Let me be the first to come out and say that I never thought I would say that I hated a job that brought home six figures. And let me tell you why:
- I grew up dirt poor and lived on welfare as a kid.
- I slept on the floor of my grandmother’s two bedroom apartment with my other 4 brothers. Which by the way, the house was in a very poor neighborhood and was a part of section 8 housing, which means the rent was subsidized by the government. So normal rent might have been $1,000/month. However my grandmother was only responsible for $125/month, which she struggled to pay.
- My mother has never held down a job in her entire life. She has and continues to live off the government to this day…My taxes along with all the other tax payers in this country are paying for it. The sad part is she is perfectly able to work. However, drugs and alcohol get the best of her.
- My father has spent at least 10 years of his life behind bars for manufacturing meth…yes, at one point in my life I lived the real “Breaking Bad”.
So now you get a decent picture of the hand I was dealt when I entered into this world. Statistically speaking I should be in jail right now, but I’m NOT. I have been fortunate over the years to find positive influences that help guide me away from the only life I knew.
When I was in middle school I met a man by the name of Dan H. To this day he and his family are my family and always will be. Dan owned a pizza place when I was in middle school and would let kids come in and fold pizza boxes for free pizza and soda. Needless to say, I started hanging around the pizza place a lot. We never could afford to go out for pizza at home.
The short story is that Dan became like a father figure and eventually invited me to come and live with his family after speaking with my mom. This was a huge turning point in my life. The deal was that I had to keep up my grades and give him progress reports once a week. I went from having a GPA of 1.33 to being a 4.0 student, just because someone cared enough to hold me accountable.
I lived with H’s for about a year before moving to Southern California to live with my dad and brothers. They were shocked to say the least, but they didn’t think it was their place to tell a 12-year-old kid that he couldn’t go live with his dad and brothers. Before I made the move they chatted with my grandfather to make sure that he would look out for me in the event things did not work out…and he assured them that he would.
My father was arrested yet again for manufacturing meth and was hauled back to prison 3 short months after I moved in with him. I went on to live with my grandparents through the rest of middle school and high school. My grandfather was another hugely influential person in my life. He and my aunt were the only ones to attend college (until I joined the club).
So if we fast forward to present times, we are now in October of 2014 and I have seen tremendous success with my career and the amount of money that I make. Now that you know a little about my background you can see why I never thought I would be unhappy with a job that pays 6 figures, given that I came from nothing. To put things into perspective, I earn more in a month than my mom has ever made in an entire year.
So Why Do I Hate My Job?
First and foremost, the job no longer stimulates me. Many of the things I do are just flat-out boring to me, and I really don’t see the point. More importantly, my work is not making a difference in the world, at least not from my vantage point.
You’re probably wondering what I do for a living???
I currently work in corporate finance in the construction industry…Please don’t fall asleep on me just yet. I only recently made the move to the company a little over 6 months ago. The short story is that my wife and I bought a house that was way too far to my previous place of employment in the action sports industry. So after trying to work out a compromise to work remotely a few days a week (that failed miserably), I decided to take the first job I was offered close to where my wife and I had just bought a home.
There was no way in hell that I was going to start commuting again (I did that right out of college and hated it). I would have been on the road for 3-4 hours a day. Time is a form of currency that I value way too much to make that sacrifice. Time is the only resource that you can never get back, once it’s gone, it is gone for good.
Now don’t take this the wrong way, I was able to move inland and save $300k and get 4 times the house vs. what we could afford in the OC. My cost of living has gone down significantly and I was able to maintain my OC salary, which is not typical. The people I work with are awesome! The company is growing 30% a year with plenty of opportunity. The problem is that my work doesn’t excite or challenge me. I am not impacting anyone’s lives.
I need to build a career that makes a dent in the world.
The good news is that I am only 28 years old (or i will be in a few weeks) and have plenty of runway to pivot. When I graduated college it was all about chasing the dollar and in 6 short years I was able to put in enough hard work to earn a 6-figure salary. But along the way I learned that the money alone is not enough to make me happy.
Oh…and I have the entrepreneurial bug.
What to do when you hate your job?
To some this is a very easy question to answer. Quit.
However, it’s not as easy for me to do now that I own a house and have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. I have what they call “golden handcuffs.” But that doesn’t mean I am not taking steps to get out of this situation. Here is what I didn’t tell you. I have had this urge to go off on my own (whatever that means) for the past couple years. But I have been paralyzed by the fear of failure. Not the fear that I would fail at building a profitable business…but that I would fail my wife and that it would take us off course from the life we have been building together over the past 9 years (yes, 9 years, married 2.5).
So last October when my father in-law had a heart attack we both sat down and reevaluated what was important in life. We were living this extravagant lifestyle in the OC because it felt like the right thing to do…everyone else was doing it (so we bought into the rat race of keeping up with the Jones’s). At the time we were bringing in a combined $170K/year, but that doesn’t go as far as you think when you are living the “good life.” Shortly after my wife’s dad got out of the hospital we started looking for houses in Wildomar (family was way more important than status), which for those not familiar is about 60 miles from Newport Beach/Costa Mesa where we were living.
Cutting Expenses while upgrading our lifestyle
Back in 2013 before my father in-law’s heart attack, we had been looking at houses we could afford in the OC. Everything we were looking at cost $550-$650K for a tiny 1,200 sqft house with absolutely no backyard. By moving inland we spent almost half the money ($370K) and bought a huge 3,300 sqft house on 0.25 acres. By making family a priority, the added benefit was that we were actually able to take huge steps in reducing our expenses and upgrading our lifestyle. To give you an idea of the savings:
1) We were spending $3,000/month on rent. Our mortgage with taxes and our HOA is $2,215/month. However we also get the tax savings which brings our effective cost to $1,900/month. Estimated $1,100/month savings.
2) My wife was driving 120 miles a day for work and I was driving about 30. We now drive a combined 25 miles a day, saving money on both gas and tolls. Estimated $500/month savings.
3) By moving and buying something much cheaper, we were able to pay off my student loan debt. Estimated $150/month savings.
Total Estimated monthly savings of $1,750/month.
Started a business to diversify our income (and slowly loosen the golden handcuffs)
In January of 2013 I decided to start a consulting business targeted at online based businesses, providing digital marketing and analytics. I went out and hustled and got a few clients, which to date I have billed out about $15K in services, grossing about $1,650/month. After expenses I net about $1,000/month due to some outsourcing for work that is not in my wheelhouse.
Unlocked the rental income sitting in 1 of 5 bedrooms in my house
More recently, my wife and I decided that our house was set up perfectly to rent out a room. We have a two-story house with 4 bedrooms upstairs (our master included) and 1 bedroom downstairs. Once the decision was made I did a little research on Craigslist to see what rooms were going for and then priced ours accordingly. Most of the rooms I saw were for an average of $400/month, however our house was in a better location, had more upgrades, better amenities…and we have a house cleaning service that comes once a month. All said and done, we landed at $600 a month. Our new roommate Troy moved in on Sunday.
Total Estimated monthly income increase of $1,600/month.
Over the last 9 months we have been able to put an extra $3,350/month in our pocket either through expense savings or additional income. That is a huge step in the direction of being in a position to step away from the job I hate and do the work that I am passionate about full-time that will make a difference in the world and empower my generation.
Start, grow, and monetize a blog
This leads us perfectly to present day. It was only 7 days ago today that I got the push from Scott of “Live Your Legend” to finally get this blog started. I have no idea how I am going to monetize it, but I am confident that it will naturally happen in the process of delivering some incredible content and value to my audience. It may even take me years like it did Scott. I don’t care how long it takes because this is the work that makes me happy. I would love nothing more than to help people get what they want every day for the rest of my life…EVEN IF I DIDN’T GET PAID FOR IT!
This is how I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.
– Gen Y Finance Guy