Have you ever wondered if all the work we’re doing to make more money is actually making us spend more? We recently read an article on that very topic, and it piqued our interest. So, of course, we wanted to share it with you guys.
The guy who wrote it had recently spent nine months backpacking and not making any money. When he returned to the workforce and started working 40 hours again, he was shocked at how much more inclined he felt to spend money. During his time spent backpacking across foreign countries, he actually spent less than his day-to-day as a full-time employee. And activities like exercising, reading, and meditating were no longer happening because although they didn’t require money, they required time — and energy — two things he lacked.
As he said it, “Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. […] We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have.”
So what do you think of his theory? I remember when I first started working full-time, fresh out of college, I had a few weeks when I really struggled. Was this really what all those years of schooling had been for… to spend the majority of my waking hours at a desk? And when I got home from work, I’d shower, put on a robe, and sit in front of the TV because anything else felt insurmountable. After a couple of weeks, though, I adjusted and just tried to squeeze in as much fun as I could over the weekend.
And many of my purchases were justified by how hard I worked. They were my reward for working 40 hours. Spending becomes our balm for working so much. And the tough thing is that there’s no in-between. The 40-hour work week is the standard. We all do it. If I were in a job interview for a full-time gig and I said, “‘I’ll get the job done and I’ll do it well, but I only want to work 20 or 30 hours,” the interview would be over right then and there.
For what are we working so long and hard? Are we happier? At the end of the day, do we have more money to our name? If this guy’s theory is really true then we could potentially work a portion of the hours we do now and still save the same amount of money.
Those are our thoughts, and now we want to hear yours. Do you think we’d all spend less if we didn’t work so darn much?