Some people spend upwards of 60% of their young lives working in a job that they don’t enjoy with the purpose of making alot of money.
These people may be exchanging time for the ability to purchase products and services now, or perhaps to achieve status or secure future riches for retirement. If you fall into one of these categories and don’t enjoy what you’re doing, consider thinking about the following. If you enjoy what you’re doing, this probably isn’t very relevant.
Your Hypothetical Trip to Antarctica
Imagine you have been given an offer. If you choose to accept the offer, you’ll be taken on a hypothetical trip to Antarctica and you’ll be given an endless supply of money. However, as with most hypothetical amateur thought experiments, there is a catch. Three in fact. They are as follows:
- There are no other people in hypothetical Antarctica and you are not allowed to communicate with any people back in the hypothetical country you live in. No internet, Facebook, Twitter, Forums, or communication of any kind
- Hypothetical Antarctica has a limitless supply of your favourite brands, products, property, and services (and you have endless money to purchase with)
- You cannot visit hypothetical Antarctica, save some money and return to the country you are from.
Do you accept the offer?
My guess is that most people would not and I think there are a range of reasons why. Boredom, no interaction with people, no purpose in life, no sex, and no ability to have children all come to mind (and I’m sure there are many i’m not thinking of). However, if you exclude most of these reasons and just think about the loss of interaction with people, one issue becomes pretty clear for me.
Brands, products, expensive cars and status would all shrink heavily in value with no one around to witness them. For me, only truly useful goods would hold their value. As much fun as driving a Lamborghini through a crevasse in Antarctica might be, if people had to give up time with their friends to make it happen, selling one-way tickets on the hypothetical Alaska boat would become alot harder.
To me, this illustrates that our friendships are ultimately more important than our desires for material possessions, status, and future riches (if given the choice of having one or the other). Yet, some people choose to work 60+ hours a week during the best years of their life doing something they don’t enjoy while their friendships suffer and the years of their life tick away. What they are saving for and who will share it with them is anybody’s guess.
There are so many what ifs and other rebuttals that come to mind that could weaken this argument and I might be completely off the reservation here but I think the basic gist is interesting. So, if I find myself not enjoying large chunks of my time on a regular basis and effectively find myself sacrificing something I enjoy (like time with friends) for material possessions that are not useful, status or future riches, I’ll think of Antarctica.