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by • December 30, 2012 • UncategorizedComments (11)840

How to screw up your life by getting promoted

Maybe the smartest thing I’ve done over the past few years is to avoid raising my expenses.

I have friends who took jobs in finance 2 years ago, saying it was just to get settled and gain some experience and save some cash before doing what they really wanted.

But then, each year’s raise goes into a slightly bigger flat and slightly nicer restaurants. And just a couple years later they’re looking at the life they used to dream about and saying, “Well, I’d love to, but I just don’t see how I could afford to live with that sort of salary.”

Strong people fall for this trap. It’s poisonous.

As I’ve said previously, career entrepreneurship looks like someone living well below their means and re-investing that financial freedom in the seeds for future opportunities: developing relationships, projects, and themselves.

Building something interesting requires a surplus of time and money. Salaried jobs provide neither. Unless the job itself is your dream, stay the fuck away from them.

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11 Responses to How to screw up your life by getting promoted

  1. David says:

    “What one tip would you give to an aspiring software developer?” my friend asked Richard Stallman after a seminar one day in the late 1990s. Stallman chewed for a while then replied “Don’t pick up any expensive habits”. He then proceeded to give similar reasoning to what you wrote above. My friend went on to become an IP lawyer.

  2. I’ve also found that saving up too much can also be dangerous once you take the plunge. With too much of a financial cushion, I kept delaying profitability. Some time pressure is good.

  3. Jim says:

    I’ve heard people describe golden handcuffs (though this is not the traditional definition) in a similar fashion. Instead of a nicer flat and nicer restaurants, it’s nicer “stuff” funded by debt. You get to the point where you need the higher income to pay for that debt. Or it’s service contracts that require monthly payments (gyms, daycare, memberships, etc.), so you get to the point where you hear those people who complain that $500,000 a year is not enough.

  4. fffff says:

    Man, I dunno about time – it’s kinda average – but my salaried job sure is capable of providing me *much* more money than I can spend. Of course, you totally nailed it on the “larger flat and nicer restaurants” angle. If you want a surplus of money, you dine in.

    I also don’t have peer pressure from my frenemies at the office trying to make fun of my lifestyle (or even things less insidious) which can’t help.

  5. Michael Langford says:

    The stability of a job makes people habitually spend money where the instability of variable income makes some habitual savings a necessity.

  6. I agree with your points, I almost fell into a similar trap (insofar that it was with some reluctance that I took what I perceived to a massive pay drop for what was ultimately a gamble) but I have never looked back! Longer hours, less money but a happier life!

  7. Luckily I haven’t fallen into that trap so far. I’m still happily living in my small room in NYC, but there some things that are always nice to not have to skimp on: living in the location you want (convenience = time = money), not having to worry about the size of a grocery store bill, and other things that don’t add up to TOO much money compared to upgrading your apartment or big ticket items makes for a much less stressful living. Once you upgrade your lifestyle with big ticket items like lavish vacations, fancy apartments, or other things that are recurring, you might start getting stressed about money again.

  8. Jay says:

    I tried to make it in startups for a few years, but eventually went the way of the job. My “golden handcuffs” were my family. I saw what they gave up waiting for my ship to come in.

    Finally, I decided that I would wait until they were grown and I could then play the field. (I’m not sold on the idea that entrepreneurship is only a young man’s endeavor :).)

  9. lyf says:

    Can’t disagree here. Jobs are made to control people.

    Unfortunately, as an entrepreneur it generally means you’re going to control people with jobs as well.

    SOME will actually take people they enjoy working with, and won’t enslave them. But this only work to a point. This only work in small, successful companies. This never lasts. One of the many society’s problems, I guess.

  10. GOD says:

    This is bullshit, how does self-discipline correlate with the type of job you get or how much it pays.

    Sounds like the sort of person who would put blame on manageable external circumstances cannot be called strong.

    I’ve met a lot of folks who do the right amount of work at their salaried jobs and have plenty of time for their projects and everything else in their life.

  11. x?ejk says:

    If you’re an entrepreneur your boss is replaced by your client(s). You’ve multiple bosses and you can’t hate them any one of them(and you shouldn’t in either case though).

    You won’t be able to control your time schedule at all. You will work 24×7 in the initial years for sure. It’s easy said than done.

    I think it’s the feeling of accomplishment that matters the most – you can never get that feeling otherwise. But that happens only if you succeed.