Archive for October 25th, 2010

25th October
2010
written by Randy

I recently had an opportunity to meet for lunch with a former boss. It was not long after my last job had finished, and I had just returned from my trip out to Yellowstone. He had recently been out of work for three months, and spent had spent that time with his family, and travelling, and it turned out that we’d been to several of the same places on our out-of-work journeys.

Referring to his own comfort with not having a job for three months, and in response to my own nonchalance toward the same possibility for myself, he said to me, “I’ve learned, lately, that the most important things in life are experiences, much more so than possessions or money. And I get the impression that you’ve known that for a long time.”

Regarding the second part, I’m quite flattered to know that my personality reflects my attitude and beliefs! Among which is the fact that I certainly agree with the first part. Experiences are worth far more than anything you can own.

What rich people have

People get caught up in a trap of trying to get rich, because they want what rich people have. But where I think most people lose sight is that they think of the money as the thing rich people have. But money isn’t what makes people rich. Or happy.

What makes rich people happy is freedom. They can travel when they want, eat what they want, do what they want. They have the freedom to do what they want. They have the freedom to make choices based on how they value their time, and what they want out of life, rather than making choices based on what they need to do in order to pay the bills or feed the family.

My point is this: you can be rich without having much money. To be rich, all you need is that same freedom that rich people have. And rather than thinking you need more money to have that, it’s time to start thinking in the other direction: less. You need less bills, less obligations, less responsibilities, less commitments.

I’ve spent the past few years reducing my debts, my commitments, and my responsibilities, so that rather than making myself a slave, constantly in search of more money, I can reduce my dependance on money and gain more freedom. And that has already been manifest on several occasions over the past month.

My freedom

I was able to attend several foreign films at Chicago’s International Film Festival this year, something I’ve wanted to do every year that I’ve lived here, but never managed to do. But with lots of time and no obligations, this year I was able to do it. And the best part is, every film I attended was less than half-price, because I had the freedom to watch them during matinee hours.

I’ve also written more than one-third of my ebook already, because I’ve had the luxury of writing when the inspiration was there, rather than trying to force it out when I had the time to spare. And since I’m not forcing it, I’m writing better, more inspired material.

All month, I’ve been receiving phone calls and emails from recruiters who want to find me a job. But since I’m not desperate and I don’t need the next job that someone can get me, I have the luxury of keeping my self respect, and being much more demanding about what I get.

One recruiter got me an interview for a three-week position that sounded good (mostly because it’s short!) and after the interview, she called to ask how it went. And the thing is, I don’t really care how it went! I don’t need it.

During that call, in typical recruiter form, she asked me to take a moment and write up a little “thank-you” email, thanking the gentleman for taking the time to speak with me, and reminding him that I’m really interested in the job. And my response to her was: “You mean beg? Sorry, I’m not going to beg for a job. I don’t need it. He should be thanking me.”

There was a bit of tension on the line after I said that, but it ended in laughs, and more importantly by having done that, I had demonstrated that I am a person of value.

And guess what…

The next day, they called back to tell me that I had been offered the position. And now, instead of three weeks, they’re talking about six, and looking at possibly going longer, or even permanent. That’s a big change in position, which seems to validate me.

And my response? No. I don’t want a permanent position. I liked it when it was three weeks, and I’m willing to give as much as six, but that’s it. I have plans for December and January (including the fact that Hawaii is among the states I haven’t visited yet!). I’m not giving that up for some job.

Starting work

So now, I’m starting this new position with a new company in a few minutes, not worried about making a great first impression, not worried about any of the other stressful things that people think about on their first day.

I woke up today without an alarm clock, and without worrying about getting up on time. I’m sure I’ll be on time, but in truth, if I’m not on time I don’t care. I have no phone, so there’s no number for them to call if I’m late. And if they don’t like my attitude and the ask me to go, I still don’t care because I didn’t need the job in the first place!

Of course this doesn’t mean I’m going to be rude or inconsiderate or take advantage of anyone. There is still a lot to be gained from being responsible, on time, and polite to people. But the difference is that I get to keep my self-respect.

I’m on time because I choose to be, not because you threatened to fire me. I’m dressed well because I care how I look, not because you have a dress code. I’m respectful because I’m a respectful, pleasant person, not because I fear losing your paycheck.

I’ve won my freedom. I don’t have much money, but I feel rich. And that feels good.

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