You may have experienced this pattern before. You start a brand new job and work extremely hard in the beginning to establish yourself and your reputation. At first, the nature of the work is extremely challenging. You are constantly learning and trying to keep up with your coworkers. You find yourself staying late at the office just to get by.
As time passes however, you become adept at your job. You find ways to do your work faster and more efficiently. You become proficient and an expert at what you do. As more time passes, you feel comfortable and at ease with your job. You find yourself able to finish all of your work in an 8 hour day. You have more free time to spend at home. Things become cushy. Is it time to leave?
I was chatting with a close friend of mine over the weekend about complacency at the workplace. Turns out that he recently quit his job to join a company that builds completely different products than his last firm. While the nature of his work will be fairly similar, the culture and pace of his new company will be a brand new experience. Inevitably, he will have to work longer hours as well.
So I asked him why he changed jobs. After all, he has a wife and child at home whom he loves spending time with. His former job was a 9-5 type job that lent him plenty of time at night to hang out with his family. In addition, he never had to work weekends and the job itself was pretty low stress. Why did he give all of that up for a new job where he’ll have to work many more hours and re-establish himself? Why did he sacrifice the additional family time for a new job that is more demanding?
My friend has a policy when it comes to work. He never stays at any company longer than 3-4 years and he’ll leave even earlier if he starts to feel complacent at any time. He describes his job hopping behavior as an itch that develops when he starts any job that can only be scratched by switching companies.
In short, he always leaves his company if any of the following are true.
- He’s not learning anymore
- Company politics are getting in the way of work
- He’s getting bored at work
- He’s doesn’t feel like he needs to challenge himself anymore
His reasons seem fundamentally sound. Why stay at a job if you feel complacent? Why stay if you are bored?
While I agree with all of his reasons for switching companies, I can’t help but feel as though he’s missing out on a completely different opportunity. What opportunity am I referring to?
If your current job pays you enough to support your family and it also provides you with lots of free time, why not use that free time towards your financial independence? Why take on another job that will make you work longer hours for someone else?
At the end of the day, those additional hours of work at the new job are still going towards benefiting someone else. Those extra hours are not going to put more money in your bank account except for maybe a small raise.
Cushy = Opportunity
If you ever want to break out of the rat race and be your own boss, there’s no better time than when you have a cushy job. I’m not saying that you should slack off in any way. You should still perform at your peak while you are on the job. But you should finish your work as quickly and as efficiently as possible so you can go home and work on your independence.
People always make the excuse that starting their own business is risky. But when you start a business on the side, you still have your entire salary from your paycheck and there is absolutely no risk whatsoever. You will continue to be paid while devoting your extra time towards something more meaningful.
What Can I Possibly Accomplish On The Side?
You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish with the time away from work. Hypothetically speaking, if you get off work at 6pm and eat dinner, that leaves about 3-4 hours a night that you can put towards your own business. Couple that with the weekends and you can get a serious amount of work done.
If you want to think about it in a different way, you are devoting the extra hours you would have been working at your new job towards your own venture. All of your time goes directly to your own top line.
Should You Stay At Your Cushy Job?
The revised answer to this question should be a resounding yes, but only if you eventually want to be your own boss. Your cushy job presents a unique opportunity in which you can make a full salary while challenging yourself at the same time.
But heck, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to live the rest of your life working for someone else if that’s what you want to do. But wouldn’t it be nice to give yourself the ultimate challenge?
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