Years ago I was trying to figure out what I was doing about a job I didn’t really like. I wasn’t happy there and wanted to make a change, but I wasn’t sure how to do it yet. I talked to some of my family while my grandfather sat there listening.
After complaining about my job for a few minutes, there was a brief pause in the conversation and my grandfather spoke up and said quietly but firmly: “Well, you’re not supposed to like it.”
I was surprised to hear him say that about my work, and at the time I thought he might have a different perspective on work than I did, which was true. But over the years, I have come to appreciate even more what he was trying to say.
Work may not always feel fulfilling, and sometimes it is just a practical tool we use to earn the money we need.
What my grandfather was right about
My grandfather was a young boy while the United States was in the throes of the Great Depression. He grew up during a very difficult economic time when jobs and money were scarce. My grandfather didn’t go to school for long, but he finished eighth grade before stopping.
He later joined the Navy, joining just before World War II ended, and worked as an electrician for a power company for more than three decades before retiring. This business supported his wife and five children for years.
So when he told me, “You’re not supposed to like this,” he was talking about a life experience in which his work was something he was proud of but probably wasn’t something he always loved doing. It was a means to an end that was satisfactory in itself; It’s not like most LinkedIn influencers say about job satisfaction.
How has this perspective helped me with my finances?
I occasionally reflect on what my grandfather taught me and how I can apply it to my personal finances to stay focused on goals.
For example, I’m currently paying off some of my credit card debt, which is not fun at all. There are other things I would rather spend my money on, but I remain focused on paying it forward. It’s a simple principle of slowly working towards a goal, even if the daily routine isn’t exciting. I also plan to buy a house, which requires more financial constraints and long-term goal setting.
Years ago, when I was looking for a new job, I read a lot of books, blogs, and listened to podcasts, and they all suggested one thing: Don’t give up until you find something new. I didn’t have that option anyway because I was providing for my family, but it reminded me that leaving some things out can definitely be worth the sacrifice.
The good news is that you don’t have to get up and get to work. There are some great tools that can make it easier to reach your financial goals, including using some great budgeting apps.
Maybe you don’t need to change jobs or pay off debt, but if you want to save for a house, learn a new skill, or provide financial assistance to people you love, it’s worth remembering that this will probably involve some work you haven’t done. I do not like him.
I managed to change my job to something I liked better, but I still think about my grandfather’s advice when I was doing something I didn’t prefer. I would tweak my grandfather’s business advice and phrase it this way:
SometimesYou’re not supposed to like it.
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