Would you rather have more time or more money? Some weeks ago I had to make that decision and it was an easy choice.
Trading a bigger paycheck for more time to do things that will make me happier in the long run? Sign me up!
It seems that some higher power in this universe doesn’t want me to take a fulltime job just yet. I got into the lucky situation again to be able to choose between a three-quarter job and a fulltime one. You’ve guessed it – I went for the part-time option.
Some might call it a risky or short-sighted decision, but I call myself lucky to work shorter hours in exchange for more free time.
To be honest, the real risk to me is the one of looking back at my life ten years down the road and knowing that I spent most of my time in front of a screen!
Balance over money
And I am not the only one to feel that way. The majority of people I talked it over with would be happy to sacrifice money for freedom. A rethinking seems to be going on in many places, but reality still looks somewhat different.
Not only jobseekers, but also long established all-in employees know the game. Unconditional willingness to dedicate your life to your company is in high demand. And I totally get it – companies want to employ dedicated people.
But what they are often trying to sell you is the idea of self-fulfillment, when really they are asking for self-sacrifice. It’s interesting how working a lot for something you like is called passion and never called stress.
I think that all the passion in the world cannot make up for balance.
Much more than my job
Gone are the days when your job was your whole life, when your job defined who you were. When leaving the office at a reasonable hour made you feel awkward.
I am not saying that my job is not a positive part of my life (it totally is). What I am saying is that I am not my job. I like to think that I am much more than my job.
I consider myself a dedicated, passionate, hardworking person. I am definitely not the one to desert the sinking ship and leave my colleagues with piles of work. What I need is flexibility and variety to create a balanced life.
A life I don’t need a vacation from
Whatever kind of interesting and satisfying work you are doing, 40+ hours of it per week are tiring. Full stop.
With a three-quarter position, I feel like I have enough space (and daylight) for many more things in my life. And challenging days can easily be overcome with the prospect of mountain biking in the afternoon.
I can fill my time with social life, personal projects and outdoor fun – and not just on weekends. It’s a life I don’t need an extra escape from or binge drink out of my memory on weekends. It’s a damn great life.
You could of course argue that well-used leisure time is only a matter of organization. There are tons of articles with tips how to optimize your time management to be found online. Running the world, doing the dishes, achieving spiritual growth and looking like a supermodel – it can all be done in one day!
The truth is – human beings don’t work like engines. When are you supposed to squeeze in all the family or friends time, the relaxing time or the enjoying-life time? Those of you who rather skip their training and put their feet up after a long day of work – I totally feel you.
Most of us still can’t escape the game. It’s quite the custom to work in a fulltime job once you are a grown-up. Preferably with a give-them-your-all contract. And let’s not be naïve – many people earning a minimum wage have no other choice but to take a fulltime position to make a living. Also your retirement account will not exactly benefit from working fewer hours.
In my opinion it’s sad that opportunities to support yourself or even a family with fewer working hours remain the exception. It’s not made easy for companies to employ more people with fewer hours either.
As for me, I will be happily trading money for free time for as long as I can. Considering that I will have to work many more years than older generations, it seems like a pretty good deal to me.
I believe it’s true what they say that you should never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. As far as I am concerned – I am busy making a life.