legs?”
- “When I grow up, I want to be a banana!!!” This one was spoken with great enthusiasm.
- “Do caterpillars fart?“
You may argue that working your ass off to get to ahead is justified because making money early on will also free you from the rat race a bit earlier. The issue is that when a lot of folks get a raise, they seem to quickly find ways to blow it. The Accord gets traded in for a Lexus. The 2000 square foot home becomes a 4000 square foot one. Lifestyle creep is what I like to call it.
Also, what about your time and your life? If you have a job that you happen to enjoy, it still takes time away from other things you’d rather be doing,
You can’t buy more time. Anything that takes your time is taking away a non-renewable resource and better damn well be worth it or necessary to survive.
Time is the most important non-renewable resource of them all. Once your 60 or 70 or 90 years are up, game over. It doesn’t matter how much you worked or what you drove. Make the most of it. Live every day like it really matters and make it all count.
And write down all the great things your kids say.
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