After reading about Financial Independence for a while and then pondering it some (whilst meditating on a snow capped mountain) it becomes clear that it is all about time.
Having the choice to use your time as you see fit is part of what FI is about, admittedly this choice is propped up by a substantial wedge of savings.
The traditional path of employment steals a depressingly large amount of time from us 5 days a week. In reality not many of us only put in the 9-5 hours, with an hour for lunch. Lunch hours are shortened here and there, you get in early to avoid having to speak to Creepy Dave first thing in the lift and to ‘just get a couple of things done, undistracted’ (how depressing), you work late as the work piles up and perhaps even your sacred weekend is taking up squeezing in a bit more work.
This leaves precious little time in the morning and evenings on a ‘work day’. A quick shower, shoveling down breakfast like the apocalypse is coming and then trotting off to work is probably how many of us spend the morning on a work day. How blissful. Throw in sorting out the kids or sitting in the car for an hours commute for many more of us.
The evenings become a battle of efficiency to cook, get a few chores done, squeeze in a bit a quality time (be that spending time with family, exercising, playing some video games, reading or whatever else you enjoy) before finally crumpling into bed and dreaming about what needs to be done the next day. Hardly the good life, especially considering most of us work primarily for the wage, not for the love of the job. No one in finance goes to work because they “just fucking love moving numbers about in a spreadsheet and then writing a report about it”.
Rigidity of the work schedule
Bad enough that we feel the need to spend so much time at the office, but this time is fixed to certain days of the week between certain hours, regardless of anything else.
|The same time every day? Even my phone is, like, WTF?|
I can see why it is this way, because most people are arseholes that would take advantage. And people milling about randomly is not the most efficient way for a business to be run. It’s probably not the healthiest either.
I’m not saying that I have a solution, or even that business should be run a different way, rather that it’s not for me. Pretty sure there are multiple ways out of feeling trapped by the rigidity of an office job, start up my own business, change jobs, go part time etc. Or, a permanent solution, attaining Financial Independence. I’ve trained long enough in the world of finance that I may as well put a few years benefiting from the training.
Resentment nearing critical
Full time work takes up a lot of time, leaving little free time, that sadly can lead to resentment outside of work. I find myself resenting spending free time heading to see my parents for a weekend or travelling for a wedding. If time was ours to use as we saw fit, a day or two catching up with family would be excellent, but when is uses up a whole free weekend it can seem like a chore. I feel bad writing that, but bet quite a few feel the same. Which is sad as these should be things that we want to do and enjoy, not that we feel we have to squeeze in.
I’ve spent the last 4 weekends at stag dos or birthdays and have 4 weddings this year. Perhaps I should learn to say no, but I can’t seem to.
Product of a generation that doesn’t like hard work?
The demographic of those seeking FI looks like intelligent hard workers to me (Engineers, Software Engineers, Finance people from the blogs I read). I think we’ve just had enough of the bullshit of working in an office, weighed down by an atlas ball of regulation, bureaucracy and self important bellends.
With time such a precious resource I have seen many of my friends turn to outsourcing to buy back some of their time, an attempt at Financial Independence that doesn’t work.
To avoid cooking they will buy a takeaway, to avoid doing the washing and ironing they will use a dry cleaners, ‘professionals’ will be hired in when some simple DIY would suffice or they will employ a cleaner.
On the surface it might even look like they are winning.
I’ll admit that it can be tough if nearly everyone around you is doing it, herd mentality kicks in. I was recently surprised by just how many of my friends have a weekly cleaner.
It all seems a bit colonial, if nothing else. Mrs Z even suggested getting a cleaner once, although on a different premise. “If we have a cleaner coming each week it will force us to clean before they arrive, so the house isn’t a state”. I didn’t even try to understand this.
I’m outsourcing very little and saving the difference. I enjoy cooking and DIY, but perhaps I’m just a spooky guy.
Keep on trucking
Work is bearable for now, so in the mean time I will give general consumerism the old fuck you and keep up my 60% savings rate.