Wealth and Work: In it for the Money?

Work and Wealth: In it for the Money?

Are you doing your job just for the money?

Our jobs can easily become a simple means to an end.  We work to get paid so we can pay for shelter, clothing, food, transportation and a bunch of other things we may or may not need.

The good news is we have the power and the capacity to change our attitude toward our work, without needing to change the work itself.  Of course if you have an opportunity to change jobs to better align your work with your calling, by all means seize it.  In reality, those opportunities rarely present themselves if we haven’t already adjusted our attitude in our current situation.

We have the power and the capacity to change our attitude toward our work.  [Tweet]

A Simple Attitude Adjustment Exercise

For starters, try beginning your work day writing down different ways you can best serve your customers, clients, colleagues, supervisors, and anyone else you might interact with that day.  If thoughts come up like, “I’m not getting paid enough to do that,” or “that isn’t part of my job,” write those thoughts down on a separate column or page.

Review your lists and ask yourself

  • Which person would I rather work with?
  • Which person is more likely to be given more responsibility?
  • Which person is more likely to be promoted?

Make sure you follow through on at least one of the ideas for serving others during the day.

At the end of the day take 5 minutes to write down then names of those you served, and how you served them.  Reflect back on their responses.  How did it make you feel after serving someone well?  As you do this day after day you will find your passion for your work will slowly increase, and your concern about money decrease.

You may find that your change in attitude toward your work and your increased passion to serve others well will present new opportunities or promotions, and money will no longer be something you worry about.

Letting Go: Work and Parkinson’s Law

lettingGo_WORK Letting go of work?!  Where do I sign up?

Before you get too excited, I am not suggesting you give up working or that work is bad.

I am suggesting that we tend to let work take over our lives in unhealthy and unproductive ways.


Let me start with Parkinson’s Law (click here for a helpful article).

Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.


Did you catch that? It’s our fault that we work too much. We assign more time for tasks than is necessary to accomplish them, and often create more stress and worry by allowing ourselves more time to think about something we should have already been able to complete.

 Imagine you are at work, and the boss gives you an assignment Tuesday morning with a due date of Friday morning:

Your brain subconsciously does the math (T-W-T-F = 4 days), counting Friday as a whole day even though the assignment is due that morning, and you automatically assign the project a 4-day time value for completion.

Only, the assignment could probably be completed in the next hour before you go to lunch.

For the next 2 1/2 days you use this looming assignment deadline as an excuse to miss meetings, stay late at the office, and generally give the appearance of being exceedingly busy on a BIG assignment.

Truth is, Thursday 4pm rolls around and you haven’t even started the project yet, and now you reallize that you don’t have a fourth day to complete it, and you have to get it done tonight!

You panic a bit, go for a coffee, and proceed to make the assignment as big as you indicated to everyone all week long, staying until 9pm to get it done.

The fact that most of us work in an environment that expects us to show up by 9am for 8 or 9 hours, 5 or 6 days a week, leaves us with the unpleasant task of figuring out how to fill the time so that we appear to be busy.

For this reason I suggest that the proverbial 40-hour workweek (for many it is more like 50-60 or higher) is doing many of us, and our employers, a great disservice by wasting valuable time and resources. The following practices might increase overall productivity as well as improve work/life balance:


  • Challenge yourself with shorter deadlines for each new task
  • Reward yourself by using some of the time saved to work on some of your own initiatives (which could lead to promotion, etc.)
  • Set a goal to leave the office by __pm everyday, communicate this with your boss, then show them how much more productive you are


  • Establish clear rewards for completing assignments early, like leaving an hour early, or inclusion on a cool new project team
  • Give deadlines for assignments that clearly indicate the time it should take to complete
  • Help your employees by prioritizing assignments when multiple assignments overlap


Referenced Link:  How to use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage, www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-to-use-parkinsons-law-to-your-advantage.html

Letting Go: Fear

Fear.  It can stop us in our tracks, it can send us into hiding, or it can present an opportunity to achieve the impossible.

Take ancient Israel for example, the Israel that Moses led out of Egypt to the edge of the Red Sea.  This nation of newly freed, former slaves of Egypt, were faced with a dilemma:  the Red Sea ahead, and Pharaoh and the Egyptian army closing in behind (you know, a rock and an hard place).  Exodus 14 tells us they were terrified and cried out to the Lord.  Listen to what they said:

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

I thought of this the other day when contemplating my current job search.  “Why did I ever leave my old job?  I would have been better off staying there than leaving and now facing a difficult job search.”  Maybe you’re facing a similar situation, whether it be related to career, relationships, health or something else.

Guess what happens next?  After promising deliverance, God basically tells the Israelites to quit crying to Him about it and get a move on!  It’s kind of like the swift-kick-in-the-rear my mom used to give me when I was being particularly ornery or stubborn.  God calls the Israelites “stiff-necked.”  Pretty much the same thing.

Don’t just stand there, do something!

So, when I caught myself thinking how good I had it back then, I recalled to mind why I left, and looked to the steps I needed to take forward, confident that the Lord will provide.

Contrast the Israelites with another famous Biblical character, David.  This youngest of 7 brothers and a shepherd (who is selected by the Lord to be king, but is all but forgotten or overlooked by his father when the prophet Samuel is sent to find him), is sent by his father to visit his brothers with provisions where they are encamped for battle against Goliath and the Philistines (1 Samuel 17).

David hears Goliath taunting the Israelites and the Lord, and is shocked that no one will go and fight him.  So he offers to do it himself!  Wasn’t he afraid?  Of course he likely experienced fear, but his confidence came from a past record of facing and overcoming fear, having killed lions and bears with his bare hands and his sling while protecting his herds.  Of course, David’s faith in the Lord was a factor as well, as he saw his past victories as not being his, but of the Lord.

So remember, you have faced fear before, and you will face it again.  Whether it is the same old fear (that you are holding on to) or a new fear (that will inevitably come) depends largely on whether you let it stop you in your tracks, or you let it go and tackle it head on, moving forward.

Finally, when you have faced a fear and moved forward, take a moment to register in your mind what just happened and how you feel on the other side of fear.  Recall this moment the next time you face fear, and it might just provide you the swift kick you need to get moving and let it go.

High Cost of Being Single – Mint.com Infographics

Mint.com published the following two infographics earlier this year on the high cost of being a single man or single woman:

The High Cost of Being A Single Lady

The High Cost of Being a Single Man

Where Did My Money Go?

Have you ever reached the end of the month and asked yourself where all your money went as you scramble to pay your rent or mortgage?  You know you’ve been working hard, you know your paychecks were deposited or the cash was in your hand and in your pocket when you were paid.  So where did it go, and why does the same thing seem to happen every month?

Sounds like you could use a budget.


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“A Budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
– John Maxwell

It’s Easier Than You Think…

The real problem with budgeting is that is rarely given sufficient priority.  Think about it.  You go to a job to work mostly because you need to eat and pay rent and perhaps be able to go out for coffee or a drink with friends (hopefully you enjoy it on it’s own as well – but that’s a topic for another post).

What if you couldn’t do any of these things without first putting together a budget?  Or, what if that special someone you were just dying to go out with required you to have a working budget in place before going on a date?

I think a lot more of us would be doing budgets.  It’s definitely easier than some of the effort we put in to get all the things listed above.

Budgets require basically the following information:

  1. Income
  2. Expenses

Told you it was easy.  Furthermore, YOU are the one who has the most control over each of these categories.  You can learn more, work hard, gain experience and thus increase your ability to earn income.  You can watch what you buy, put limits on your wants, and prioritize saving to decrease your expenses.

Once you have these two amounts totaled up, subtract your expenses from your income.  The goal is to hit Zero – where every dollar you make is given a purpose, or “spent on paper,” every month before you bring it home.

If you came up with a negative amount, you may need to decrease your expenses in the short term and work to increase your income in the long term.  Use an envelope system with cash to help limit spending on food or entertainment, for instance, or cut back on amenities like cable and underused or unnecessary phone or other services.  You can always get them back when you begin earning more.

If you came up with a positive amount, you need to tell this surplus money where to go.  Preferably this would go towards outstanding debt, an emergency fund, or if both of those things are taken care of, to savings for purchases, investments or retirement.  If you don’t do this up front, you’ll be wondering where it went at the end of the month.

…But It Takes Time

A quick Google search will tell you that the time to learn a new habit is about 3 weeks.  Budgets are generally done monthly, so it may take about 3 months to become a habit since repetition is a key factor in learning.  There are numerous resources on the web for help on the details of doing a budget, and I highly recommend the resources on Dave Ramsey’s website.  I’ve included a few specific links below to get you started.

“You will either learn to manage money or the lack of it will always manage you.”
-Dave Ramsey

How you define “Work” may define how you “Live”

In a recent blog titled I don’t work, author Jon Acuff admitted that he really doesn’t work, based on the following quote from author James M. Barrie: “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”  And Jon Acuff only does that which he would rather be doing.

Many comments followed this post stating the importance of work, and that work was intended as a good thing (God having created man and woman to work in and care for his creation, Genesis 2:15).  So how could Jon Acuff, or anyone else for that matter, say it’s not really work when there is nothing else you would rather do?

It is really a matter of definition – and how you define “work” impacts how you live your life.

Have you ever attempted to answer the question, “what is work?”  Consider the following advice from Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek:

“If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.”

Specifically, Ferris suggests asking two questions when considering stress-inducing questions like this:

  1. Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question?
  2. Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?

In our case, can you decide on a single meaning for the term, “Work”?  If you can define what work is for you ( and I’m fairly certain all of us can), then is there action you can take to improve your work, or improve what work means to you (I believe the answer should be yes to this question, the problem lies in our willingness to take the necessary action)?

Let’s return to the Jon Acuff post mentioned earlier.  It appears that Acuff started out with one definition of work that, when examined under the second question above, could be acted upon to improve things, in his case by redefining “work” based on the Barrie quote, and in light of what gives him fulfillment and life.

In other words, Jon Acuff doesn’t have a job, nor does he have a career, but he has found his vocation, or purpose in life, and while it requires effort, it rarely feels like work.  And that makes life worth living to the full.

How do you define work?  Is there any action you can take to improve things?


Recommended Reading:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”