February 19, 2008, 7:40 am

The Trap of Working Harder

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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The problem of living in a world based on capitalism is that there is always room to make more money. This doesn’t sound as a problem by itself but it really becomes one when you look at a single individual. I notice that human beings are always looking for more material stuff. It’s better, it’s more comfortable, it looks nice… there is always a reason to buy more goods 😉

Buying stuff is always fun, but paying for it is something else. Since the savings rate in North America is near 0 (and negative in some places), the only way people can buy more is by working more. “I need more money, I’ll do overtime”. It’s not rocket science and it works perfectly!

Unfortunately, some people just can’t draw the line between an extra effort over a few weeks or months and working 80 hours a week for years. This easy solution rapidly becomes a “normal” way of living where ones wake up, eat, work, eat and go to sleep. This lifestyle will surely burn you down over a certain period of time since everybody has its own limit.

The worst part is that after a while, your financial situation will be back to red and you will be already working overtime. Working harder is definitely not a good way to compensate for a hole in your budget. Unless it is done for a specific project that has a determined cost and time frame, you should look at other alternatives.

Cut down your expenses

The easiest way to get your finance back on track is to spend less. You have to make a list of “needs” and “nice to have”. In other words, you have to make a budget and prioritize your expenses.

Consolidate your debts

This is another alternative in order to have a clear look at your financial situation. By consolidating your debts, you have good chances of paying less interest rate and reduce your monthly payment. Unfortunately, this solution is as good as working harder. If you do it over and over, you will not see the end of it.

Work smarter

There is working harder but there is also working smarter. Unless you are business owner or self employed, there is a limit of what your pay cheque will be. If you work smarter at your job, you may earn a promotion or a raise. If you start a sideline to produce alternative income, working smarter would create additional revenue. However, you will end up working overtime anyway.

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I’m sooo with you on this. I have a number of clients who feel they are not living the life they want (or are, but going into debt) whose solution is to get a second job. Honestly, when pretty much all of us are well-fed, housed and educated, something’s a bit wonky if we’re feeling driven to work a second job just to keep up with ourselves.

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