I recently applied for a job that pays more than double my salary. Because; money…
I didnt get it, but it got me thinking. I was willing to give up on my dreams so easily. (Or just temporarily postpone them, as I kept trying to convince my subconscious.)
I need a framework to say “NO!” - a system to apply to tough decisions to make sure I always move towards my goals and not away from them. For work related projects, these are my guiding criteria:
Annuity Income - I’m never going to be “Free by 40” if I keep exchanging time for money. Its very difficult to transition away from short term income to delayed annuity income. So it’s good to at least have a small % ownership or profit sharing.
Flexibility - I love being able to work at a coffee shop in the morning, or take Aiden swimming in the afternoon. I dont think I can go back to a full time job where people look at you funny if you leave before 6pm.
Great People - I’ve realised that even a personal goal can only be reached by joining forces with other people. Life is a team sport. I want to work with people that have similar goals to me that I can encourage and who can help me.
Technically Challenging - There is a balance between the desire for Security/Certainty and the need for Uncertainty/Variety. Humans grow best in the gap between being good at something, and the challenge of doing something out of our comfort zone. Work that is too easy, gets boring. But work that is too challenging is overwhelming. I love learning new technology and pushing myself to reach higher goals.
Significance - This one is hard to define, but probably the most important. I want to make a difference in the world around me. Working on an Ad Server is technically challenging, but does the world really need more adverts? No opportunity is black & white though… I’ve worked on an ERP system for selling furniture on credit. One could argue that I am helping to give people who dont have money right now, an opportunity to buy a bed to sleep on tonight. Making a difference. But deep down, I think debt is the ultimate form of slavery - it’s stealing from your future self, and drags people into a downward spiral of entrapment.
Of course significance is different to every person, and I dont have a problem with people building games if their significance is to entertain the world. For me significance is helping people become free; financially, physically and spiritually.
This makes it easier to say “NO” to the wrong work. It’s still a challenge not to say “YES” to all the great ideas and overcommit myself, but its work in progress :)