Trading time for money

Last week, I was complaining to my Spanish tutor (who, by the way, thinks I always complain). “Ideally, I'd be writing less,” I told her. “I want to have more time to learn Spanish and to focus on other passions. But I just got an offer to write a couple more articles per week. And I would get paid for the work!”

My tutor shook her head. “Por la plata baila el mono,” she told me: The monkey dances for money. She didn't have to explain what she meant. It was obvious. Money makes us do things we wouldn't do otherwise; it turns us into puppets.


My tutor later sent me a link to this video
“The monkey dances for money — and how well the monkey dances!”

Although my tutor had a point, it's not as simple as that. Yes, we sometimes do things we don't want to do in order to earn money. But sometimes doing these things allows us to get money so that we can pursue our passions later.

“I write a monthly column for a magazine,” I said (in Spanish, of course). “The amount I earn from that column each month is exactly the same as what I pay you each month. Every month, I tell myself that I'm writing the column so that I can learn Spanish. That keeps me motivated to do it.”

Personal Currencies

This conversation reminded me of personal currencies, which I first mentioned four years ago. At the time, I wrote:

Money is an abstract concept. It really represents time and labor, and those are hard to visualize. By finding something concrete to use as a measure of value instead, it's easier to visualize how much something is really worth to you.

For example, my wife sometimes measures things in lattés. If she sees something in a store, she'll stop and consider: “That vase is three lattés” or “Those shoes are ten lattés” or “That book is two lattés”. By looking at things in this way, she's able to figure out how much they're actually worth.

Our friend Marla measures things in Saturns. She loves her car (a Saturn, naturally), and so whenever somebody mentions something expensive, she's able to compute its value to her. A fancy plasma TV might be one-fifth of a Saturn, for example. A house might be ten or twenty Saturns.

Last night at dinner, I mentioned this notion to our friends Mike and Rhonda. “Oh, we used to do that all the time,” Rhonda said. “When we were first married, we lived near a sushi place. We loved their rainbow rolls, but they were kind of expensive. Whenever we got paid, we'd convert the dollars to rainbow rolls.”

Obviously these sort of personal currencies aren't sophisticated financial tools. They are, however, quick and easy ways for each of us to measure the relative value of the things we buy.

This notion of personal currencies — and my mental equation in which writing a magazine column pays for Spanish lessons — is another way to look at life energy, which many of you will know from the classic Your Money or Your Life.

Trading Time for Money

In Your Money or Your Life, the central point that Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin try to convey to readers is this: Money is something we choose to trade our time for. (Except that the authors don't call it “time”, they call it “life energy”.) They write:

Our life energy is our allotment of time here on earth, the hours of precious life available to us. When we go to our jobs we are trading our life energy for money. This truth, while simple, is profound.

[…]

Our life energy is more real in our actual experience than money. You could even say money equals our life energy. So, while money has no intrinsic value, our life energy does — at least to us. It's tangible, and it's finite. Life energy is all we have. It is precious because it is limited and irretrievable and because our choices about how we use it express the meaning and purpose of our time here on earth.

[…]

Ultimately you are the one who determines what money is worth to you. It is your life energy. You “pay” for money with your time. You choose how to spend it.

In a very real way, time is money. For most of us to be happy, we have to find a balance between trading our time for money. And, at times, trading money for time. We need both. Over the past few months, I've found that balance. I've achieved it. I've been reluctant to mess with it, yet now I'm tempted.

Or am I?

Finding Enough

Over the past week, as I've debated whether I should take on the additional workload to earn more money, I actually turned to my own book for advice. In Your Money: The Missing Manual, I briefly explore the concept of Enough (something that's also covered in Your Money or Your Life). In my book, I write:

Knowing that you have Enough can be better than having billions of dollars. If you're obscenely rich but aren't happy, what good is your money? […] If you don't know why you're earning and spending money, then you can't say when you have Enough. So take time to really think about what Enough means to you. […] If you don't have an end in sight, you're at greater risk of getting stuck in the rat race.

Or, to use the words of my Spanish tutor, you're at greater risk of being a monkey that dances for money.

And so I have to ask myself why? Why do I want to take on this extra work? It's not for the money, so what is it? Do I really think I'm going to improve my life by writing two extra columns per week? Where will I even find the time to do that? And what is it that I really want to be doing?

I don't know the answers to all of these questions just yet, but I do know the answers to some. And, in fact, those answers may hint at the direction my life could take in the future. For now, one thing is sure: This monkey has decided he won't be dancing for money — at least not this time.

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david
david
8 years ago

There are a lot of issues and different perspectives wrapped up in this. You know, there are some people – the ones who control central banks -or at least profit greatly from them who do not measure their time in labor. for them, they reap a fantastic lifestyle without the need for any labor. You have to really think about this. You can also trade ‘products’ for money or ‘advertising space’ for money or ‘living space’ for money. It isn’t always a measure of labor to everyone. there are many ways to measure money. but I think it is important… Read more »

bon
bon
8 years ago
Reply to  david

Since you asked for thoughts – I would say – some did “earn” that position by working hard during their education and in their careers. Many may have made major sacrifices with their families that not everyone is willing to make.

That said, likely some did fall into such positions due to political/family/who-knows-what connections. I don’t think it is ever black and white, but I would not generalize that all of the people in those positions are simply there out of privilege.

Claire
Claire
8 years ago
Reply to  bon

I completely agree. While not every single bigwig may have “earned” it, there are many who make significant sacrifices for their career. For example, many top execs have to travel all the time (how would you like to be away from your family every week?). Sure they stay in a nice hotel, but it’s still a hotel. Many who are in high places now had to pay their dues earlier in their career — I had friends in entry-level investment banking positions who worked 7 days a week, every week, and most holidays. How would you like to be working… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Sounds like you’re still going through your mid-life crisis. It’s not about the money, it’s about your purpose… or being bored… or something.

If having enough money solved everything, then we’d never have heard of Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.

p.s. Love the video.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Hey, easy now, midlife crises happen… on a different note, “The monkey dances for money” is surprisingly profound!

KSR
KSR
8 years ago

Do ya feel the heat? That’s burn out. Burn out is the reality. Burn out of the day to day same old same old. After creating something no one else has created, successfully implementing the idea, and then watching others flattery through imitation– done and… moving on. So done that the burn out is all that is real anymore. All the planning for an “end” and “enough” was a successful exercise in personal revelation that kept it all going but in the end the motivator that it really always was has brought on the inevitable…burn out for the insatiable. The… Read more »

K.C.
K.C.
8 years ago
Reply to  KSR

Burnout came to my mind, as well. J.D. has built a successful brand and that’s great, but for the brand to continue to be successful, it must continue to be promoted through creative works. J.D. may be able to pass up opportunities from time to time, but he will feel a certain pressure to accept some in order to keep his brand strong, assuming J.D. wants to keep earning money by writing on personal finance issues. Of course, one always has to weigh the relative value of offers, and at this point J.D. may be able to cherry pick only… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  KSR

I agree that burnout may be a problem here. That was a large part of the reason I sold the site three years ago, and then I stayed around because I love the community, I love writing, and I felt like I could still have something useful to say. Now? Now I’m turning down options to write about money. I still want to write — no question! — but maybe it’s time to write about something else? And as to Nicole’s point: Is this a midlife crisis? Maybe. But so what if it is? That doesn’t invalidate my feelings or… Read more »

KSR
KSR
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Vicarious. Trade in frugal, conscious, compliant– and bring home the unknown. You know, take a 30 day road trip with a point–or something like that and write about it. Drive that Spanish to Mexico and take it for a lingual tongue spin. Date a chick with a belly piercing or eat a spring roll atop Kilimanjaro. Shake off the burn and get to it. We’re here waiting…to live a little vicariously through you. I have to tell ya, my burn was deep. So deep that I knew I couldn’t do anything but slow char. So, I bought a 1950’s neglected… Read more »

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Ok. I don’t want to get flamed here, but I am only saying this because I truly don’t know. How much time are you putting into this site (compared to when you owned it) and how long does it take to write two articles a week? Again, I have no idea, but it ‘seems’ to me that dropping down to one article a week on this website and adding two articles a week for the mentioned job is still less than when you were running the website full time on your own. I’m not saying that you do it because… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

“But if you are doing something you love, is it really work?”

Yes. It is work. A lot of work. That is, if you want to do it well.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Ah, but all writing is not created equally. I like to write, but I’d burn out pretty quickly if all I wrote about was technical issues (or wars) all the time.

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

IMHO it’s easier for a person to say I’ve got enough with material things. So someone can determine for the themselves if the size of their home is enough, the car they drive is enough, etc. than to be certain that the amount of income and savings they have coming in is enough for future needs (e.g. early 80’s inflation and current retirees post 2008). All I can say is that I’d recommend a person get to a place where they have more than enough since it’s generally easier to tighten your belt than trying to stretch it.

Isela
Isela
8 years ago

Hay otro dicho en español “con dinero baila el perro”, lo que equivale a decir que todos tenemos un precio por el cual haríamos algo que de otra manera no haríamos.

Maybe you shouldn´t be so worry about having to come back to work for money, but making sure you are using that money for this you really love like the Spanish lessons.

Find a place in the middle.

Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity
Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity
8 years ago

The only person that can answer the WHY is you. Unless of course you go in for a session with a professional and then who knows what else might come out! Time is the one resource that is finite, and can never be reclaimed once lost. Money on the other hand will always be around. When one opportunity to earn passes you by, there are almost always going to be more (especially in J.D.’s case) such opportunities. The key is to realize that if the additional work will not yield as much personal benefit as doing something else like learning… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I like the idea of thinking about “life energy” rather than just money. Having come off a really stressful week at work, I had to wonder if the additional stress and frustration was really worth the pay cheque. Then I have weeks where I enjoy my work so much I’m thrilled I get paid to do it. I’m wary of the balance swinging too far in either direction.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago

Here’s how I know when I’ve got “enough” – it’s a spreadsheet (shocking but true!) I’ve projected out net worth for about the next 40 years with a reasonably conservative market earning rate. My spending is pretty stable, so that’s predictable too. This year I have had the option of working full-time, permanent again – but the spreadsheet says I don’t *need* the money. So the only reason why I would take the job is if I enjoyed it “enough” – which I don’t. It just made the decision very easy to make. When I first started doing this a… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Jacq, that reminds me of the Derek Sivers article about No more “yes”. It’s either “HELL YEAH!” or “no”. I’m fortunate to be in that position, and I want to say “HELL YEAH!” to things — not just “yes”.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Yes, I read that article too a few years ago! One resource I highly recommend for living through inspiration and a little less perspiration is Michael Neill’s “Effortless Success” CD’s. I listen to them ALL the time. They’re the perfect balance of pragmatism and making life fun. I read a great book years ago called “Slack” about how people need downtime to come up with great ideas (also anything by Richard Koch is great along those lines – like The 80/20 Principle). You need a space of sorts of time to find something great to fit into it. If you’re… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

Sure you’ve got enough to live on now for the rest of your life, but what if there’s a wife and kids in your future? Maybe some tiny voice in your brain is telling you to make some hay while the sun is shining.

Kurt @ Money Counselor
Kurt @ Money Counselor
8 years ago

I’m in the ‘Your Money or Your Life’ camp. Little frustrates me more than having paid work I must do on a sunny day when I’d much rather be out for a hike or paddle. That said, we must put food on the table and a roof over our heads, for an unknown lifespan, and I may not always have enough functioning brain cells to earn money. So I compromise, as must we all, but lean more and more toward ‘sunshine time’ the older I get.

catalandres
catalandres
8 years ago

There’s an ode to money by Castilian poet Francisco de Quevedo (17th century):

http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/poesia/DONDINER.HTM (in Spanish)
http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/poesia/DONDINEN.HTM (translated)

The trope of the poem is “Poderoso caballero es Don Dinero” (“Messr. Money is a mighty gentleman”), which is said in the background at some point in that video you posted.

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

This is such a great concept, particularly for helping kids think about money.

When my kids were little, we measured every expenditure based upon how many times we could eat out at Friendly’s. Would they rather go to dinner once a week every week for 5 years, or go to Disneyworld for one week. It helped them grasp that concept of financial balance.

And I’m using that idea now myself. My husband wants to get a cleaning service, but I want to go to Europe. I’d rather clean the house myself for 2 or 3 years to finance my trip.

Marcella
Marcella
8 years ago
Reply to  Holly

I love the idea of using this concept for kids! Using it for myself is not something I personally need to do to understand my money, but I hadn’t thought how useful it would be to make what might be an abstract concept for kids more tangible.

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  Holly

For kids! wow that is like the marshmallow test times 5 million!!! What did they choose?
I am sure as a kid I would have picked eating out for 5 years, but today I would probably pick the destination instead.

cc
cc
8 years ago

good saying, i’ll have to remember that. i, im sure with plenty others, have gotten a little exhausted from the recession and i’ve found myself in jobs i would normally turn down in a heartbeat, just to have a little extra cash. i guess the situation is a bit different, because i need it and am not going after pocket change- going after bill and food money here. but nonetheless, the dancing monkey image will stick with me hopefully next time i’m presented with a dubious earning opportunity. gotta say, i wasn’t a huge fan of your money or your… Read more »

Josh @ Live Well Simply
Josh @ Live Well Simply
8 years ago

Interesting perspective. I would say Spanish people have a very different view of how much time they trade for money when contrasted with the average American 🙂

A
A
8 years ago

Yes and the Spanish economy is in the tank so not sure I want to adopt their philosophy. 🙂

Ross McCabe III
Ross McCabe III
8 years ago

I believe that we trade more than just time for money. Even if we’re passionate about our career, we make tradeoffs beyond the time spent at a desk or commuting to work.

The social worker or public health doctor who spends hours a day comforting people through emotional events invests a big piece of themself. They can feel “spent” after a day of work.

I agree that it’s a balance between what we put into our job (self employed or salaried) and the mark we want to leave.

Caitlin
Caitlin
8 years ago

Take the extra work while you still can!

Remind yourself that this is a specialized skill, that you are lucky to be WRITING for a LIVING, something many folks want to do….

Life Energy (while you still have the wherewithal)+ Available Opportunities (Extra Work)= More Spanish Lessons and possibly another trip to Peru???

Or take on the extra work to pay yourself for the time you could spend training yourself to blog in spanish to set up a blog for spanish speaking immigrants who need help figuring out the American system of keeping afloat???

Sound like a worthy project?

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

I like your suggestion. A Spanish-language PF blog seems right up J.D.’s alley. 🙂 He could even dig up those Primero Dinero comics.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

Oh, I’ve thought of it. My skillz aren’t yet at that level, but they may be in a year. Speaking of which: It’s time for me to go to my next Spanish lesson. 🙂

Frugal Portland
Frugal Portland
8 years ago

We all trade time for money and I definitely think in terms of my hourly rate. Is xyz worth five hours of work? Often, no.

Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer
8 years ago

Hey J.D., This is a really timely post for me – I quit my job at the end of last year and am now in a position where I need to draw the line somewhere in terms of how much work I take on. Unfortunately, I’ve already crossed that line, as the amount of work I have to do already exceeds the amount of hours I want to work in a day. The problem is, once you have started earning x, it is harder to take the step down again. If you were never earning x in the first place,… Read more »

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom Ewer

I would say that your stress level is low enough that the money makes up for it. When your stress level exceeds the return you get (money in this example) you’ll start to question it. When you start becoming sullen the night before you go back to work, or your spouse and family avoid you because you are horribly unpleasant to be around, or you hide in the locker room at work so no one can hear you crying because you are so stressed out, or some other manifestation, you’ll find you have the strength to put a stake through… Read more »

Valerie
Valerie
8 years ago

My first thought was kind of snarky so I’ll try to dial it down. My real question is, how do you know when you NEED more money, versus when you have “enough”? Looking in from far, far outside, it doesn’t seem like your situation would require you to HAVE to do work you’re not truly excited about doing any more, so I don’t get why this question even comes up. What am I missing? Is “enough” never really “enough”? Does having a lot of money lead to WANTING even more?

Lance@MoneyLife&More
8 years ago

Congrats on being able to say no! I hope I can get to that point at some point in my life! Right now though, being younger, I need to save as much as I can so if it was a good money deal I probably would have done it.

Jeremiah Brown
Jeremiah Brown
8 years ago

I love the post. I just heard a great saying the other day, but can’t remember if it is a quote or if someone just said it as advice, but : “Once you spend money, you can always make it back. Once you spend your time, its gone forever”. I think we can all use that to help us make better decisions on what is really important. You write so that you can fund your passion of learning another language… that’s an awesome way to spend your time because the benefits will help you do more with your time here… Read more »

Derek
Derek
8 years ago
Reply to  Jeremiah Brown

I like the quote because time is certainly lost once you’ve spent it; however, it does take time to make the money again… interesting conundrum. A vicious cycle indeed.

Therese Dullmaier
Therese Dullmaier
8 years ago

Wow, I think most people don’t have any choice whatsoever than to “dance” because they need the money to support themselves and their families so anyone that does not have to should be very grateful.

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago

Agreed – I feel like this post is continuing a pattern of disrespect toward working in a typical job for a living. Sure, it’s usually followed by the “do what works for you” disclaimer – but when the implication is that dancing like a monkey is apparently what works for many of us, that feels a bit empty. JD, I think it’s wonderful that you are at a point in life where you can choose your projects. I’m there too, and it’s awesome. However I have a highly overactive security gland (and a small child), thus feel the need to… Read more »

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

I don’t believe J.D. is talking about a normal level of work, but what a person working a traditional 40-hr-week job might refer to as overtime. My husband used to work in law enforcement, and many officers jump on off-duty gigs (i.e. overtime) like a hungry dog on a dropped sandwich. At first they do it because they want to have more money to get more stuff (like a data plan for their cell phone). It doesn’t take long before a person becomes accustomed to the salary+overtime level of spending, and IT becomes the new baseline. So now the person… Read more »

bon
bon
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

I don’t see any disrespect whatsoever. He’s putting a frank discussion about what is “enough” out there, and mentioned an illustration that his Spanish instructor mentioned. He’s discussing taking additional work on the side, there is no mention of “working a typical job.” If there was this would be the equivalent of taking overtime or another action that the employee chose to do.

margot
margot
8 years ago

What about juggling your spending so you can get similar benefits to what you’re getting now while spending less, thus further justifying not working more? I’m thinking of replacing your paid Spanish lessons with a free substitute. It seems that your are getting pretty good with Spanish. I’m guessing that you would not get equal benefit by practicing your Spanish in a meetup group (meetup.com or .org – I can’t recall) or similar free setting that forces you to speak Spanish. Studies of language learning pedagogy actually supports my theory as well.

Kris
Kris
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

“Free” or “Meetup” events can be more miss than hit. People are notoriously unreliable about language learning – it is seen as a “nice to have” – not a discipline which requires work. J.D. is right to pay for an actual tutor who shows up, is reliable, and is worth the money.

While Margot’s comment in theory would seem to be valid, it can be very difficult to find someone as committed as J.D. in reality.

The Money Mail
The Money Mail
8 years ago

Money is just one of the ways to compensate people for the effort. Once you take this view, you start seeing things from a different lens

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Here’s an interesting article that partly deals with the concept of “enough.” It’s about a victim of Bernie Madoff. It seems relevant to this article.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/05/11/how-getting-robbed-by-bernie-madoff-led-her-to-a-happier-life/

Krantcents
Krantcents
8 years ago

I think in most cases, we do the things we like to do or have to do. I think you enjoy writing and the magazine work pays for your indulgence (Spanish lessons).

Erica
Erica
8 years ago

I agree that these types of posts would be more effective coming from someone who is not self-employed. I am a freelance writer myself, and so if I work more, I earn more. If I am OK with making less to take time off, I can do that. I love having this opportunity and am very grateful. But I know from my years of pre-freelance experience that’s not the case with most jobs.

jen
jen
8 years ago

If your articles are going to be of the angsty “I have so much money, what to do, what to do” variety, then I’m glad that you decided to pass on the opportunity.

I’m very happy for you (and impressed by you), but your posts are really one-note right now.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  jen

🙂

Believe it or not, Jen, I agree with you!

bon
bon
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Please don’t change your tune JD. Many readers relate to these posts far more than posts about getting out of debt, frugality, etc. You have guest writers who are detailing their own experiences at their own “stages” of finance. You should be authentic to where you are in life, otherwise you will really get burned out.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

J.D. Maybe you should start doing stuff already then. I suspect that with the whole blogging thing – a lot of whether or not you choose to do something reflects directly back on – what will my reader’s think? Well, I would say – don’t worry AT ALL what other people think – go do stuff – some of it will work out, some won’t but you’ll be the better for having tried something new (or old for that matter).
A wise man once said “The perfect is the enemy of the good”

jen
jen
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

LOL!

I’m sure you will figure it all out and enjoy yourself along the way!

Now for the random advice from a total stranger: maybe pick up a real sport? I’ve done Crossfit and run too, but tennis is exponentially more interesting/challenging (to me) both mentally and physically. Plus, it’s social and always inspirational/aspiration; I dare you to watch 80 year olds on a Saturday morning playing doubles and not grin and think, “I hope that’s me!”.

Josetann
Josetann
8 years ago
Reply to  jen

“Write what you know.” What JD knows is constantly changing. I doubt he’d be able to write a convincing post about how to live on minimum wage, or how to make it in Corporate America as a middle-aged single woman. Luckily there’s other writers to help fill in the gaps. Regardless, I think the information is valid for a wider audience than you think. We’re definitely not in the same league as JD, but still use many of the same ideas he does. We’ve set our lives up so that only one of us has to work part-time to support… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Josetann

I enjoy J.D.’s posts because he’s a good writer, not because he’s feeding me new financial tips every time.

I appreciate that he’s learning and evolving, and that he’s willing to write about the process, because so many people seem to be ashamed of the process, or only want to talk about results.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

I like the idea of personal currencies. Although to be honest I’d probably say $300 = Trip to Boston. Clothes are half a trip to Boston for example.

Roy Marvelous
Roy Marvelous
8 years ago

Time is definitely money. Free time is GOLD.

Lorin
Lorin
8 years ago

My (now) husband and I used to measure costs in sushi dinners (not just rainbow rolls). Unfortunately, we tended to spend so much out to sushi that it made other things look inexpensive in comparison! These days, with extra work and a toddler, we just don’t have time to go out anyway.

bon
bon
8 years ago

I used to have a very strong concept of personal currency (CD’s) but, well, CD’s have gone the way of the dodo and I’ve lost it!

Currently looking for a new personal currency, ideally in the $20-$40 range. It really did help me keep things in perspective and I often think about how I now make purchase decisions without properly weighing them out.

amber
amber
8 years ago

I don’t think of this so much in my primary career, but when I pick up odd jobs it is always for a specific goal. For example I will do a mystery shopping job or two and that will pay for my dog boarding while I am away. things like that. I have X fun expense that I need covered, and I want to cover it by doing this extra thing rather than crimping my budget. Also, I work at a job where I easily could have moved up to manager by now. The stress I see among managers coupled… Read more »

Neil @ Neverendinglist
Neil @ Neverendinglist
8 years ago

I like the message in this post. My life energy would be overflowing if I hadn’t become a slave to the money. It has been a long hard slog re-adjusting the focus. I agree that there is a balance between the two and they do go hand in hand to some extent, but early education on this message really could lead to richer lives (depending on your focus of course!!)

Ps. JD, if it is a mid-life crisis feel free to join me for the base jump whenever you’re back in the UK.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago

On the thoughts of burnout: I do think that some of this is burnout. In the corporate world, you might have the opportunity to “take a break” with a bit of cross-training, or switch departments, or take a sabbatical, etc. You’ve been doing this job for 6 or so years, and hitting that same sort of note, even in something you love, for so long gets old. JD, have you thought about using some of that energy you feel for the projects you love and maybe include a money angle afterwards? I mean, you had the awesomepeople.com thing going, so… Read more »

Meep
Meep
8 years ago

I think you should stop worrying so much and start trying to enjoy life. You could start dating and write about frugal dating and finding someone who shares your financial values. You could try okcupid or one of those other dating sites which might even give you some hilarious experiences to write about. It also sounds like you have at least a mild crush on your Spanish teacher.

Carl Lassegue
Carl Lassegue
8 years ago

Good self reflection! I think if we all tried to step back and think why we do some of the things we do, we would learn a lot about ourselves.

Lura
Lura
8 years ago

Well some relate some cant and I definately cant. I have two kids and I am single with a full time job, with inflexible hours, which I am grateful to have (been steadily getting out of debt in part due to this website and huge raise when I switched to this position) But if someone offered me extra money to do something I enjoyed, I would jump on it. So I agree with the burnout comment and I guess the date a “chick” with a belly ring comment– I would have said “nice female”, but I guess it depends what… Read more »

ImpulseSave
ImpulseSave
8 years ago

This really made me think, and I’m very glad that you were able to come to some kind of value system for what your time is worth in actual dollars. The time/money relationship is so much of a double-edged sword, the way you described here: on the one hand you work more to have more money to have more time, and on the other you have less time because you are working more. I suppose that somewhere in the middle is the proper balance. It requires very much a sacrifice – either of time or money. But somewhere in there… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago

One thing about working for a wage is that you know EXACTLY what your time is “worth” in the marketplace. And it’s easier to quantify the cost/benefit of extra time at work. For the self-employed I think it’s a little harder. I don’t know any self-employed person who works a steady schedule, and most I know don’t keep any kind of track of the time they put into scheduling, accounts, and paperwork. They only keep track of number of hours they are serving clients (in J.D.’s case, this would be the research & writing). So once the expenses are covered,… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago

Burnout is my diagnosis as well. I have found that at times, my “job” is very routine and mundane. It is at these times that I start seeing greener grass on the other side of fences. What I’m really looking for is something to challenge me. Solution: I started volunteering at my kids’ small, independent school, and eventually was appointed as an advisor to the school board. I took on the marketing responsibility (volunteer), not because I’d ever created a single marketing plan before in my life, but because they needed someone to run point on it, and I needed… Read more »

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