Friday, May 25, 2007

Quit Today

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” - Lily Tomlin

I have started reading Die Broke by Stephan Pollan. The first recommended strategy is Quit Today. Mr. Pollan doesn't mean quitting one's job. He means quit chasing the unattainable goal of a career that is rewarding emotionally and financially and one that fulfills a personal life mission. A job, he points out, should be put into the context of one's overall life and a job's primarily purpose is to produce income so that one can achieve one's life goals. Finally, one should do excellent work in one's job, and also have a life.

Overall, I agree with the strategy. When he wrote the book in the 90s, "quit today" was great advice. Many people were following the approach of making a career one's life work. However, being inextricably linked with one's job can be devastating, either when the job is eliminated or when one is no longer getting promoted.

However, in my personal experience, I have done best financially when I was very focused on my career. During those times, I took on the toughest assignments, worked long hours and weekends, and delivered great business results. I was rewarded with higher compensation and promotions. It was during this time in my career that our wealth increased the fastest.

Thus, to me "quit today" doesn't mean "never do it." I interpret "quit today" to mean "know when to stop." My build on this strategy is to be ruthlessly opportunistic at the appropriate points in one's career. During these times, work life balance is skewed heavily toward work and one can significantly build wealth. However, one should also realize that the "extreme" focus on work may not be sustainable. Eventually most of us need to be able to "quit today" and go back to a more sustainable work life balance.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

Photo Credit:, Paul Anderson

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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