Finally, a lull in my workplace. My team has worked hard in this project to get to this point where the pace has slowed and we have time to address outstanding lower priority items that have been outstanding for a while. We also have time to attend internal and external training sessions, which is always a nice break away from work. Things are not going as smoothly at my wife’s workplace. She is stepping up into a higher level role for a period of time as a trial and the ongoing uncertainty with the restructuring has lowered morale in general. It’s her month end this week and looks like a busy one to get through.
Anyway, I would still count ourselves as fortunate that we still have our jobs. From what we hear, the graduate employment market is worse than the experienced employment market. Reason being experienced employees can still be cross-trained to take on other roles while fresh graduates have to be trained from scratch. The former is less costly than the latter and firms are all about cost control these days as revenue streams dry up.
Despite the workload at our jobs, we are not required to travel and usually get off work by 7 plus, sometimes at 6 plus. On certain occasions when it gets really busy, we will work until 8 plus but this only happens a few days each month. We are not required to work on weekends but my wife sometimes works on public holidays. She goes in to the office for less than a day and gets a full day off-in-lieu. The pay is decent when you compare it to the number of hours we put in and our stress levels. We have heard the work conditions are a lot worse at other banks.
Which brings me to this conclusion. We actually have a lot more downtime than we thought. At least 4 hours each weekday and the entire weekend. Thinking about what we do with all that downtime actually makes me feel bad for ourselves. We are definitely not hustlers because we refuse to give up our family life, social life, etc. But we have done enough to offer one piece of advice to the readers who have been asking me how we got to where we are with our asset accumulation.
Don’t overthink and just do it
This is it: Stop overthinking and start doing. It’s amazing when I look at what fresh graduates and experienced employees our age are considering these days.
- How to stop working full-time as soon as possible and still enjoy all the luxuries
- How to retire early by investing
- I want to have a great career and work in a job that I am passionate about
- I want to be a successful entrepreneur and make a difference in the world
All fantastic stuff to ponder and ambitious goals to aim for. However, when you look at what they are doing on a day to day basis, it doesn’t add up. The reality of achieving any of the above requires you to be exceptional. Being normal like us isn’t going to cut it. Which means you have to be better than us. Yet, we continue to see people stuck at the planning stage and not take any action.
We didn’t get to this point just by planning alone. A career path is forged by executing the strategies you come up with consistently and knowing when to take risks. Don’t think about quitting even before you begin. Take it one step at a time and it’s pointless comparing your achievements to others. No need to make yourself feel better or worse. Most importantly, don’t burn yourself out. Once that happens, it will take you a long time to recover and you will never be the same.
I have a good personal example of this. When my wife first started her graduate program at a bank in Australia, she was the youngest and most inexperienced in her cohort. Everyone else had more work experience and better grades. We later found out that my wife was actually the replacement choice because one graduate dropped out after accepting his/her offer. That was probably the reason why it took several months for the bank to get back to my wife.
My wife is not a fast learner and doesn’t plan a few steps ahead. She just focuses on her current and next step. She’s not lazy but takes a while to pick stuff up. But she doesn’t work overtime to make up for it because she just takes her time to eventually understand it. Her learning and work curve looks like a gentle incline. Not steep at all but ever sloping upwards. This has allowed her to still thrive in the corporate world, while others have been burnt out or become disillusioned.
Often, you will find that taking it one step at a time in the corporate world works better than constantly thinking about how to navigate the long journey ahead. Focus on what you are doing and start working on it. The results will show over time but not if you keep getting distracted.