Your Money or Your Life

The author of How To Find Fulfilling Work, recommended YMOYL as a good companion book. It’s got a nine step program to breaking the shackles, with no huge surprises but some good mantras and quotable bits. Step 1 is figuring out how much you’ve ever made in your working life, and what do you have to show for it now (assets/liabilities). I like the framework of Step 2: Tracking your life energy (how much does your job really cost you if you include various things like commuting, the beer after work to wind down, etc.), which also advocates tracking every penny that enters/leaves your life. This leads to Step 3: Where does the money go, where you balance your income and outgoing totals then convert those dollars into hours of life energy. This leads to thinking twice about buying something you don’t need because it took you 20 hours of life energy to earn that money.
Step 4 requires you to look at your spending categories and ask if you got fulfillment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to how much life energy you expended. Step 5 makes visible your progress, in the form of a wall chart to see income/expense, to keep you mindful of the program. Step 6 is to minimize spending by practicing intelligent use of life energy (money). Step 7 is to maximize income and break the link between work and wages. How do you want to spend the remaining hours you have on the planet? Break the link between who you are and what you do for a living. Step 8 is about the crossover point where your expenses are covered by your monthly investment income. Step 9 is managing your finances long term.
My favorite bits along the theme of employement always center around the history of work, looking at this from an evolutionary perspective:

For most of human history, people only worked for two or three hours per day. As we moved from agriculture to industrialization, work hours increased, creating standards that label a person lazy if she doesn’t work a forty-hour week… The very notion that everyone should have a job only began with the Industrial Revolution.

“Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.”