On my way to work one day, I happened to overhear a conversation between two middle-aged business men. The conversation went something like this:
Bob: “Frank? You know what? I never thought this new job of mine would be so crappy! I feel terrible!”
Frank: “Yeah! But the pay’s great! And look! You office has the best view of the whole skyline. What more could you ask for?”
Bob: “How about some vacation time? How about some extra time with the kids and my wife?! You know? Mary and I haven’t been able to go out on a date together since I took this job.”
Frank: “But the money, Bob! You said you always wanted a six-figure salary. Now you earn way more than six-figures!”
Bob: “But Frank! I never knew I had to lose so much of my life to get it! Did you ever think about that?
Frank: “No…I never did think about that. Is it really that bad?”
Bob: “It sure is! I have never felt more miserable in my life.”
As you can see, many men like Bob have to make a hard decision about choosing either a bigger paycheck or more happiness in their lives. This decision isn’t easy to make nowadays because we are experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in the last 75 years.
However, from personal experience I can tell you that many men over the age of 30 are starting to realize that money can’t buy the happiness that comes from living a contented and happy life.
This is true because many men over 30 are starting to suffer from what economists call “Money Misery.” Money Misery is a feeling of dissatisfaction that results from thinking if we just had a little bit more money or other material things, we’d be happier.
This feeling of dissatisfaction is hitting men the hardest because we are still typically the main breadwinners in most families. As a result, many men like Bob have to wonder if earning the extra big pay check is worth the misery that comes with the extra stress that is involved earning it–even if it we’re in an economic slump.
If you’re in the same boat that Bob is in, you have two choices:
1) Keep the job and continue to be miserable.
2) Or give up the job and find something that makes you happy and content.
Think about it for a minute. Would you rather earn $50,000- $100,000 a year and be grumpy, miserable and angry at the world? Or would you rather earn $25,000 a year and be happy?
What would you do?
While I can’t tell you how to think for yourself, I can give you some heartfelt advice that is based on grappling with this very issue myself:
1) Think about how happy you are right now with your life. Does it seem content and fulfilled? Or does something seem missing from it.
2) Think about how much you value your friends, family and life. Are they worth the sacrifice that a major cut in salary would require to spend more time with them?
3) Think about how much money you believe you’ll need to make a decent living. Today’s cost of living has skyrocketed. However, you might be surprised how much it really takes to live well in our society today.
4) As a result, find out how much it actually takes to live well in your area. There are many websites that can help you find this information. You might be surprised at how much it actually takes to live well in our society.
5) Finally, think about how you value free time. Do you need a lot of it to be happy? Or would you rather have just enough free time to watch a movie now and then?
If you take the time to honestly answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to figuring out what to do in a situation like this. It’s not easy to answer some of these questions, but they can give you a richer insight on what you value you the most in life. Good luck!
Oh, just that you know: The next time that I went to Frank’s workplace, Bob wasn’t there anymore. He quit his job to spend more time with his family. Now Frank is the miserable one!