Let’s talk about the work hard, play hard lifestyle that many people live by today. What do you think of when you hear the phrase work hard, play hard? I picture someone working 50-60 hours/week at the office, and then going out for drinks and adventure whenever he/she is off. The employers love this work hard, play hard culture because when you’re on the clock, you’ll be working hard for them. You can play hard on your own time.
I don’t have anything against working hard. It’s good to work hard, but you should work hard toward specific goals. If you are working hard for a corporation, you need to have further goals than just enriching the stock holder. Working hard to get promotions and financial security for your family is a good goal to have, but you have to examine the underlying motivation as well. Are you really working hard for financial freedom? Or are you working hard so you can play hard AKA lifestyle inflation?
I guess my real problem is with the play hard side of the equation. Play hard is code word for spending more money to many people. It’s not just play, but Play Hard. It sounds almost like a movie title. It even has a sequel: Play Harder.
Play Hard to me means partying hard – for example, drinking Grey Goose, eating toro maki roll at Masa ($450 per person), snorkeling in Maldives, or gambling at Monaco. Play Hard isn’t limit to activities because nowadays, it means living large. That’s why some people buy the 4,000 square foot McMansion, the $60,000 Cadillac, and a jet ski. After all, if you are working so hard, you deserve these things, right?
The tag line implies that you need to play hard to release some pressure after working hard. Is this true? Working hard can create a lot of stress, but aren’t resting and relaxing better remedies for stress? Playing hard and spending a lot of money will only exacerbate the cycle. You work hard to earn more money so you can spend it. Once you get used to spending all that money, you need to keep working harder to buy even bigger and better things.
Work less, live more
Work hard shouldn’t be coupled with play hard. If you are working hard, you should know what you are working hard for. Don’t fall for the work hard, play hard motto that corporate sells. Instead, work hard so you can achieve financial security. This means get rid of debt and build your net worth. If you are at it long enough, you can shoot for financial independence. Invest in income generating assets instead of playing hard and in time, your investment will be able to pay for your living expenses. That’s why I worked hard for many years – so I can work less and live more today.
Are you living the work hard, play hard lifestyle? If you are, do you have any rebuttals? I know play hard doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money, but many people do this.
P.S. I found that Work Hard, Play Hard is apparently a hit song when I was researching this article. Check it out, it’s not bad. You’d want a headphone though because it’s full of expletives.