The Franklin Institute in Philly is one of my favorite museums anywhere. Still, I didn’t expect it to give me the perfect photo to describe working in dead-end corporate jobs. Sorry to drop this article right after July 4th. Unfortunately, a majority of Americans, 52% in fact, are unhappy at work. Maybe it’s because they realize there is no possibility for promotion in their position or that working in corporate America is bland and unexciting. So many people work for a paycheck rather than for passion. I would be a terrible friend if I did not ask you to do a gut check right now. Do you love what you do? If so, awesome, if not, keep reading.
Treat Debt Like a biblical Plague from Egypt
If you do not care for where you work, WHY THE HECK are you signing up for things like car and mortgage payments? If you don’t like your job, you need to be free from any commitments that will keep you trapped in it.
You know what one of the first things many of my coworkers did after our first couple months of paychecks? They went out and bought new cars. None of them had enough money to afford to buy them straight up, so they just financed it.
The second wave was the house purchasing. Everyone at a boring Fortune 500 company will congratulate you when you purchase a house near to work. That means the company management can take your name off the “need to re-recruit” list. They’ll move it to the “will stay no matter how bad our annual raises are” list. If you don’t like your job, I don’t care how good the local real estate market is, do not buy a house.
Dead-End Corporate Jobs Should be Temporary Cash Machines for Finacial Freedom
There is one thing you like about your bland 9-5. It gives you a nice big, predictable paycheck every two weeks. Without this money, you would never walk through your company’s doors in a thousand years.
If this is you, do not waste the precious life energy you spent to acquire these dollars by spending a lot. If you do not enjoy your work, buy dividend paying index funds that can support you when you finally have enough and quit.
Let me tell you about something that I REALLY don’t understand. How can you hate your job, but also go out shopping and dining often? If you make $20 an hour after taxes and you go to a nice restaurant and spend $40 on booze and food, you just gave away 2 hours of your life to dead-end corporate jobs.
If everything is great, you love your boss, feel like the work you do is important, feel fulfilled, etc., then you can live a little. However, if you are one of the 52% Americans that would rather be doing something else, stay away from all unnecessary spending. Treat the position as a tool to achieve what you want, which is financial Independence to rule your own life.
Take a risk and try something else
One of the reasons I no longer wanted to work at my corporate job was when I realized the CEO role wasn’t appealing to me anymore. When I started, all I could think about was how cool it would be to run the world’s largest mutual fund company and have tens of thousands of people work for me. Maybe it was ego, maybe it was believing in the mission, I don’t know.
Then I realized, what if I spent 25 years working my way up the ladder? Say I volunteered with all the right charities, networked with the right people, had ‘10,000 coffees’ with coworkers, and did all the right things. After assuming leadership of the company, what would I be doing? I realized that the leadership at large, mature corporate organizations do not typically come up with shocking new innovations. That happens in the startup world. The big companies merely use their stable profits to purchase these new ideas.
So in reality, what was I working for? I wanted a job that didn’t actually have that much power. After all, the CEO answers to the board of directors, who answer to stockholders. Furthermore, the next couple decades of my life would be planned, and success would be so conventional. I decided instead to take a risk, retire early, start a website, write a couple books, and travel the world. I’m so glad I took a risk.
So if you are trapped in one of these dead-end corporate jobs, please get out of debt, save like a madman, and consider taking a risk and trying something else. As the skeleton running the treadmill above reminded me, life is too short to do anything else.
Are you stuck in one of those dead end corporate jobs? What are you doing right now to improve your situation?
(that could be saving, staying out of debt, looking at new positions on LinkedIn, etc. Feel free to use a nickname instead of your real name if you want to be anonymous)