Hard Work Pays
I’m always surprised when I come upon people who are struggling to make ends meet and are working a 37.5 hour work-week. I’ve just finished working with a fam that was in serious trouble. They weren’t making enough money and had dug themselves a hellovahole using their credit to fill the gaps. They weren’t living big. They weren’t playing hard. They were just not making enough money. But when I told Himself to find a way to bring in another $750 net a month, he balked. He thought it was outrageous that I was expecting him to work another 10 whole hours a week.
I lost my cool, I have to admit. I bellowed at him, “You have a child. You’re having another. You better start working harder.” Then I turned to my crew and asked, “Who here works less than 60 hours a week.” Not a man jack put up his/her hand.
While it’s easy to look in at people’s lives and say, “They have so much”, taken out of context of how hard they are working it means little. Now, I’m not one for exchanging all of one’s life energy for money or stuff. Quite the contrary. But if you aren’t making it to the end of the month before you get to the end of the money the only solution is to Make More Money.
What’s so wrong with hard work anyway? When did it become unnecessary to make enough money – no matter how hard you had to work – to keep the home fires burning? I’ll tell you when: When we got our grubby little hands on credit and decided we could spend money we hadn’t yet earned instead of simply earning more money to spend.
Once upon a time our parents and grandparents worked really hard for what they had. They bought homes, paid for cars, kept us shod and clothed, and had enough for a vacation every five years or so. Nowadays, we want to buy homes far bigger than we need, get a new car every two years, have enough shoes and clothes for a family of 12, and vacation every year. These are our rights. And we don’t think we need to have earned the money to pay for it. Whazzup with that?
There are lots of people who work hard and still have it tough. I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to all the lazy doofuses out there who think that just because they put in their 7.5 hours today, they’ve done as much as should be expected. Really? You don’t have enough money to make sure your kids are safe, but you worked hard enough today? Sorry, I’m not buying it.
I live in a rural area. Out here there’s no such thing as Nine to Five. Most of the people out here regularly work a twelve hour day. That leaves six for family and six for sleep. Why do they do it? Because farmers don’t get to clock out. Because even those who have viable farming operations have at least one member of the fam with a full-time job on top of the farming.
The same is true for people who are White Collar Workers. Successful executives and entrepreneurs don’t get to work a half-week, as we like to call it. If we’re going to make our businesses fly, we’ve got to bust our asses.
There are ways to find balance. I’ve been self-employed for just about forever. When I had my kids I knew I couldn’t do t Seven to Seven any more because my kids needed me, so I said Ta Ta to my consulting career and found another way. I became a freelance writer. I’d get up at 4 a.m. to write. I’d stop at 7 when I got the kids up; when they were safely off at school I’d be back at the desk, writing, writing, writing. I’d stop at 3 to get them at school and we’d sit in the playground until 5 when we’d head home for supper. When they were safely tucked into bed, I’d read, cook up a storm, or do whatever else I loved to do. I did that for 10 years until we moved to the country.
Everyone has to find their own path. Everyone has to do what works for them. But believe me, if you aren’t working hard enough to keep bread on the table without going into debt, it isn’t working for you and you need to Make More Money. Get a second job. Get a third job. Get a better job. Find a way.
A very successful bank executive – the head of lending as it happens — once told me that when she and her husband started out, they’d both do their day jobs and then they’d go clean bathrooms in a commercial building at night. Hey, man, whatever it takes.