Why do we work?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Glockenspiel
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Glockenspiel » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:46 pm

ny_knicks wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:41 pm
I regularly work 100 hour weeks. For the minimal amount of time I am not sitting in my cube all I can think about is work. I cannot ever disconnect. Vacations aren't an option. I cancel plans more than I am able to show up for them.

I ask myself everyday when I wake up why I am doing this. The money is good but the lifestyle isn't sustainable. I am working for the experience. I hope that by putting in my 3 years I either get promoted to a position where it is more sustainable or move to different subset of my industry where the money is better, the work is more interesting and the hours improve.

Finance, law, medicine, all require you to pay your dues and thats what I am doing.

Hopefully it is the right call. Someday I may look back and seriously regret sacrificing my prime years for the hope of a better future. Its impossible to know so I just keep chugging along.
This sounds awful. Working 100 hour weeks leaves 68 remaining hours in 7 days. I presume you're sleeping at least 49 of those hours, so you have less than 20 hours outside of work each week?

CarpeDiem22
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by CarpeDiem22 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:58 pm

Personally, I work since I am not FI yet. But I have seen many people continue work simply because they don't know anything else.

People don't know what to do with their free time and free thoughts once they stop being busy. Modern capitalism has created a conditioned army of workers who do not understand what a free life is.

AerialWombat
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by AerialWombat » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:13 am

To be completely honest, work gives me something to do. I’m a fairly lazy person, but even a sloth wants to move occasionally.

hilink73
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by hilink73 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:53 am

Because I have to: no money means no food, no roof over my head.

But, I'm lucky to work in a field and in an industry which are both quite interesting and I have difficulties to envision myself doing something different.
On the other hand, would I have more money and be able to work less, I'm not sure I would have a more fulfilling time pursuing my only hobbies than going to work (as I said my work is interesting).

Also, having a enough money when retiring is an important point for me.

I do live below my means (read: I do have a good savings rate) and I know that more money would not necessarily make myself felling better (more fulfilled, lucky, happier) only a little bit more comfortable maybe.
Renting an apartment which just fits, driving a smaller car, not shopping stuff/clothes like an addict.
I wouldn't never work more to afford more.

Creditcardguy
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Creditcardguy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:51 am

With your housing dilemma, your real question should be, "Why did I get married?". :mrgreen:

Tdubs
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Tdubs » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:43 am

"Arbet makht dos lebn zis."--Work makes life sweet.

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jharkin
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by jharkin » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:19 am

What I find interesting is how many people work because they "have nothing else to do".... I can understand having a passion for work if you have a calling to find the cure for cancer, end world hunger or build the mars colony. But I could never work just to avoid boredom.

But I am not really surprised. My late-silent gen/early boomer parents are like this. Still working, party barbecue they have to but also because they have no hobbies and would just sit and watch the tube otherwise.


I work to provide for my family. To payoff the house. To put the kids through college. As soon as I have enough to not need to * I wont anymore. I have more than enough hobbies and interests to fill up the time - but of course those cost $$$.


* - the caveat being, I could probably not retire super early like in my 40s ... I would get frustrated by the fact I had no friends/family my own age to spend all the free time with. At a minimum my wife and I would need to early retire together.

volgograd
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by volgograd » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:33 am

Personally I enjoy what I do and wouldn't trade it for any other profession. I make good money and work from home 4 days out of the week and love all my coworkers. Last year I switched job and took a 6 month break in between to travel. At the end of it I started getting bored and itching to go back working!

GCD
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by GCD » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:50 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:46 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:41 pm
I regularly work 100 hour weeks. For the minimal amount of time I am not sitting in my cube all I can think about is work. I cannot ever disconnect. Vacations aren't an option. I cancel plans more than I am able to show up for them.

I ask myself everyday when I wake up why I am doing this. The money is good but the lifestyle isn't sustainable. I am working for the experience. I hope that by putting in my 3 years I either get promoted to a position where it is more sustainable or move to different subset of my industry where the money is better, the work is more interesting and the hours improve.

Finance, law, medicine, all require you to pay your dues and thats what I am doing.

Hopefully it is the right call. Someday I may look back and seriously regret sacrificing my prime years for the hope of a better future. Its impossible to know so I just keep chugging along.
This sounds awful. Working 100 hour weeks leaves 68 remaining hours in 7 days. I presume you're sleeping at least 49 of those hours, so you have less than 20 hours outside of work each week?
Yup. And a chunk of that 20 is spent commuting.

I couldn't do that, but one of my roommates in law school did. It paid off very well in money and prestige. He's happily married with a couple kids and the hours have tapered down to 40-50 hour weeks now.

Definitely a different type of personality to push through that.

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stemikger
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by stemikger » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:55 am

I work to eat. Without food, we will die. I also work to keep safe from the elements, so I bought a house which is not a short term commitment.
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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PhysicianOnFIRE
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:40 am

The answer obviously depends on what stage you're at in your career in terms of both aspirations and retirement savings.

Before financial independence, the answers are as obvious as those stated here in the thread: I'm hungry. I don't like sleeping on cardboard under an overpass, etc...

The question carries more weight as you approach or surpass FI. At that point, you start to ask yourself if the job you're working is the best use of your time. By definition, you don't need the money, so there ought to be a good reason you're spending your time as you do if there's something else you'd rather be doing.

Of course, there are lots of good reasons to continue working past FI: charitable aspirations, interest in leaving a legacy, fear of a nasty bear market, planned lifestyle inflation, or simply because you love your job.

I like my job, but I don't love it, and I can think of lots of better uses of my time. I started working less last fall, and it's been a great transition.

:beer
-PoF

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GoldStar
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by GoldStar » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:35 am

To be a productive and contributing member of society.

wrongfunds
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by wrongfunds » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:42 am

Because when you're unemployed, there's no vacation.
My kind of guy!!!

When you are employed, you have vacation and NOT ONLY THAT, the vacation is finite too! I am scared of unlimited vacation :-)

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tennisplyr
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by tennisplyr » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:14 am

Fortunate to have worked 40+ years to provide.... Now when I gather with fellow retirees, we concur how work is overrated. Live your life :sharebeer
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Kenkat
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:48 am

EnjoyIt wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:28 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:16 pm
It all depends what is important to you. Using your house example, some would say why work an extra 2-1/2 years to be able to afford a nicer house in a nicer area? Others would say why not work an extra 2-1/2 years and then you get to live in a nicer house in a nicer area for the rest of your life?
But no matter how nice your house is and no matter how nice the area is, there is always nicer. Subsequently the house slightly smaller in the same nice neighborhood is really not that different. When does the "nicer" cycle end. When is it enough.

If all you knew was life in an igloo, moving to a cabin with a wood burning stove might be luxury. Is life that much better or worse in the igloo as opposed to the cabin? What about a townhouse? What about mansion? How about we go into some details. Does the finest most expensive granite countertop provide anything better than something half the price? Does it make us any happier? Does a Viking stove or a sub zero fridge make life so much better as compared to a reliable lower cost alternative? Is working another 6 months worth those amenities?

What about if you buy a 70" TV. If you never experience an 80" you will never know what you are missing and life will be good with a 70".

Nicer is all about perspective and comparison to someone or something else. Reality is that it really doesn't matter all that much.
Totally agree with you. I believe this is referred to as the hedonic treadmill.

I bought a 3 year old Camaro last year. Some would say why would you buy that when you could have bought an Accord, Camry, Civic or Prius instead while others would say you should have bought a Porsche. I get a lot more enjoyment driving my Camaro over driving my Camry (which is a really nice car in its own right) and don’t think I would get incrementally that much more enjoyment driving a Porsche. But if I suddenly stumbled upon 5 or 10 million dollars, I might differently.

I think we often pursue a personal version of utilitarianism. We are trying to maximize our happiness given finite resources. When the resource number changes either up or down, we reset our expectations very quickly.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:10 am

Work provides money to buy the basics but I also find it fulfilling and a good way to spend my time. My hours are reasonable (less than 40 hours on average per week) and, beyond that, I don’t work much. If it weren’t for the money, I would reduce my hours further. While I love my job, I also greatly value being able to spend time with my family. In any case, I don’t regret the time that I put in at work since that’s time well spent to me. Commuting, on the other hand, isn’t so satisfying.

My wife has been averaging 30 hours a week for a while but we’re thinking about cutting that in half next year. She doesn’t like her job much and wants to spend more time at home with our 4-year-old. We’ve been working on reducing our expenses to allow that to happen and the goal looks achievable.

There's often a tradeoff between money and time. People try to find a balance that is right for them.

Cuzz35
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Cuzz35 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:12 pm

Are we defining work as being employed by someone else or spending ones time making money? If that is the case, having enough to take care of my family is why I do it. If I had enough, I wouldn't work another day using that definition..

I would do other things that would be considered work but just wouldn't earn myself money though if I spent enough time at it I could. For instance, I'd probably work out twice a day and get in amazing shape if I didn't have to work. I do a decent job at it now, but not really to the point where I desire to be. Just an example. I can think of dozens of others things I could do besides being lazy but yet not spending my time earning money.

ny_knicks
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by ny_knicks » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:30 pm

GCD wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:50 am
Glockenspiel wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:46 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:41 pm
I regularly work 100 hour weeks. For the minimal amount of time I am not sitting in my cube all I can think about is work. I cannot ever disconnect. Vacations aren't an option. I cancel plans more than I am able to show up for them.

I ask myself everyday when I wake up why I am doing this. The money is good but the lifestyle isn't sustainable. I am working for the experience. I hope that by putting in my 3 years I either get promoted to a position where it is more sustainable or move to different subset of my industry where the money is better, the work is more interesting and the hours improve.

Finance, law, medicine, all require you to pay your dues and thats what I am doing.

Hopefully it is the right call. Someday I may look back and seriously regret sacrificing my prime years for the hope of a better future. Its impossible to know so I just keep chugging along.
This sounds awful. Working 100 hour weeks leaves 68 remaining hours in 7 days. I presume you're sleeping at least 49 of those hours, so you have less than 20 hours outside of work each week?
Yup. And a chunk of that 20 is spent commuting.

I couldn't do that, but one of my roommates in law school did. It paid off very well in money and prestige. He's happily married with a couple kids and the hours have tapered down to 40-50 hour weeks now.

Definitely a different type of personality to push through that.
It isn't fun lol. Probably do 9AM - 2AM M-F, try and only do 5 hours or so Saturdays and then 10 or so Sunday. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. Certainly takes a toll on your personal relationships and health. But it is for a fixed amount of time (3 years) and then I either get promoted and work 9-9 M-F with minimal weekend work at the next rung or get fired. No pressure right?

tibbitts
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:40 pm

Health insurance.

2015
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by 2015 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:43 pm

GoldStar wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:35 am
To be a productive and contributing member of society.
I concur. Before I retired, the most fulfilling part of working was using my job as means to contribute to others. OTOH, I merely tolerated most of the organizations I worked for, mostly because I was a member of so-called leadership and was exposed mercilessly to the hypocrisy, gamesmanship, power brokering, and competition for snout placement in the goodies trough. Virtually all of the goodies in organizations are to be found at its heights. You'll find the devil and his minions there, too.

In retirement, I make even greater contributions to others unfettered by organizational friction.

staythecourse
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by staythecourse » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:52 pm

ny_knicks wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:30 pm
It isn't fun lol. Probably do 9AM - 2AM M-F, try and only do 5 hours or so Saturdays and then 10 or so Sunday. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. Certainly takes a toll on your personal relationships and health. But it is for a fixed amount of time (3 years) and then I either get promoted and work 9-9 M-F with minimal weekend work at the next rung or get fired. No pressure right?
Personally, I think getting fired is the hopeful outcome if I was you. Doing 12 hour days for the REST of your working life is not a great lifestyle. Sounds like PE? Had a friend doing PE who was working ALL the time. Then got out and started a business with others. His wife and 1 year old actually know their husband/ father now. Give him A LOT of credit figuring out what is more important (life vs. money). I remember him telling me all the guys who were senior still worked very hard and had terrible relationships with their wives and children IF they weren't already divorced.

100 hour weeks was normal when I was a resident and no big deal. The difference was the lifestyle was MUCH different after finishing. 12 hours days even after would not have sounded appealing to even sign up for the junior gig.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

GCD
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by GCD » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:03 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:52 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:30 pm
It isn't fun lol. Probably do 9AM - 2AM M-F, try and only do 5 hours or so Saturdays and then 10 or so Sunday. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. Certainly takes a toll on your personal relationships and health. But it is for a fixed amount of time (3 years) and then I either get promoted and work 9-9 M-F with minimal weekend work at the next rung or get fired. No pressure right?
Personally, I think getting fired is the hopeful outcome if I was you. Doing 12 hour days for the REST of your working life is not a great lifestyle. Sounds like PE? Had a friend doing PE who was working ALL the time. Then got out and started a business with others. His wife and 1 year old actually know their husband/ father now. Give him A LOT of credit figuring out what is more important (life vs. money). I remember him telling me all the guys who were senior still worked very hard and had terrible relationships with their wives and children IF they weren't already divorced.

100 hour weeks was normal when I was a resident and no big deal. The difference was the lifestyle was MUCH different after finishing. 12 hours days even after would not have sounded appealing to even sign up for the junior gig.

Good luck.
It sounds like that is the "next rung" for NY_knicks. Each successive rung may entail less work. For my friend in NY big law it took 10ish years to break into $1M+ salary. His first few years were 100 hour weeks with vacation taken on the books, but not in reality, so the billable hours algorithm would work out. I'm not sure how the tapering off went, but my impression was that it was around 10 years to hit 50 hours per week.

J295
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by J295 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Worked to provide for family.

Cuzz35
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Cuzz35 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:22 pm

GCD wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:03 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:52 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:30 pm
It isn't fun lol. Probably do 9AM - 2AM M-F, try and only do 5 hours or so Saturdays and then 10 or so Sunday. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. Certainly takes a toll on your personal relationships and health. But it is for a fixed amount of time (3 years) and then I either get promoted and work 9-9 M-F with minimal weekend work at the next rung or get fired. No pressure right?
Personally, I think getting fired is the hopeful outcome if I was you. Doing 12 hour days for the REST of your working life is not a great lifestyle. Sounds like PE? Had a friend doing PE who was working ALL the time. Then got out and started a business with others. His wife and 1 year old actually know their husband/ father now. Give him A LOT of credit figuring out what is more important (life vs. money). I remember him telling me all the guys who were senior still worked very hard and had terrible relationships with their wives and children IF they weren't already divorced.

100 hour weeks was normal when I was a resident and no big deal. The difference was the lifestyle was MUCH different after finishing. 12 hours days even after would not have sounded appealing to even sign up for the junior gig.

Good luck.
It sounds like that is the "next rung" for NY_knicks. Each successive rung may entail less work. For my friend in NY big law it took 10ish years to break into $1M+ salary. His first few years were 100 hour weeks with vacation taken on the books, but not in reality, so the billable hours algorithm would work out. I'm not sure how the tapering off went, but my impression was that it was around 10 years to hit 50 hours per week.
Is it really the "pot of gold" that motivated these people? My opinion is that they are obsessed. I have a client who started a company that is now $30billion public company, he gives all he earns to charity, has never done anything but work. I can only think to myself that he is absolutely obsessed with his work and company.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:37 pm

GCD wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:03 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:52 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:30 pm
It isn't fun lol. Probably do 9AM - 2AM M-F, try and only do 5 hours or so Saturdays and then 10 or so Sunday. It is not a sustainable lifestyle. Certainly takes a toll on your personal relationships and health. But it is for a fixed amount of time (3 years) and then I either get promoted and work 9-9 M-F with minimal weekend work at the next rung or get fired. No pressure right?
Personally, I think getting fired is the hopeful outcome if I was you. Doing 12 hour days for the REST of your working life is not a great lifestyle. Sounds like PE? Had a friend doing PE who was working ALL the time. Then got out and started a business with others. His wife and 1 year old actually know their husband/ father now. Give him A LOT of credit figuring out what is more important (life vs. money). I remember him telling me all the guys who were senior still worked very hard and had terrible relationships with their wives and children IF they weren't already divorced.

100 hour weeks was normal when I was a resident and no big deal. The difference was the lifestyle was MUCH different after finishing. 12 hours days even after would not have sounded appealing to even sign up for the junior gig.

Good luck.
It sounds like that is the "next rung" for NY_knicks. Each successive rung may entail less work. For my friend in NY big law it took 10ish years to break into $1M+ salary. His first few years were 100 hour weeks with vacation taken on the books, but not in reality, so the billable hours algorithm would work out. I'm not sure how the tapering off went, but my impression was that it was around 10 years to hit 50 hours per week.
But that is the point of this thread...$1 million a year salary is great, but why do we want it? So we buy a nicer house. So what? Does all that effort, lost time with family and friends worth having an extra 2,000 sqft? Is it worth the sub zero fridge? Is it worth driving that AMG s63? I don't know, maybe it is for the big law guys in NY. What is interesting, if you never knew those fancy things existed you would be just as happy in the slightly smaller house/apartment and your spouse/kids would actually have a relatioship with that person. The reason why the high salary feels important is because when we associate ourselves with big spenders, we desire some of the things that they have and do. When we see fancy stuff on tv/facebook/instagram we learn about something new and want it. Without the advertising we would have been ignorant and just as happy without it. Just the other day I saw a toilet that talks to you and heats up the seat. That is some serious luxury. My life can not be satisfying and complete until my toilet provides encouraging comments.

A few years ago I was chatting with a colleague who wanted an M5. I told them that the 550 is pretty much the same engine but costs substantially less. They said that they "needed" the tighter suspension and brakes because they take highway on and off ramps aggressively. I then proceeded to tell them that they will never tell the difference between the two because they will never be taking the car to a road track driving the car at the limits where the tighter suspension will allow them to take turns faster and the better brakes will let them brake just a split second later prior to the next turn. So why spend an extra $25k on something they will never perceive any difference of?
Last edited by EnjoyIt on Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:43 pm

PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:40 am
The answer obviously depends on what stage you're at in your career in terms of both aspirations and retirement savings.

Before financial independence, the answers are as obvious as those stated here in the thread: I'm hungry. I don't like sleeping on cardboard under an overpass, etc...

The question carries more weight as you approach or surpass FI. At that point, you start to ask yourself if the job you're working is the best use of your time. By definition, you don't need the money, so there ought to be a good reason you're spending your time as you do if there's something else you'd rather be doing.

Of course, there are lots of good reasons to continue working past FI: charitable aspirations, interest in leaving a legacy, fear of a nasty bear market, planned lifestyle inflation, or simply because you love your job.

I like my job, but I don't love it, and I can think of lots of better uses of my time. I started working less last fall, and it's been a great transition.

:beer
-PoF
It doesn't cost much money to have food and a roof over our heads. The question is, what kind of food do we want, how big is that roof, and where is that roof located. If I remember correctly ERE (early retirement extreme) lives or lived on $7-$8k a year. I grew up in a 1200sqft home in a decent school district and I had a very happy childhood and turned out to become a physician. I have a friend who bought a 1.2 million house because he felt his kids couldn't possibly be happy in anything under 3000sqft with a big yard and a pool. This friend works 60-90 hours a week to pay for that house. Personally I think the kids would be happier if dad was around more often to play with them. But what do I know.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:54 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:04 pm
Did I stumble into MMM?

"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [censored] we don’t need."
We don't talk about fight club. Seriously though. MMM is a bit extreme on this topic especially since you don't see "Should I buy this Rolex?" thread in those forums. Animals always want what they don't have. I have two dogs. If I give them both a new chew toy within 5 minutes they swap because each dog wants the other dog's toy. This is every time and without fail. I think as humans we are no different. We see something newer and shiner on TV or via a friend and we want it also. But, if we never knew it existed life would have been just as good without it. Maybe even better because we have less [censor] to take care of.

KlangFool
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:01 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:54 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:04 pm
Did I stumble into MMM?

"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [censored] we don’t need."
We don't talk about fight club. Seriously though. MMM is a bit extreme on this topic especially since you don't see "Should I buy this Rolex?" thread in those forums. Animals always want what they don't have. I have two dogs. If I give them both a new chew toy within 5 minutes they swap because each dog wants the other dog's toy. This is every time and without fail. I think as humans we are no different. We see something newer and shiner on TV or via a friend and we want it also. But, if we never knew it existed life would have been just as good without it. Maybe even better because we have less [censor] to take care of.
EnjoyIt,

It may apply to you but not me. I had seen the cost of bigger and better houses did to my peers.

I believe in No Free Lunch (NFL) principle. There are costs and tradeoff on ownership. The more that we have and the more that it costs us more time and effort to maintain those stuff. In the end, those material things own us.

Less is more. Enough is the path to happiness.

KlangFool

golfCaddy
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by golfCaddy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:09 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:43 pm
If I remember correctly ERE (early retirement extreme) lives or lived on $7-$8k a year.
This thread has jumped the shark to argumentum ad absurdum territory. The federal government considers anything less than $12k/year poverty for a single person with zero dependents.

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Elsebet
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Elsebet » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:13 pm

I guess I work because when I was a kid I was always told that the proper path is school -> college -> job -> retire. My dad didn't generate the kind of assets that would give me any option otherwise. That said I do enjoy solving interesting, challenging IT problems at work, the problem is those opportunities are not always available.

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Toons
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by Toons » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:58 pm

For Me,,,,,Maslow
Food ,Shelter,Clothing.



"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Top99%
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Location: Austin, TX

Re: Why do we work?

Post by Top99% » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:28 am

I view the distribution of people's job satisfaction as a bell curve with the far left side consisting of people who work only for the money and would quit the instant they didn't need to money and the far right consisting of people who would work even if they had no need for the money. My job satisfaction has oscillated around an average probably about 1 standard deviation right of center. Basically I mostly enjoy what I do but my pay certainly matters too.
Adapt or perish

SGM
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by SGM » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:24 am

Initially I worked to be able to move out on my own. I found a series of interesting and challenging types of work. One of my first jobs gave me a lot of freedom and was the first program of its type in the state. My second and third careers were exciting and lucrative. I had national and international travel paid for by my employers. I worked until normal retirement age because I was always learning and contributing. Money was secondary, but I always planned on having a worry free retirement. Job security was never an issue as my skills were always in demand.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:51 am

Right now I am contemplating purchasing something nicer.

We are currently in need of a new receiver for our entertainment system. I have narrowed it down to two different receivers the Arcam AVR390 or the Arcam AVR550. They cost $2500 and $3400 respectively. Obviously I can buy an even less expensive Japanese unit. We need to buy something since the current Arcam AVR400 is not functioning. So here I am looking at buying something nicer and spending more money on it. Sure we could afford it but is it worth the extra $900 or am I about to purchase $900 of nicer that is noticeable on paper but having one or the other unit would provide no discernible increase in pleasure after a few weeks of use.

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cockersx3
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by cockersx3 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:49 pm

It has changed over the years for me. When I was fresh out of school, I worked because I wanted to make a difference in the world around me. I truly wanted to be a valuable member of the team, and truly wanted to someday become one of my very-senior peers whose inputs and opinions were constantly sought after. It was also the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me - no one else in my family had ever gone to college and/or had a "desk job," and after all the hard work of putting myself through school being able to live the life I wanted was so awesome. This continued, and even strengthened somewhat, once my wife and I had children. I was also fulfilling what I thought was a societal expectation that adults work and support themselves and their families as best as they can.

Later, I got very sick and spent several months away from work in recovery. It was at that point that I realized that my job didn't really value me in the same way. I had family and old friends coming out of the woodwork to help my family and I during a difficult time, yet the only contact I had from work was to determine when I'd be back there working again. In my absence there were several "crises" that didn't end well, and that I would likely have been able to handle better had I been there. That said, the company and I both survived.

Even later, when I returned from work, my company went through a management change. The new management valued cost far more highly than quality, and began systematically making life miserable for older, more highly compensated employees - including me - whuile promoting manu junior, less-exerienced personnel to roles inconsistent with their demonstrated abilities. I since left that organization to work somewhere else. But even though my employer has changed, I now know how quickly one can move from being "high potential" to a perceived "dead weight" and how little of that perception I can control.

Once all that happened, my reason to work changed to basically instead be supporting my family and saving to comfortably retire. My goal is to retire at 50, but I likely have enough to retire now if I moved to a more LCOL area and cut expenses. So to some extent, I think I also now work out of habit - I have been an employee for so long now that doing anything else is somewhat scary.

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randomizer
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by randomizer » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:04 pm

I work to get some time away from home. :D
75:25 — HODL the course!

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knpstr
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Location: Michigan

Re: Why do we work?

Post by knpstr » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:48 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:51 am
Right now I am contemplating purchasing something nicer.

We are currently in need of a new receiver for our entertainment system. I have narrowed it down to two different receivers the Arcam AVR390 or the Arcam AVR550. They cost $2500 and $3400 respectively. Obviously I can buy an even less expensive Japanese unit. We need to buy something since the current Arcam AVR400 is not functioning. So here I am looking at buying something nicer and spending more money on it. Sure we could afford it but is it worth the extra $900 or am I about to purchase $900 of nicer that is noticeable on paper but having one or the other unit would provide no discernible increase in pleasure after a few weeks of use.
And yet there are countless people getting along just fine without an entertainment system.

Why do we work? To pay other people to do things for us.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

FireProof
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by FireProof » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:53 pm

I don't - never enjoyed it.

AlphaLess
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:13 pm

I will throw-in my 2 cents.

Working is modern day slavery. In the days of slavery, most slaves worked so that they could earn their freedom. Once freed, they would work for themselves.

There are some deep parallels between that and working-to-retire schemes in modern day.

We work because:
- society conditions us to do so,
- we have to work for subsistence and survival,
- we can not and do not have another framework of existence.

There is a small percentage of people who do not need to work:
- those who started as 'having-to-work', but eventually made it big,
- those who are heirs of very rich people,
- those who can make a living while not working (socialites),

Now, it is true that most people enjoy working. However, it is hard to separate the feeling of enjoyment of a particular activity (e.g., research or programming), from having to do a specific version of it (doing this particular research that company needs, or programming this software).

I envision a world in which more and more economic output will be produced using non-humans (computers, robots, etc).

The majority of modern-day slaves will no longer be needed. So the society has to figure out what to do with them.
Last edited by AlphaLess on Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

golfCaddy
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by golfCaddy » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:20 pm

This thread seems to be constantly moving around the goal post. The difference in a $6k and a $3k audio system might not discernible for any but the extreme audiophiles. If you want to throw out crazy low numbers, like $7k/year, I spent that much on health insurance alone when I was on COBRA.

wrongfunds
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by wrongfunds » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:46 pm

We need to buy something since the current Arcam AVR400 is not functioning.
And to take care of this issue, you are buying another Arcam receiver :oops:

TheNightsToCome
Posts: 335
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:52 pm

volgograd wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:33 am
Personally I enjoy what I do and wouldn't trade it for any other profession. I make good money and work from home 4 days out of the week and love all my coworkers. Last year I switched job and took a 6 month break in between to travel. At the end of it I started getting bored and itching to go back working!
What is this wonderful profession?

FireProof
Posts: 545
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by FireProof » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:39 pm

For the vast majority of the hoi polloi, the simple fact that they spend any money they get, so they need a constant income stream to avoid destitution.

For the Boglehead elite, probably three major categories.

1. The excessively cautious - will the $3.7 million really tide me over until my pension and social security kick in?
2. The unreflective - it's normal to work until 67, so I will work until 67.
3. The unimaginative - but what would I do with all the free time? My main hobby is work.

AlphaLess
Posts: 346
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:53 pm

FireProof wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:39 pm
For the vast majority of the hoi polloi, the simple fact that they spend any money they get, so they need a constant income stream to avoid destitution.

For the Boglehead elite, probably three major categories.

1. The excessively cautious - will the $3.7 million really tide me over until my pension and social security kick in?
2. The unreflective - it's normal to work until 67, so I will work until 67.
3. The unimaginative - but what would I do with all the free time? My main hobby is work.
Upvote times 100.

AlphaLess
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:54 pm

golfCaddy wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:20 pm
This thread seems to be constantly moving around the goal post. The difference in a $6k and a $3k audio system might not discernible for any but the extreme audiophiles. If you want to throw out crazy low numbers, like $7k/year, I spent that much on health insurance alone when I was on COBRA.
I thought this was a philosophical thread.
Where did you see goal posts for this thread?
$7K a year on cobra: that's cheap. The one and only time when I could have used COBRA, it was $25K a year.

JoeRetire
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:58 pm

volgograd wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:33 am
Personally I enjoy what I do and wouldn't trade it for any other profession. I make good money and work from home 4 days out of the week and love all my coworkers. Last year I switched job and took a 6 month break in between to travel. At the end of it I started getting bored and itching to go back working!
Good for you!

Financial Independence is all about choices. Some choose not to work at all. Others choose to do work they enjoy. Both are reasonable choices.

After I retired, I consulted for 2 days per week - because I enjoyed it, not because I needed the money.

MathWizard
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by MathWizard » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:17 pm

Certainly to provide for my family, and to continue to do so in retirement.

I once had a college class where the instructor said "Suppose I
offered to guarantee you a B in the class with the provision that you no longer attend. How many would take me up on the offer?
Quite a few hands went up. (not mine though).

He then said that those who raised their hand were either wanting an A, or just wanted to get through the course, not to learn anything. He suggested that the latter re-examine why they were taking the class. He then went in to start the first lecture.

I think to that this is analagous to your question. Suppose someone guaranteed you the necessities. Would you then work?

I would, to the extent that I could make the world a better place.
When I no longer could do a good job, I would quit.

KlangFool
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:24 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:17 pm
Certainly to provide for my family, and to continue to do so in retirement.

I once had a college class where the instructor said "Suppose I
offered to guarantee you a B in the class with the provision that you no longer attend. How many would take me up on the offer?
Quite a few hands went up. (not mine though).

He then said that those who raised their hand were either wanting an A, or just wanted to get through the course, not to learn anything. He suggested that the latter re-examine why they were taking the class. He then went in to start the first lecture.

I think to that this is analagous to your question. Suppose someone guaranteed you the necessities. Would you then work?

I would, to the extent that I could make the world a better place.
When I no longer could do a good job, I would quit.
MathWizard,

Why do you need a job to make the world a better place? There are many other ways to make the world a better place.

KlangFool

PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:27 pm

I could retire, but enjoy working as a college professor because this work keeps me intellectually stimulated and helps me to continue to learn and to grow. I also view this work as socially progressive and enjoy helping others to achieve sophisticated learning.

As I’ve gotten older and rescued financial independence, I’ve cut down on the total amount of work I do and have focused my time on the specific work I enjoy the most, namely chairing doctoral students’ doctoral committees. If so extremely rewarding to work with a doctoral candidate for several years on a significant research project.

I’m fortunate to have so much flexibility to manage my workload. I’m in my 50s and don’t yet feel ready for retirement; the ability to work less doing the tasks I love the most moves me toward eventual retirement while ensuring that I avoid burnout.

Andy.

AlphaLess
Posts: 346
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Re: Why do we work?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:23 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:24 pm
Why do you need a job to make the world a better place? There are many other ways to make the world a better place.
KlangFool
BINGO!

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