“I Don’t Need To Get a Job. I Don’t Need the Money!”Posted by Cap on July 9, 2010 |
As I uttered the line above to my friend, her eyes widen in disbelief.
“What do you mean you don’t need money?”
“Well, uh, you know,” I stammered, suddenly realized how stupid I sounded. “I make an okay amount of money on the side, I don’t think I really need a full time job right now.”
She shook her head in utter annoyance.
It’s been about an hour since we started the discussion about how I can at times be a flake, never committing 100% to school or work.
“You need to commit to one or the other,” the infinitely more matured friend told me. “You should just get a full-time job right now and better your working habits.”
Somewhere along the conversation, I clamor out the now forever brilliant line.
“I don’t need to get a job. I don’t need the money!”
In retrospect, this was probably another moment where I showcased my occasional twisted value system to my friend.
This conversation happened about two years ago, when I was floating around contract jobs along with part and full-time school. I was far from being a kid fresh out of high school, yet I still held some moronic beliefs at the time. The act of recounting this story has now induced about fifty involuntary facepalm.
In many ways, my friend was the complete opposite of me. She was extremely goal oriented, focus, and unwavering in regards to her academics and career. If you were to ask me about solid work ethic, I would promptly point you to my friend as a prime example.
My problem — if you can even call it that — was that I’ve never had a real issue with money. Now, don’t get me wrong, long time readers will remember that I’ve accumulated over $10,000 in credit card debt from buying crap. But I was able to wipe that debt out within a year with a mindset and spending habit change.
I was able to do this while in college, without a full-time job, and yes, without specifically asking for assistance from parents.
I’ve never fully elaborated in details on how I was able to pay down the debt through the years of running this blog, instead, I’ve focused mainly on spending habits and savings mindset — because I’ve always believed that my situation was not exactly replicable.
Back in 2002, I had an online business while I was a freshmen in college, selling miscellaneous car parts. The parts with the highest margin would cost under $20 for a hobbyist to buy, and it was a no-frills just-for-fun part.
I took a risk and pluck down about a thousand dollar to order the initial parts, built a website/storefront, and through word-of-mouth, banner ads here and there along with specific advertising on certain car forums, I was able to make a decent income from a decisively non-full time job.
I’ll wake up in the morning, see the orders and money in my PayPal account, and spend an hour each morning fulfilling orders, printing out shipping labels, packaging parts, and shipping them out. If you’ve ever wonder why I wrote a post about printing postage online from home, now you know why.
During my sophomore year, I got a job at Bank of America, working in back-end operations, processing checks etc. The shift was usually from 5 to 9 PM. I probably didn’t need the additional income at the time, but I thought it would be a good experience to get a job that required me to conform to a set schedule. I most likely would have kept working at the processing center through my time in college, had Bank of American not closed it down and laid all of us off.
This time period was when the crazy spending started. I had dual income. I was barely 21 years old, the money was rolling in and my priorities was all over the place.
Money was never a real problem for me. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have any money, the problem was simply that I was spending more money than I was earning. Which luckily for me, was relatively easy to fix.
It was through this period, and other subsequent events that I developed a strange attitude of “not needing a job” and “not needing money.”
There’s no doubt that I was a spoiled brat. Through some amount of work, slight risk taking, and fortuitous timing, I’ve always been able to make money whenever the need arise.
Ever since I became conscious of my spending, I was able to pile my savings up whenever I have income. And when the income dries up for whatever reason? I just stopped spending. I was a college student. My tuition was paid for via grants and out of my own pockets. I didn’t have a mortgage, student loan, car payment, or any major financial responsibility. Money? Who needs money, I thought to myself.
“You’re giving me an ‘I-want-to-slap-you-silly’ look,” I told my friend after I uttered the infamous line.
“That’s because you’re a moron,” she said promptly. “You may not need the money, but what about your family?”
“What about your mom? She’s been working for the past 30 years. She bought a house for your sister and you to grow up in. She’s still paying the mortgage off.”
“What about your sister? She bought a house during the peak of the housing bubble and is now struggling as the recession hits full on.”
“And what about your dad? He’s also been working for the past decades. I know you’ve never touch the money he sent you because you’ve set it aside, but maybe perchance he may need some help too?”
The New York Times recently published a piece about a Colgate University graduate named Scott, highlighting him somewhat as a sample of recent college graduates “struggling” to find a job. Readers promptly ripped Scott apart in the comments because he decided to pass up a $40,000 a year job as he believes the job may lead to a dead-end career path. With his degree from a high-end university, Scott expects a higher starting salary and a career path to match.
Scott, and at a time, myself, believed that we didn’t need just any job. That we didn’t need the money. Scott is amongst the fortunate minority that was able to finish school without debt, thanks to tuition and board paid by his grandparents. He has no overhead, no debt, and thus he believes it affords him flexibility in looking for work. While his perspective is understandable, especially considering his family is far from struggling financially, Scott’s attitude is telling.
Never before have there been a generation so vastly full of themselves. As a millennial, I’ve met a wide ranging group of people within my generation. Many of us are indeed spectacularly intelligent, full of drive, energy, and the know-how to change the world. But for every world-changer, there are hundreds of thousands of us that are just normal.
We’ve expected a lot, because some of us were told to expect a lot. We’ve dreamed big, because some of us were told the sky is the limit. If you’re holding out on a job, because you “don’t need the money” — because you don’t need that particular job, consider the fact there are thousands out there dying to get what was offered to you.
To be sure, there are many of us that have the option to choose, whether because of hard work or thanks to some fortunate luck-of-the draw, its the way the world works. Life certainly isn’t fair, and some of us are simply in a better situation. Its okay to go for your dreams and take advantage of any opportunities presented to you.
But if there’s any inkling that you may be sacrificing the livelihood of your family, of your parents, of your grandparents, of anyone that you may care about — you should step back and consider the situation fully. In one of the greatest recession of modern time, a little bit of humility and self reflection can go a long, long way.
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