I never have to work again.

August 21, 2012 · 22 comments

So I just finished reading a pretty awesome book, Love does. It’s written by this guy, Bob Goff, who has lived an incredibly interesting life (Don’t worry this blog post is not a book review). The book is broken up in to 31 different chapters, each chapter being a short story about something Bob did in his life and what he learned from it.

Take for example Bobs attempt to get in to law school. On the morning of his LSAT, he heard other kids talking about which prep class they took to prepare for the big test. Bob didn’t know such classes existed and all he had done was read a 100-page LSAT prep book he picked up from a local bookstore. Long story short, Bob did terrible on the test, which meant he was rejected from every school he applied to, all 23 of them. What Bob did next was incredible. A week before his dream law school (University of San Diego) started, he decided to go to the school’s Dean’s office and ask the Dean to grant him admission. He was denied. So every day until school started, Bob sat outside the dean’s office and would simply say “Just tell me to go buy my books” each time the Dean walked by.

The first day of law school passed. Then the second, and the third. Bob sat in front of the Dean’s office every day, hoping his tenacity would get him in. On the last day, of the first week of law school, the Dean walked directly up to Bob and said four words that changed his life forever; “Go buy your books.”

Fast-forward to today. Bob is now one of the most reputable lawyers in the country, he serves as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda, he teaches law at two different schools, he started a successful non-profit in Africa, and he has a hot-air balloon inside his living room. (fun fact: I’ve actually been to Bob’s Canada house as one of his best friends was a mentor of mine in San Diego)

In one of the chapters, Bob wrote something that turned my whole world upside down. He wrote, “Some time ago I stopped thinking about being a lawyer as a career. Instead, I think of it as just a day job. [...] Now when I put on a suit and tie or jump on a plane to go do a deposition, my wife and I call it “fund-raising.”

Fund-raising! That is exactly what my job is. When I transferred from San Diego to Seattle last year I was miserable. I lived 1,200 miles away from my wife. I wasn’t involved in Young Life. And I didn’t have a big community of friends. All I did was work., and I caught myself becoming increasingly more frustrated with my job.

But then something funny happened. Girl Ninja moved up here. I moved out of my parents house. I got plugged in with Young Life. And we met new people. As my life became significantly more fun, my job became exponentially less sucky. I haven’t gone to work now in over a year and it’s been wonderful. Now when I’m assigned a new case, I don’t think of it as another task on my “to-do” list, but instead a step closer towards traveling to Costa Rica with Girl Ninja, or another opportunity to pay the summer camp fees for a high school kid in need.

Moral of the story: I like fund-raising, I hate working.

On a scale of one to ten how happy are you at your job? Do you think your happiness is ever affected by what you do during non-working hours?

{ 22 comments }

1 Michelle

I love this post! This is how I try and think of work. It is all fund-raising for me.

2 Midwest

My enjoyment level can vary, but I would put it at an 8 out of 10 most of the time. It helps that our employer provides a gym, pool, ping pong tables, etc… to help us break up the day. Those things aside, I have always felt it comes down to your disposition. If you’re a naturally positive person it makes your day and sometimes those around you better.

It’s really up to you to decide if you’re going to have a good day or not.

3 Jennifer

I agree with this! I think that’s the case for anything in life, attitude can make all the difference.

4 Brian

I was at a 5 a few months ago, but now I am at am 8 or 9 since I got put on a new project and love it. Of course when I leave the office my work stays there and I go home and trying to get my 2 month old to smile at me and when he does it makes everything in the world good…

5 Larry

I long ago decided that my job was a job, not a career. I will give the best of myself while in the office and will work overtime as needed, but fundamentally I am not defined by my employer’s products or agenda. In one of my previous jobs, the only time I worked for a huge corporation, it was obvious that you were expected to eat, drink, breathe, and sleep (the latter of course as minimally as possible) the corporation’s mission, and since you can’t fake that, I eventually lost my position there and was out of work for the only 6-month period in my life.

But since my job is a job, when I get home nights and weekends I put my energies towards writing, reading, concerts-theaters-museums, and the like. At 64, with perhaps 1-3 years before retirement, I am now looking forward to the day when I can politely but sincerely and without the slightest regret kiss my job forever goodbye.

6 Jennifer

Great post, and I whole-heartedly agree! I have a wall in my cube with postcards hanging up from all the places I’ve traveled. When people ask about it I tell them it’s the “Wall of Why I Work”. They always chuckle but I say it’s true, and you can see it makes them pause and think. I like nice trips.

For me, I have to think of my current job as simply a means to an end. It’s not that I dislike the job itself, I actually quite like it. Pays well, no overtime, awesome benefits, great people to work with. But I have a disconnect between my personal beliefs and what my company produces, so that rubs me wrong. So I try to focus on all the good things my company does for charity instead :) I give my job happiness a 6 all things considered.

7 Larry

That’s very funny. To the left of my desk is a corkboard where I pin up 8x10s of photos from my travels. It gets changed every few months, but right now there are 3 of Venice, and 1 each of Paris, Helsinki, Bruges (Belgium), and Florence. Every once in a while I play guessing games with co-workers for them to identify the locations.

8 Midwest

I like your style. I have a desktop background on my work laptop from a trip my wife and I took. It’s looking out through the front window of my 76 vw bus as we approached the front range of the rockies near Co. Springs. It serves as a constant reminder of the great times had, and of those to come.

9 Daniel

This is partially how I get through the many different jobs I hold during college. I love my jobs, but with multiple part time jobs on top of school it can sometimes be overwhelming. So I always say to myself ‘The few hours today will pay for a ski trip’ or something similar. Now that I look at all of my jobs as if I’m just going skiing more, it becomes more fun.

We shall see what the real world will have in store for me when I get out of grad school.

10 Lesli ashley

What an awesome way to think about it. I’m going to try to adopt this mindset.

11 ParatrooperJJ

Nowdays of course he would have been arrested.

12 Bridget

hahahaha I like the idea.

Though if a student ever sat outside my office begging for admission I’d call security…

13 Matt

Great perspective my friend.

14 Jess Green

I like this perspective, and it goes double for me because I work in nonprofit and literally do fundraise for a living :)

15 Bethy @ Credit Karma

This is awesome. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Plus, I definitely believe that your attitude toward a situation is a big factor. Thanks for sharing this – might have to check out that book!

16 SavvyFinancialLatina

Love this post! It’s exactly how I like to think about my “job.”

17 Momninja

I am just stuck on the part that moving out of your parents house helped make things less sucky, Sigh! I am glad you have Girl Ninja, your own place and a place you are always welcome to call home!

18 Slackerjo

I don’t like my job mainly because it’s helping lazy people be more lazy and I am all about self sufficiency. The only good thing is that it pays well. It pays so well that when it’s time to review my career objectives with the boss in January, I am gonna ask her if I can work only 3 days a week. I can live very comfortably on 3 days pay and do other FUN things with the 4 days of my week. If she says no, I will look for other part time opportunities within the organization.

I am in a position to take advantage of this lifestyle. No debt, no dependents, plenty of savings. I am a horrible consumer.

The biggest challenge is convincing my boss that I have not lost my mind because I don’t want to move up the corporate ladder. Lack of ambition is always treated with suspicion as many equate it to lack of work ethic. So many employers pressure their employees to be super stars which just creates an atmosphere of stress. In my mind, just coming to work, doing your job and leaving at the end of the day is being a super star.

19 LolaB

I find that law school story frustrating … on what level did he deserve to get in? Use that time to study properly and take your chances like everyone else!!

But the ‘work as fundraising’ idea, I like that a lot.

20 Emily

I like the catchy term “fund-raising”. My job provides the cash I need to go off on my adventures. I had been looking at it that way, just didn’t have a catchy term for it. But is the job your in good for you if you know you have a skill set that could be used more effectively?

21 Ash @ Sterling Effort

I used to just consider my job fund raising too…but then one day a couple of months ago, I literally couldn’t take any more. I quit the hell right out of my sucky job without much of a plan about what I’m going to do next and I’ve never been happier. I do have some side hustles and decent savings though. I’m just looking forward to getting my independence, creativity and spirit back! :D

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