The Hand That Feeds Me

Right now I have two hands that feed me.

The first one is my passive income.  Right now, this equals a few hundred dollars a year in dividends from investing in stocks.  I reinvest those (to get more dividends!) so they never hit my bank account.  I also occasionally open up a bank account or a credit card for the sign up bonus.  This nets me up to $1000 a year.  Still not enough to live on.

So the primary hand that feeds me is my job.  I’m not alone in this situation.

And there’s no doubt that it’s been a very good hand to me.

Sure, I’ve felt pangs of boredom and stress and frustration and exhaustion.  It’s also been incredibly rewarding, both personally and financially.  I’ve been fortunate.

I’ve grown up a lot.  I’ve learned a ton of new skills.  My working life has made me a stronger, more complete person.  I’ve been lucky to have had mostly great managers who were supportive and encouraging and pushed me to be better and plenty of employees who made me want to work harder in order to make their work experience better.  I haven’t always been the best employee, the fairest manager, or the most team-oriented coworker.  I’ve worked hard and been lucky.

All this doesn’t mean I’m not actively working towards financial freedom.  In fact, I’m more motivated than ever.

That motivation doesn’t come from hating my job (although it does for a lot of people).  It comes from the feeling that no matter what, things are going to change.  They could change for the better or change for the worse.  Right now things are pretty good.  The hand that feeds me is familiar, almost comfortable.  When things are good at work, that is.  When things are bad, I’m reminded of how dependent on that hand I still am.  I need it, and it knows it.

I’ve known this hand for a long time.  It’s changed, and it’s going to change.  It’s nothing personal, that’s just the way companies are.

So it’s nothing personal that I’m building up a stash so that I can feed myself.  After all, if you consider life to be a game, you know you only have one hand to play.

2 thoughts on “The Hand That Feeds Me

  1. That’s true. I don’t think too much about my FIRE goals until I have a bad day at work–then I’m all up in retirement calculators and finding ways to slash our budget. But it’s important to pay yourself by getting rid of debt and investing your money instead of spending it on trivial stuff.

    1. I agree, the last couple weeks at work have gotten progressively more stressful for me and I’ve noticed I’m running numbers in my head a lot more.

      I see a lot of talk about how freeing an FU fund with like 5-10 years expenses is super liberating (and I have no doubt it is) but I feel like the benefits of pursuing FI are felt even in the first couple months. It’s hard to reconcile the feeling of knowing you’ve found a quicker way out when you hit the wall of bad work days – they can instantly turn that “shortcut” right back into a slog.

      Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply