Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Work for Love or Work for Money?

It is an age old question that doesn't have a right or wrong answer. Both sides can make a very good case for their point of view. To me, it's all about choosing trade offs between two different options. I have worked for love and worked for money. Here's the main trade off I've experienced:
  • Working for love. When I work for love, it feels like I am doing paid volunteer work. The key elements are: 1) Work hours accommodate my schedule; 2) People are great colleagues; 3) Work is compatible with my interests and strengths; and 4) Management is grateful that I am an employee. Basically, it's about as fun as work can get.

    However, I only earn about 5 to 10% of what I was paid in my "work-for-money" job. Since money is not a main reason for working, I can resign from any job that stops being "fun."

  • Working for money. The biggest benefit is the compensation, including salary, bonus, insurance, and vacation. This job enabled us to save about 20% of salary, have no debt except for a mortgage, and retire in our forties.

    Working for money required a lot of commitment, often involving 60+ hours a week, business travel and being accessible 24/7 when needed. For me, working for money took up most of my time, and seemed to be a significant portion of my life.
  • As I wrote earlier, there is no right or wrong choice. Since retiring, I get much more enjoyment from working for love, but my work-for-love options pay much less. Therefore, I am glad that I worked for money at a younger age, when I had the capacity and commitment for the effort required in a work-for-money job.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

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

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