Warning: There will be some not-so-good words in this post. If you have small children, please take them to another room before reading.
Have you ever been in a toxic work environment? How about, as a consultant, you have a client that runs over you? Maybe you work for a boss that belittles you, doesn’t take you seriously, or dismisses your requests. Perhaps you’re in that meh phase of life where you’re going to work as a drone and feel no emotion whatsoever. If so, this post is for you.
When you’re placed in an unfortunate circumstance in a work environment you have two options; you can take it thinking that this is how it’ll always be or you can stand up for yourself, think differently, take the bull by horns and get back to your happy place. In this thought-provoking article, I encourage you to choose the latter.
Table of Contents
You Don’t Have to Take It
If you’re in a spot in your career that’s making you miserable, why are you still there? Why have you chosen the unhappiness is worth the price of a paycheck? I’m sure there are hundreds of reasons; some valid and some not.
People have mortgages to pay, mouths to feed, electric bills, shopping and the like. We all have expenses. I get it. But what I don’t get is those that give up. They lay down and get whipped like a dog thinking this is their path in life. They believe they’re lucky to have this job and they should be thankful for it (or at least that’s what their grandparents tell them).
It’s really, really sad when I hear stories of people so unhappy in their job or position in life and feel defeated. A lot of times, they are miserable because they feel trapped. They look at the world today (2020) and don’t even try to better themselves. Sure, a pandemic really sucks but it’s not an excuse to give up.
I’m here to tell you, you should never quit trying! Never. Everyone deserves to be happy and if you begin to shift your victim mindset to a challenge mindset, the odds will be greatly in your favor.
It wasn’t until I started coming out of my comfort zone that my career really started to skyrocket. Although some disagree with me, I firmly believe that anyone can always better themselves through hard work and persistence.
I’ve been in IT since 1998 where I started as a university student tech worker carrying around Office CDs and installing on computers across campus. I progressed through my career by going from the helpdesk, systems administrator, network engineer, information security professional and other related IT fields.
For the first 10 or so years of my career, I was a good boy, did what he was told and didn’t think twice. My parents told me I had to go to college, get a job, and stay there. If you didn’t like your job, that’s OK, no one does. And I believed this!
Throughout this time, my salary and happiness increased in tandem. “Yay! A 3% cost of living raise! Now I can…wait…what can I do with an extra $20 on my paycheck?”
I was caught in the cycle of “normalcy” because, well, that’s what people do, right? I never had anyone to teach me there was another way.
It wasn’t until I sold a single book on Amazon and made a little profit that my eyes lit up. I saw possibility. I saw opportunity. I saw a way another way to generate income other than my job. It was glorious!
Four years later, I was running a small used book business selling tens of thousands of used books on Amazon as a side hustle. It was a ton of work but I loved it. I’d have gladly put in more time for less pay just because no one else was telling me what to do.
I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve slowly built up various income streams over time allowing me to call my own shots. I’m now to the point where I feel comfortable quitting “great” jobs.
You don’t have to quit a job to be happy. This was just my path. If you’re happy in your job but feel like you need a little more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with one or 10 side hustles!
It took me over 15 years in jobs that went from meh to downright horrible for me to understand to think outside the social norm and begin to understand there are different ways to make money! Insane.
Like it or not, money is what makes the world go round and if you’re going to be happy, you must have some level of it. That level differs greatly from person to person but once you achieve that level of financial independence, you’ll know it. Not because of the number in your bank account but from the freedom you feel every day.
How did I finally understand that true happiness is still out there? Fuck you money.
Fuck You Money
Although the term is a bit…controversial…it stands still the same. Fuck you money. It’s a term used to describe a level of financial freedom someone has where they don’t have to be in a position they hate.
Having a level of fuck you money means you can (figuratively) say fuck you to any situation that doesn’t spark joy. Why? Because. you’ve lined up your finances in other areas to where you aren’t dependent on others.
Fuck you money gives you the power to control your life and your happiness. You are no longer a slave to money once you achieve the esteemed level of “fuck you.”
- Do you hate the work you’re doing, and your boss says too bad? “Fuck you, I’m out.”
- Can’t stand that client that disrespects you? “Fuck you, find someone else.”
- Are you forced to work with someone that makes you feel less of a person just because you’re on the same team? You: “Hey boss, I’m not happy. I need a change.” Boss: “Umm..sorry, we just can’t do that right now.” You: “OK but I’m telling you, I can’t work with them anymore. I must quit if not for my own sanity”. (Fuck you money)
- Haven’t had a raise in three years and working the hours of three people? Tell your boss you need a raise. Can’t do it? No problem. I’m out. The boss may suddenly finds the money in the budget.
I wasn’t the one that came up with fuck you money. I think John Goodman explained it best.
Don’t underestimate an unhappy individual that has their ducks in a row and has achieved a level of fuck you. The best negotiators are those that have nothing to lose. What’s the worst that could happen? Do you lose an income stream? Meh.
I’m not near the level of ‘fuck you’ but I hope to be there one day!
How do you get to “Fuck you”?
There are many ways to achieve financial independence and the security that financial freedom brings. Below are just a few.
Share Your Knowledge
Since I’m probably talking to geeks, you have a valuable arrow in your quiver; your knowledge. People want to know what you know and will pay for it! Your experience is valuable to students, training companies, tech vendors, media publications, and more! Expert technical knowledge never goes out of demand.
Check out one of my eBooks, Teach Me, for a lot more information about this.
Know what value you bring to the table. Are you an expert PowerShell developer in a heavily-automated environment? You’re valuable.
Do you know a proprietary line of business inside and out more than anyone else? You’re valuable.
Are you able to consistently make the business money? You’re valuable!
Know what value you bring to the table. Know your value at all times because when if you ever have to pull out the “fuck you” card, your value will get you what you want.
Build Income Streams
I can’t say this enough. Build multiple income streams! It doesn’t matter what they are; line up completely different ways of making money and systematically take advantage of them.
For example, here are my income streams:
- Consulting job
- Blog ad revenue
- Writing articles
- Training courses
- Day trading
…and I’m always trying to start more. You can never have too many skills and income streams. If you’re in a job now, that’s a great income stream. That’s it. It’s just one way to generate money. Read that. One. Way.
Diversify your skills as much as possible, so you’re not dependent on one income source. When you depend on one stream, you become a slave to that income stream, and the money starts to have control over you.
A Job is Not your Career
Know that a job is not your career. It’s not a one-and-only source of income; it’s just one. It’s not something you must pour your blood, sweat and tears into over all other. It’s a source of income, perhaps some good friends and some interesting projects. That’s it.
Your job is not your world.
If you got anything out of this post, I want you to understand that you are never stuck. There’s always a different strategy to try, person to meet, resume project to build, etc. You’ll never stay in the same position unless you allow yourself to.
Begin working in the background, building up your little empire one piece at a time and one day, have that level of financial independence that brings you the freedom you deserve.