Often when I ask workshop participants what motivates them to come to work, the response is “the money”
Indeed employment contracts confirm we are taking on a role, for these hours, in this place(s) and in return we will give you a salary of £x, some holiday and some benefits.
My next question is then: “So, why is money top of your list?”
To be able to pay the bills, support my family, have a nice car, holidays, socialise…
When I worked my HR Business Partner job and was facing yet another organisational restructure I came to the conclusion that in reality I frittered a lot of my hard earned salary on stuff – stuff I didn’t really need and often actually didn’t want. I, therefore, decided that taking a redundancy package would not only be ok as it would cover my lifestyle expenses for a while, but actually I could live on much less and eventually get a job working with much less pressure and responsibility.
After the initial excitement of being free from the corporate slog and taking an extended career break the reality of life without work became clear. I had lost a sense of purpose, no-one expected me to stand up and deliver, all the colleagues I had been surrounded by had melted into the virtual world; I was lost. With my partner and friends out at work all day, I was isolated.
My redundancy package was slowly disappearing and all the jobs I looked at applying for just conjured up pictures of becoming a wage slave again.
Truth is money is a resource, much like our skills, knowledge, experience, people we know, stuff we surround ourselves with.
So, I asked myself 2 questions:
- Up until now what have I made less important than money?
- Up until now what I have I made more important than money?
I had to put my big girl’s pants on. I got really clear on what I had enjoyed about my work and what had frustrated me. I rediscovered the hobbies and interests I had before “the job got in the way”. I signed up for courses and met some amazing new people.
All of this led me to the realisation that I wanted to try working for myself, doing the work I loved but on my terms. 9 years later, I can’t pretend it has been easy. There have been times when I have thought “this is never going to work, I’ll have to become a wage slave again” However, with determination, the resolve to confront my fears around selling and putting myself out there, and the willingness to let go of perfectionism, to diversify and evolve, have all led me to now - work that I love, with clients that I love and a lifestyle that I love.
No, I don’t earn the salary I once did, nor do I have the benefits that I once had but I’m much more content.
If I had my time again, what would I do differently?
- Before leaving my job, I would have spent the time to get clear on where I wanted to get to.
- I’d have adopted Michael Neill’s approach to salary by developing a self-employed mind-set:
- Open a savings account
- Every amount of money received, pay into the savings account
- Work out how much money I need to live a comfortably frugal life
- Pay myself that out of my savings account as a monthly salary
- Let the savings reservoir grow in my FREEDOM FUND
- I would have worked less unpaid hours and used my own time to start developing my business dreams
Self-employment certainly does not suit everyone. I honestly believe that the same principles apply if being employed is your preference – the best time to start looking for another job is when you are already in one.
If you are just “doing it for the money” – how are you selling yourself, your family and your life short?
What choices can you make today to change your mind-set from wage slave to one of financial freedom? Start with asking the questions, I asked myself...you never know where your answers may take you.