It occurred to me that I have been in some jobs that required 30 or so hours of effort per week, tops. Others have been a more routine 40 with the occasional late night finish bumping it up to 45-50. And some have been pretty much 24/7, all because my brain could never quite escape the to-do lists, the reports that needed doing, the team member who needed motivating, the budgets that needed slashing, and so on. It doesn’t matter if you’re not physically there, in the office, if your mind is on the job, so are you.
All of a sudden that £50,000 salary doesn’t seem so generous. Sure, on a 40 hour week it works out around £25 per hour. Factor in holidays and it rises to £27. And if you’re lucky enough to be on easy street and clocking in no more than 30 hours a week – and all praise to you for that! – then it works out a tidy £32 per hour.
But if you are all consumed by work, rarely managing to free your brain from it’s gnawing clutches and even dreaming about work then your taking in a paltry £12 per hour.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about money. When we think about money, it’s often in a negative way: the gas bill is going to be huge this month, I shouldn’t have spent so much going out last weekend, I’ve got three birthdays and a wedding coming up, should I look for another job where I can earn more money? All very anxiety-driven stuff.
So I’ve started an experiment where I attempt to reverse my psychological approach to all things wok and money. I try to look more to the future and the things I want to achieve in life and how I could save enough to get there. Now when my mind wanders and lands on the topic of money, I don’t swish it away towards another train of thought, I embrace it. But I push it down the track of life, towards a bright, optimistic financial future. It gets me thinking about some wonderful opportunities, like moving to the coast or the hills, running a little local business, relaxing in the sun, or doodling in a nice little restaurant over a long coffee. Our thoughts define us. They shape our identity. It’s important to control them, else they will control us.
So far so good. The experiment is working well. I see a vast array of opportunities ahead.