Friday, July 20, 2012

Money is the problem.

I was raised on welfare. Knowing the basic necessities of life were being provided for allowed for exploring and learning about many other things unrelated to money. One thing I learned is that it's not the increase in money that reduces stress, but the assurance I will always have enough to meet necessities that does the trick.
Those who think that making more money means more work are missing the point. This is clearly a hypothetical question - AKA a "thought experiment". Imagine that you got a 100% raise tomorrow, while doing exactly the same job you do now. Would you be happier?
I'm sure I'd be happier tomorrow. I'd probably be happier in one month. But next year, on in ten years? I would have adjusted to my new income and lifestyle, would find new things to worry about, and would be just about as happy as I started.
The point about reaching more happiness through experiences than through "stuff" is important, and it makes me sad that our society is biased against it. I would happily take a 25% "reduction" in salary in exchange for three months more of vacation time. Time I could spend travelling, being with family and friends, learning, practicing hobbies... But very few employers will offer you such a deal. They don't want to deal with employees being away for a long time because it breaks the "flow" of business.
OK, three months may be taking it a bit far, but many companies in Europe (where people are often happier) practically shut down for at least a month during the summer, while everyone takes a month-long vacation. I remember being told when I lived and worked in Switzerland that I was "required" to take at least half of my annual vacation time in one chunk. They said they wanted to ensure you actually relaxed, instead of taking one day off every other week all year long! 

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