The conventional delusion about self actualisation at work centres around the notion of The Gift. Turns out we all have a special gift – our creative contribution to the world – and if we want to be completely deliriously happy in life we must share this gift with the humankind. In theory this should render retirement redundant1. All you need to do is recognise what your gift is and then find a way to make this into a career and be compensated for it. Which brings me to the 33rd annual British Social Attitudes Survey.
The Survey found that, in 2015, 71% of people in work said they had a “good job”, and 62% said they would carry on working even if they didn’t need the money. Blimey, looks like the 62% are living a dream.
If asked, I’d say that I have a good job, and, objectively, I do. It’s interesting a lot of the time, I spend my days in a warm, reasonably quiet, well lit office in a comfortable chair in front of a properly positioned screen – all vetted by workplace health and safety consultants – away from heavy mining equipment, jackhammer noise, flying bullets, and such. Would I continue doing it if I didn’t need the money? No.
I was therefore surprised by recent blog posts on Monevator and SexHealthMoneyDeath where folks put forward reasons in favour of working hard to achieve financial independence and then… carrying on working. Huh?
To each his own, I guess, and there’s no accounting for milkshake flavours, and if you have indeed found your gift and are sharing it with the world within the context of paid employment then more power to you. But in that case, why be financially independent? An intelligent chap with a marketable set of skills not opposed to learning some new tricks as times move on will never be in want of employment opportunities. There may be some compromises, but there are always compromises. If it were me, I’d take this and use it as an excuse for buying tickets and eating out. Alas, I hate shopping.
However since my gift does not lie in securitisation vehicles (which at least to some extent is a relief) it’s reasonably certain that I’m not going to have a “but I still have so much to contribute” moment when I reach FI. I’ll very happily give up this:
For more of this, this, and this:
All being well, it’s just nine more years left to go.
- Bummer if your special gift is giving people retirement advice.