Categories
Life

Why I Leave the Office at 5

If you have young kids, you need to enjoy them while they’re young. 

Sure your kid might be 5 years old with decades of life ahead of him, but by the time he’s 10 over half the time you will get to spent with him will have passed. By the time he finishes college more than 95% of the time you will get to spend with him will have passed.

This is because when kids are young, they’re at home and almost all their free time with their parents. However, as kids age they are at home less frequently. Eventually, they move out.

The chart below illustrates this. 

Your experience may vary, but will follow a similar path. You are everything to your kids until they start school. Then you’re a little less-than-everything as they get older, meet friends and get bogged down with schoolwork. Finally, by the time they start working and move out you’re the person they hopefully visit once a week for a couple hours. 

Invest time in your kids while they’re young for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of raising your offspring. Invest time in your kids while they’re young to set the foundation for a good adult relationship. 

This is why I leave the office at 5pm. This is why I avoid working in the evenings or weekends. This is why I prioritize going home to my kids over drinking with my work buddies. 

Categories
Work

There Is No Such Thing as a “Self-Made” Man

If you trace the careers and business ventures of successful men and women, many have one thing in common: they had support.

Very few people become successful entirely on their own. We all need help. Arnold Schwarzenegger emigrated to the US with $20 in his pocket. As a young, broke bodybuilder it was his friends that helped him get on his feet.

Arnold was lucky. Many people in his situation – regardless of talent – would not have experienced his success. He could have easily ended up as a personal trainer or supplements salesperson. He could have had a pretty average job and pretty average life, like most of us.

Perhaps the support from his friends made all the difference in his life. Support can help open doors for people, but the true benefit isn’t the opportunity that is created, it’s the safety net that’s provided.

Imagine for a second that you won the lottery but decided to keep working. Assuming you retained a sense of professionalism, how would your behaviour at work change? You’d probably be a lot more bold and take more calculated risks. Money is a safety-net that enables one to push beyond the safety zone. Of course, this is exactly what’s needed to become highly successful.

Most people I know who have led successful careers or built great businesses were not self-made. In fact, they had a lot more support than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Most of them came from middle-class families, at a minimum. Many had their educations fully-funded – thus, didn’t graduate immediately into indentured servitude. Most had early career breaks or internships opened up by family members. Alternatively, if they created a business their first clients were family and family friends.

Starting early in life, their parents taught them how to succeed, gave their first breaks and, most importantly, if all else failed provided a financial back-stop. These people could take calculated career or entrepreneurial risks and know they would always have a bed to sleep in and table to eat at.

Unfortunately, few of these people recognize their privilege. I have friends who think they were self-made, yet lived in apartments paid for by their parents, had access to whatever they needed (e.g. computers, working space, cars) and could ask for money whenever needed. Almost everyone I know who had that level of support is now highly successful, either at a big corporation or as a business owner.

In contrast, I know plenty of people who were literally on their own from high school. They had minimal parental guidance, zero financial support and no fall-back. In other words, past a certain age, if they screwed up they would be homeless.

Everyone I know who had this kind of foundation is middle-class at best. Most lack confidence and have had to struggle to overcome hurdles just to keep their heads above water. Few were brave enough (or stupid enough?) to take career or business risks, instead sticking to a working class lifestyle to quickly become self-sufficient. Some were lucky enough to become middle class professionals by following well-worn paths such as accountancy, law or medicine.

In this sense, I agree with Arnold’s premise that there’s no such thing as a self-made man. So next time you compare yourself with someone more successful, bolder or more confident remember they probably got there because they had a lot of help dating back to a well-supported childhood.

Categories
Work

49% Seriously Considering Quitting Job

With the benefits of working from home now crushed for most workers, many people are working longer hours and unable to compartmentalize their work and home lives.

Consequently, many people are on-call and on-line 24/7. As I’ve written previously, companies have learned that work-from-home staff suddenly have an extra 1-2hrs a day to work (because they no longer have to commute). Furthermore, many employers believe staff will do anything to keep their jobs in an uncertain economy, and are therefore piling on the work. Many of these same companies have reduced headcount and are unwilling to pay for the resources necessary to take on the extra workload.

Every single private sector office worker I know is putting in much longer hours than before the pandemic started. Moreover, with the comingling of home and the office, many are unable to separate themselves from their work. This is consequently creating tons of stress for the average worker.

Meanwhile, as year-end approaches most workers are being ‘prepped’ for a shitty bonus and meaningless salary increase. After all, the way many employers currently view it these people are lucky to have a job.

It might come as a shock when workers start to voluntarily quit in this economy. Unfortunately, that’s where we are likely headed.

New research by Hays finds that 49% of Canadian employees are seriously considering leaving their jobs, a nine percentage point jump from last year. That number for Ontario: 52%!

According to Travis O’Rourke, president of Hays Canada:

“Canadian employers are navigating difficult headwinds but the growing number of employees who want to leave their role, even in the face of a tentative job market, is a big problem. COVID-19 has left everyone exhausted and while many businesses are improving, staff are waving a white flag. Employees expect a company to have their best interests at heart and we’re now seeing evidence that unsupported teams look for better opportunities. Once we turn a corner on the pandemic or see more signs of job market strength, those employees are gone.”

Canadians are overworked, stressed and see little help coming their way from their current employers. Indeed, only 64% of employees are positive about their well-being, down from 81% early in the year. At the same time, 54% of employers admit they have done nothing to support employee wellness or mental health.

I’m already seeing more people being easily lured away by attractive competitor offers. It appears that people are losing hope that their career will grow at their current place of employment.

Additional Hays 2021 Salary Guide highlights

  • Where is employment optimism highest? ON (77%), QC (77%), BC (74%). AB trails at 50 per cent
  • How about raises? 46% of AB employers plan no salary increases, followed by QC (33%), ON and BC are tied at 23 per cent
  • Where are employees most ready to leave? QC (54%), ON (52%), AB (48%), BC (41%)
  • What do employees want from a new role? Benefits (53%), career development (44%), work-life balance (40%)
  • What’s affecting people’s well-being? Lack of social interaction (45%), isolation (27%), increased workload (25%)
  • What about hiring plans? Over the past 12 months 35 per cent of employers decreased permanent staff. Looking ahead, 36 per cent plan to add headcount

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