What’s the difference between ‘work’ and ‘job’? We use these two words interchangeably most of the time, but there is a subtle difference between them. Here are the definitions from the Oxford online dictionary.
Work – Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.
Job – A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.
To me, work is a more inclusive term than job. You can work on completing a goal like finishing a marathon, raising your children, or fixing up your house. Job is good too, but it usually means something that you have to do to get paid. I like working, but I don’t want a job. A job is work + a lot of BS. That’s my view after retirement. Working a bit after retirement is good, but getting a job would be a drag. Well, I suppose the right job would be nice for a few years, but then you’re not really retired.
So what’s the point? I’m sure you’ve heard this question before – what’s your dream job? It’s a common interview question and I hate it. I’m sure 99.99% of the interviewees aren’t applying for their dream job. We just need money to pay the bills. Anyway, even a dream job comes with a certain amount of overhead (i.e., BS). I got my dream job right out of college and it was great for many years. However, the dream job became more stressful every year as I took on more responsibilities. Eventually, it turned into a nightmare and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I gave up my engineering career in 2012 and I haven’t regretted my decision to leave. Of course, I miss the fat paychecks, but we’re doing fine financially, so I can’t complain.
Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing the technical work again. It’d be fun to do logic design and verification. However, there is too much overhead with that job. Things like endless meetings, stupid politicking, long hours, unrealistic deadlines, layoffs, corporate restructuring, and the relentless pressure to do more. I liked the technical work, but I hated everything else about the job. Simply doing the fun technical stuff is just not good enough if you’re a senior engineer. I suspect that’s true for many careers as well.
Anyway, that’s a moot point because my knowledge is out of date after 5 years away. Also, they can’t pay me enough to go back. I love my current life too much and it’d take a lot more than my old salary to put me back in a cubicle.
Dream Jobs circa 2012
You know what, I wrote about my dream jobs in 2012. It’s been 5 years so let’s go back and see what I think now. Back then, the plan was to be a stay-at-home-dad until RB40Jr started school, and then I’d consider finding a job again. RB40Jr is now in kindergarten, so is it time to go after these dream jobs? How does the dream job appeal to a seasoned early retiree?
- Food truck/cart – I still think it would be fun to run a food cart for a few years. This would be a lot of work, though. It’d be a full time job and I’d need to deal with employees. I’d be willing to try this if it’s limited to 3-4 hours/day and generates good cash flow.
- Teach Yoga, Tai chi, meditation – This still sounds like fun to me. It’ll be very part time and I’ll be able to help people feel better. Mrs. RB40’s cousin teaches yoga while studying for his degree in physical therapy, and seems to enjoy it.
- Foreign Service – We gave up on this dream. Mrs. RB40 went in for the oral interview and she didn’t get a position. She realized that her values and those of the interviewers didn’t align. I don’t want a boss, so this is out for me.
- Okonomiyaki restaurant – I think this is a bad idea now. I still think an okonomiyaki restaurant would do well in Portland, but this would be way too much work. Running a restaurant is very time consuming and stressful.
- Run a small B&B or hostel in a nice tropical location – Mrs. RB40 still thinks this is a dream job. I think it would be fun too, but it’ll take a lot of time and effort. We probably can’t enjoy the tropical location very much if we’re spending all our time running a B&B.
I still think these jobs would be great, but I don’t want to work full-time again. It’s just too much time and effort. I like my life too much to go back to full-time work. RB40Jr is in kindergarten now, but I just don’t have any desire to go look for a full-time job or create one for myself.
So instead of thinking about a job, let’s try to think about what kind of work we’d like to do instead. Remove all the BS associated with a job and go straight to what you like to do. We’ll start with that and see where it goes.
Here is the question – what’s your ideal work? What would you like to work on if money isn’t an issue? You’d need to be able to do the work or acquire the skill to do so. I mean, it would be awesome to be an astronaut, but that’s too unrealistic. I’ll go first.
- Blogging – I enjoy writing a blog post and interacting with the comments. Blogging is a lot of fun and I think everyone should have one. The problem with blogging is that it takes a lot of time. I used to blog 3 times per week, but I reduced to 2 last year. That’s pretty good for now, but eventually I’ll probably just blog once per week. Here is my tutorial on how to start a blog if you’re thinking about it.
- Financial coaching – Lately, I’ve been thinking that financial coaching would be a good way to give back. I’d like to coach poor families and immigrants who need help with money. They’re the ones that need help the most.
- Help at school – I’m volunteering at school about once per month. It’s really great to spend time with the kids. They are so enthusiastic about everything and they are learning so much. I wouldn’t want to do this every day, though. It’d drive me nuts. J
- Reading fun books – I love reading science fiction books. Recently, I discovered the Expanse series and read all the books. They are so good! The TV version on Syfy channel is awesome too. If you like science fiction, you can’t miss it. Is there a way to make money by reading books? No, I don’t want to write book reviews.
- Small event planning – This is actually Mrs. RB40’s dream. She likes the idea of throwing
small-scale events (wine or food tastings, themed dinners, or lectures, for example) and loves planning get-togethers at our home. Nothing huge like weddings, unless there are fewer than 12 people in attendance. With her regular job, though, she hasn’t had much time for this.
Hmm.. My current life is pretty close to my ideal work situation. The only issue I have now is that I spend a lot of time blogging. Eventually, I’d like to cut back a bit because too much screen time is really bad for my eyes. Also, I spent quite a bit of time being a landlord this month. I fixed a light fixture, replaced a kitchen faucet, caulked 2 bathtubs, and got the roofing guy to fix a leak. It’s been a busy few weeks at the rentals.
It’s interesting to see how my idea of work changes over time. Previously, I thought a dream job would be ideal, but now I prefer to work part-time on some enjoyable projects. Being self employed is really nice, too. I don’t think I can handle having a boss anymore.
Okay, it’s your turn. What’s your ideal work? Is it what you’re doing right now?