Nick Maggiulli’s from Ritholtz explains in this piece why cushy jobs i.e. jobs where you have to do very little and get paid a lot of money (which are exactly the sort of jobs most people want) can turn you prematurely into a vegetable: “I can see the appeal. Compared to putting in 70+ hour weeks or working a job that you hate, this is a far better situation. But, most people who idealize this lifestyle probably haven’t considered the costs associated with it. You might be thinking, “What costs? How could getting paid to not work be a bad thing?”
Because, when you get paid to do very little, you end up giving up two of the most important things in your life—your time and your purpose. Ex-U.S. President Richard Nixon summarized this idea beautifully in this interview:
The unhappiest people of the world are those in the international watering places like the south coast of France, and Newport, and Palm Springs, and Palm Beach. Going to parties every night. Playing golf every afternoon, then bridge. Drinking too much. Talking too much. Thinking too little. Retired. No purpose.
As so, while I know there are those who would totally disagree with this and say, “Gee, if I could just be a millionaire that would be the most wonderful thing. If I could just not have to work everyday. If I could just be out fishing or hunting or playing golf or traveling, that would be the most wonderful life in the world.”
They don’t know life. Because what makes life mean something is purpose. A goal. The battle. The struggle. Even if you don’t win it.”
Nick then links this insight to investing and explains that why it makes sense to think carefully about how you invest your time: “Compounding also explains why you shouldn’t settle for a nice paycheck from an easy job. Because every second you spend doing something that you don’t find fulfilling is another second you aren’t doing something that you do find fulfilling. It’s another second without challenge, without drive, and without purpose.
Once you understand this, it completely changes how you look at the world. You quickly realize that life isn’t about maximizing reward while minimizing effort. It’s about finding what you like to do, and doing it for as long as you can. Much like investing, it’s all about staying in the game.
Unfortunately, so many people don’t. Benjamin Franklin said it best: I’ve seen men die at the age of 25, yet buried at the age of 75.”
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