Mrs. Mase switched jobs recently. There were some good things about the old place she was at, mostly a few co-workers who ended up becoming friends. However, the overall work situation was starting to become untenable for certain reasons. It was reaching such a point of unsustainability in fact, that she quit the job just before Christmas.
We had it all planned out in advance budget-wise – because we’ve been saving such a large portion of our take home pay in order to knock out our mortgage, re-tooling the budget didn’t hurt much. In fact, because we had purposefully built in a decent amount of financial margin in our lives, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
My wife was able to search for a new position, take a breather, and take her time finding the next opportunity without a lot of stress. This whole process has left me feeling incredibly grateful and thankful to God. I can’t imagine how much more stress we would each have had in our lives if we were living paycheck to paycheck under the same circumstances. Yeah, my wife would have probably still left her position, but we would have had to cut back much more than we did.
So what’s happening now? Well, the Mrs. found an awesome new job that she started this week. The role is not quite as prestigious as her old one, but she is happier than ever about it.
The pay is better, the hours are shorter, and the culture seems to be pretty friendly and complementary with people who want work/life balance. Also, the job is even closer to home than her previous one, which cuts her commute (she walks to work) by over 50%! Talk about a huge blessing.
The thing is, my wife could have been a brat and complained about the whole thing because her job title isn’t as cool sounding as her old one. She could have complained about a number of other things too. But the thing is, she didn’t, and that’s why I love her so much. She kept searching until she found the right opportunity that not only gave her a better position that more fully integrates into our lives; she did it without sacrificing our financial goals too.
Sometimes I think a lot of people care way more about their job title than what they’re actually doing at work or what their pay or hours look like. Thinking about it more, it makes sense, because different people need different types of validation in their career. Some people care exclusively about money – raises are a direct indication to them of how well they are doing and they believe that it determines their status in the organization. Others care mainly about schedule – free time is way more important than overtime. Still, others just care about making an impact in the lives of others through their work. They don’t care about the money or titles as much, and they’re willing to stay late and come in early because they feel they’re making a real difference.
Ultimately, I think most people care about a mixture of all those things. However, I believe each person leans in one direction a little more than all the others. Have you ever had a co-worker or friend choose their pride over their pocketbook?
Some people much prefer to have a position with high status, such as some doctors – they pay hundreds of thousands in medical school bills and study for years on end before bringing in the big bucks. Even though residents typically make far less than they will later in their careers, just saying to others that they’re in medical school carries social weight (I don’t mean to pick on doctors – a lot of them pursue medicine because they truly just care about saving lives and want to do it in a way such that they can comfortably provide for themselves and their family).
Ultimately, I think a mix of priorities is important. You can’t only focus on having social impact in your work – you’re going to constantly be destitute if you can’t pay your bills. You can’t only focus on having a high status career – who really cares anyway? You can’t focus only on schedule either – if you work five hours a week but make $100 per week you’re going to have a tough time living off of that amount. You can’t only focus on bringing in money – money buys freedom and choices, but not love and happiness.
All priorities need to be embraced to some degree. However, if one has to fall by the wayside, it definitely should be status or job position. Take care of your family’s finances as best you can, do work that’s meaningful to you, and get the work schedule that works best for you and your family. Don’t get caught up in the ego of a job title. I’m super proud of my wife for making a great decision that makes her happier. It’s not about how people refer to you in the corporate world, it’s about having the highest quality of life possible, and increasing that quality day by day, year by year.