Sunday, March 25, 2007

Your Money or Your Life - Steps 6 - 7

After a long hiatus, I'm back with the next 2 steps outlined in the book Your Money or Your Life.

Step 6 is focused on finding ways to live frugally so as to minimize your expenses. I'll make this a recurring theme of this blog as I discover new and creative ways to save money. Or just old, solid ways.

For now, the focus on minimizing costs so you can live as richly as possible is central, and I'm in 100% agreement. Is money more than a means of exchange and/or personal security to you?

If so, this is the perfect stage to ponder on why you spend what you do. Use the budget/spending info from Step 3 to ask yourself whether you're truly getting the level of satisfaction from your spending when gauged by how much you need to work to afford it.

Step 7 is a radical one I haven't seen in most (sensible) self-help books. It asks you to consider your job... and whether you should quit. Yep, quit. The guideline for quitting? Whether your job matches your values.

On the surface, this sounds very pie-in-the-sky and not overly workable. "Hey, honey, my job doesn't 'match my values', so I guess we're going to have to do without electricity and water for a while!"

On another level, though, it makes tons of sense, especially since this is something that I've never encountered as a serious question throughout my schooling and mentoring experiences. The focus is always on career growth, whether a job or position will help you to grow professionally, make more money, etc. Only in rare cases (Philip Morris, for example) does the values issue even arise, and for the majority of folks the bottom line is... well, the bottom line.

As for me, I'm not sure that my current job is aligned or not aligned with my values. It's fairly values neutral... which actually is a pretty high standard, since I can think of many, many companies whose products and services are immoral or unethical to the point where it should bother me if I were to work there.

So, step 7 for me comes down to this: It could be better, but it could be much, much worse.

Sidebar: This step also has me wondering if the target audience for this book is primarily people without children. It's a lot easier to stand completely on prinicple when you can just pick up and move and not worry about those short folks who like to scribble on the walls.

If you have 2 or more young children, unless your job is directly immoral, are you really going to be self-centered and quit just so you can look for "fulfillment"? I hope not, but I'm not sure the authors would agree.

1 comment:

Wilbrod The Gnome said...

Good question! Not having kids, I'm not in a position to judge.

I do know my values would automatically mean providing stability for my kids, as well as a parent there and emotionally available for them.
If the job fits my financial needs, that's half of the job done. If the job is seriously harming the second half compared to other jobs, that WOULD be a source of stress for me long-term.

A bad, extremely stressful job can even kill me before my kids grew up, and that's not in my value system.

Quitting is rarely an option, but jobhunting or transfer might be, as well as planning my exit from that job, such as investing in the key skills, organizations, certificates, insurance options, etc.

That's just how I would interpret that last statement.

I'd analyze what in the job dissatsifies me, identify what a new job would need to have, and remind myself not to settle forever but to keep looking for something better. And that is actually easier to do if you're employed, rather than unemployed.