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I decided to be an under-achiever

March 30th, 2010 at 12:41 am

Work is still taking up all my time. I work 40-45 hrs a week...My boss works 50-55 hrs a week...and his boss works well over 60 hours a week.

Why do people aspire to be successful!? I don't get it. Yeah it's impressive to say you are president/vice president/program director/chair of this or that department...but after a person kind of looks at you in a subservient manner when they hear your title...where is the re-affirmation and sense of satisfaction!? When you get home at 9pm and realize you see your spouse sleeping more than awake? When it's the weekend and you are still thinking about work? When you feel guilty for leaving work at 5pm? When you get to enjoy beautiful weather walking from the office to your car in the evening?

I know people used to work hard because they could pass their business/skills onto their kids, and leave a legacy. But in today's corporate world- you cant leave anything to your kids. Once you quit/retire...you are replaced the next day and forgotten about within a year.

I don't know. I work hard because I have some weird need to please. I get a rush from a job well done. I work hard for the OFFER of promotion and bigger pay. I want to be recognized for my skills...but do I want my bosses job? No. I don't want his stress. Do I even want the position I am in line to be offered (hopefully when raise time comes in July)...maybe. I mean I think so. Well yes I can handle that job. That wont eat into my weekends and time off. I hope.

But I hope it doesn't become a slippery slope where I become accustomed to more and more stress and less and less life-living.

I know a sign of true wealth is when you don't have to work. You have either enough money that people are paid to work for you...or you have passive income that comes in while you golf.

So then are these guys who run around making $1-200k a year the real idiots who are trading in their life for a paycheck? Or are they maybe so in love with what they do that work has become their life- and "living" is the "work" to them? Or maybe they think they are on the brink of hitting "true wealth" where they can stop working altogether? Or maybe there is a bell curve- and once you are over the peek...you start making more and more money but can work less and less. I do see a lot of big players out there on yachts and have wondered how they have time to be partying on boats when somewhere a company is in need of being run.

I don't know. I am about as low on the totem pole as you can get. If there is a working bell curve out there, I have many years of sacrifice before I will even get to the peek...I am just not cut out for that. I am quitting now. (I am so Generation X..you would never hear a Baby Boomer saying this.)

I don't want to diminish my own job prospects (because I like being OFFERED), but I just don't see the trade off when you work your life away for a big title or paycheck.

Like someone commented in one of my previous posts, they "don't remember much from their work life, but will always cherish the memories spent with family." (I paraphrased).

5 Responses to “I decided to be an under-achiever”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Amen. I think it is somewhat Generational. Like, my boss can't give his business away right now. But really, who wants all the stress??? (No in in any younger generation, apparently. He's 65).

    I know people often confuse my *ambition* with this type of Corporate ladder climbing. If so, they don't know me at all. Wink I get paid damn well for a low stress, very flexible job. I have always seeked out employers who valued family/life balance and who reward flexibility for responsibility. (IF my work gets done, no one micro-manages me, nor my working hours). Honestly, up to this point, it hasn't been that hard to find. You just have to demand it for yourself. Most people would tell you it is impossible in my field, but I have the most awesome employer at the moment.

    Instead of "under achieving" I would call it, "Demanding better for myself." Wink

    Don't get me wrong. Worked my butt off in college, and worked about 3 years some INSANE hours to get my license. I think temporary spurts to get ahead are okay. But 40 years of that crap? Oy vey. What a sad existence.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    P.S. While I think the masses have a lot of jealousy for a lot of the big players, I never have. I have TOO MANY clients who make a lot of money. But the tradeoff is they have no life and never see their family. I've never understood the draw. I have 2 clients who are big VPs at investment brokerage houses and got these giant bonuses from taxpayer dollars, yadda yadda yadda. I can assure they lead miserable lives, 100-hour work weeks, never see their families. If it were me, I might do that for a few years and then retire. Wink The incomes these people live up to are absurd, and clearly unsustainable. But it's hard to feel a lot of hate for people who are so miserable emotionally and all. The joke is kind of on them, I feel.

  3. baselle Says:

    Well, there is workaholicism, just like shopaholicism, and alcoholism, and other forms of addiction. They work because that's all they have. They go home to eat and sleep and they have just enough time to do that. If you asked them about hobbies or what they do to rewind and recharge, you'll probably get a blank stare.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Well, for guys anyway, much of your sense of self-worth is tied up with how much you have accomplished, and even how much you make.

    It doesn't have to be the corporate ladder. Even if you're a musician, you yearn to break out of your mom's garage and go on big, nationwide tours. Even your hubby desired to be in the major leagues once, did he not?

    Now, I'm not saying I agree with that kind of Jonesing logic in general. I'm just explaining why, for guys anyway, there's always that underlying pressure to achieve. True or not, you believe that other men won't respect you, and women won't give you the time of day if you're not at least good at something... marketable.

    Another thing is that I think the idea of handing down a legacy is a very old notion. Like you said, it made financial sense back in the day when your kids can work on the same farm you've built or something, but today, that doesn't really matter as much. My parents and I are only interested in doing what will give the children the best chances possible for their future. If they're happy and grow up well, that's legacy enough for me.

    The only people (person) that I've ever heard about passing down a legacy is a narcissist who honestly should not be having children in the first place. He did not care about anybody else. He only cared about wanting people to think how great he is. I really despise people like that.

    Um, but yeah anyways, I personally don't follow the Jonesian thing, even when it comes to pursing a career or climbing some corporate ladder. I know that true happiness is not found there. But still, as a guy, even for a converted Fruggie, I can tell you the unspoken pressure to achieve is tremendous. People aren't rude when they look at me, but I can sort of tell they don't think much of me and that I should be doing more. Lamentable that the virtues of frugality is largely invisible.

  5. fern Says:

    I agree with you, big time!

    Not to say that I don't work hard and do a very good job of what I do. I pride myself on that, in fact. But I've always disliked working much past regular business hours (9 to 5) and I don't like work time intruding on my own personal time. there's always been a lot of unspoken pressure to stay late, work through lunch, etc., but i've resisted it and if it's hurt my future prospects, so be it. Work for me is only a means to an end and i look forward to bidding farewell to the corporate work world at the earliest opportunity, when it's financially feasible for me to do so.

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