It's Ok to Work a "Regular" Job
Updated: Feb 1
Can we talk about money? No - can we talk about how we’re making money? Everyone in the world wants to talk about how folks should be earning money and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how working a “regular” job turned into a bad thing.
A regular J-O-B is known as earned income. It’s where you exchange your time for money. Whether this is your 9-to5 employment or freelance work or even driving for Uber - you actively put your time in to earn the income. In general, the more hours that you work or the more skill or education that you have, the more income you (should) earn.
In the best case scenario, earned income is regular, stable money. There’s very little risk involved - you go to work, you get a check, you go home - consistently. Sometimes, if you want to make more money, you trade more hours and *poof* like magic, more money appears. Even when that’s not the case, earned income is reliable, as long as you are able to trade your time for the money. So - what’s the downside of working a “regular” job?
Earned income means that your time belongs to someone else and while you may have flexibility within that job, you do not make the decisions about how much you earn and when. You trade independence for a consistent check; you trade your freedom and autonomy for stability and consistency. And for some of us, that’s a fair trade.
Earned income is also taxed at higher rates as you earn more income. Put simply, the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes and there’s very little that you can do about it. On top of that, there is a “cap” to the amount of money that you can earn. When you’re trading money for hours, you either run out of hours or, your hourly worth is determined by someone else. In either case, your maximum income is determined by time, circumstance and external forces.
Somewhere in the midst of surviving a pandemic, people all over discovered that they hated their jobs - and maybe their jobs hated them back. Whether it was the working conditions or the job itself, a lot of people realized that going to work wasn’t what they wanted for the rest of their lives. The “great resignation” appears to be a collective understanding that we don’t have to work at jobs that don’t serve us financially, emotionally, mentally and physically. And I think that’s an awesome take - if you don’t like your job, if you don’t feel valued, or fulfilled or whatever it is, that you want to feel - then you should go find another space to occupy. Almost simultaneously, people discovered that they could turn a side hustle into a real business and *poof* - there were entrepreneurs everywhere.
I’m here to tell you - it’s ok if you work a regular job. If you earn your money by going to work for the man every day, I promise it’s just fine. “Regular jobs” are typically a pipeline to other types of income. Earned income is the ticket that most of us use to get to entrepreneurship, investing and homeownership - the sources of real wealth. It’s fine to acknowledge that most of us weren’t exposed to other ways of building wealth and that earned income may be the slowest way to get there. But it’s also the most accessible, the one we understand the most and the one that puts us into a position to obtain wealth in other ways. There are levels to this - and “regular” jobs are a level to financial wealth. There are certainly other ways - and now that we have access and education - we can choose to participate in higher earning income streams. But there’s value in a consistent, stable, check. There’s value in building slowly and there’s value in a consistent job - particularly when it helps you reach those other levels. Investing, entrepreneurship, passive income - all of those are great. But can we agree that working a job isn’t a bad thing? Some of us will start there and some of us will stay there. - and that's ok.
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