Being an adult means budgeting your coffee expenses. Yeah, it sucks. I can no longer buy a daily latte at my favorite cafe because I need to pay for groceries, car insurance, and a gym membership (among other things). Welcome to another coffee chat! Today, I’ll be talking about nine-to-fives and why they are actually not that bad.
Having a stable job is a privilege.
If you are just here for a DIY latte, skip to the end of this post. However, if you want to hear my thoughts on employment, keep reading!
I was inspired to write this because I’ve read articles about people retiring before 30. This was shocking to me as I can’t imagine not working. People are free to do what makes them happy. If someone is financially secure and they want to retire before 30 to pursue a dream – that’s great. What I don’t like is people being shamed for having/wanting a career or working a nine-to-five. Additionally, many proponents of retiring before 30 present the idea as if anyone can do it. I see so many headlines like “quit your job”, “become a nomad”, and “she retired at 28”.
Leaving your job to “go find yourself” is a huge indicator of privilege. I know that word is thrown around a lot. When I say this, I mean that having a decent job is an advantage that is not enjoyed by or accessible to everyone. Most people aren’t in a position where they can quit their stable job because it’s not fun for them. In fact, for a majority of people, working is not optional. If you read the article I linked above, you might notice that one couple planned to save $1 million. Another couple made annual salaries of $200,000. For the working poor, no amount of saving, budgeting, and simplifying will amount to true financial freedom.
It’s hard to write this and not sound judgmental of the rich. It’s not my intention to shame someone for having wealth. I just want to give a different perspective to the much-hated nine-to-five. I am grateful for a living wage and to have something to look forward to every day. I’ve heard people say non-jokingly that working is not for them. People want adventure and so a bohemian lifestyle seems attractive, but it’s an elitist concept to voluntarily become poor. I want people to find happiness, but I don’t think unemployment is always the right decision.
Not all jobs are created equal.
I empathize with people that hate their job. I’ve had soul-sucking jobs myself. Some jobs are worth quitting and if you are given a better opportunity, take it! I am not a career expert, but I always suggest that people search for a job that fits their values and needs. The reality is, most of us will have to take a job at some point because we need money. In that event, just keep your head down and do the work until you are stable enough to leave.
I think attitude and drive are incredibly important. Trying to maintain a positive outlook can improve your situation without needing to impulsively quit. If you do decide to quit, a good attitude will appeal to other employers. I think drive is crucial because if you are in a miserable situation, you need to be motivated in finding the work environment and pay grade that’s best for you. More and more companies are adopting flexible schedules and policies that give workers the freedom they are searching for.
Before you decide to adopt a wanderer lifestyle or retire at 30, consider why you are unhappy. Our job can impact our entire life. Maybe you need to take some time off to consider your options or to avoid burnout. If you get vacation time, use it! A career change might be your desire. You might be wanting something creative. It may take time and personal development, but there is a job out there that meets your standards and expectations. Even transferring to another position in the same company makes a huge difference. If you are passionate about what you do, then the “daily grind” becomes much easier. The issue you are experiencing might not be about your job. When I’m going through a rough patch, I reflect on various aspects of my life. You could be experiencing relationship problems, poor physical health, limited social engagement, and/or mental health concerns. All of these factors can influence your work life. It’s important to find interests outside of your job as well as to have someone to talk to, whether that’s a professional therapist or just a good friend.
Skill building, stable income, and purpose.
Secure jobs also have benefits and I’m not just talking about insurance. My college experience taught me a lot, but working has pushed me to build a different skill set. If you retire at 30, you are possibly missing out on 35 years of professional development and life experience. Having a career offers a consistent income, often insurance, and a pension (if you are lucky). Traveling for years can sound appealing, but so does a check every two weeks.
I find a sense of purpose from working. I’m in a helping-profession, so my job isn’t exactly stress-free. At least for right now, I can’t see myself changing fields or deciding to be a nomad. I hope that if you are struggling in your job, you can find something that you look forward to each day.
My main point is to stop and think before disregarding a traditional job.
Rant over! Here’s my latte recipe, if you can even call it that.
A Poor Man's Latte (V)
A simple latte recipe that can be made in the comfort of your own home.
- 1/2-1 cup non-dairy milk.
- 1 cup strong coffee or espresso.
- Dash of cinnamon (optional).
Prepare coffee in a French Press or Coffee Maker. I use 4 tbsp for 16 oz.
Heat milk in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk milk until it forms froth.
Fill a cup halfway full with coffee.
Pour in milk while saving the frothy part for the top.
Top with cinnamon if desired.
You can make the coffee as strong as you like. I don't have a milk frother, but you can use one instead of a whisk. It's okay if you can't separate the froth from the regular milk. It's normal for it to mix together. I have found the cashew milk works best for non-dairy lattes.
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Thank you for reading my random thoughts about jobs and privilege! If you have an idea for my next coffee chat, let me know in the comments.
P.S. You can learn more about my brunch ebook here!