Blog Post 5 – Isn’t Property Risky? – Employment (2 of 7)

"If you don't find a way to earn money while you sleep, you will work until you die"

Warren Buffet

According to Office of National Statics, 75.1% of those aged between 16 – 65 living in the UK are in either full or part-time employment (October 2017). 

Do you think it would be reasonable to assume that ‘if most people are doing it, then that must be the best way to make a living?’

I would argue not, and here’s why…

Most employees earn their money relative to the amount of hours they work. Therefore, if you’re not working, you’re not earning. If you work 30 hours a week, you will earn 30 hours worth of pay. If you work 40 hours a week, you will earn 40 hours worth of pay. I won’t argue, that all seems fair to me. There is however a limit to the amount of hours you can work for legal, mental and physical reasons, and as no one has found a way to make a day last more than 24 hours, most of us will inevitably hit the ceiling of what is possible to earn. Employment is not scalable

Whilst I imagine most employees do not think of their job in such a way, it is a fact of life that most people appear to be content with. However, there is one aspect of employment that truly makes the blood boil (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), and that involves instances where you find yourself working more than your contractual number of hours and don’t get paid for the overtime (e.g. work 45 hours and getting paid for 40). I understand why people do this. Reasons can be because you don’t want to let anyone down (including yourself), or you’re working for goodwill so that you may be rewarded in the future with a potential pay rise or promotion. The key word there is “potential”. You might have the fear of losing your job and your manager fails to appreciate that “work just isn’t everything” to some people. If, however, you do enjoy what you do, then spending an extra hour or two at work is of course completely sane. If you don’t, which is approximately 36% of the nation according to YouGov, and you’re serious about improving your lifestyle, then I would suggest that you consider evaluating your situation. 

The process of employment can be exhausting, but it is necessary for most. We can no longer rely on the state pension for our well-being in later life. £122.30 a week just won’t cut it and that’s assuming you’ve worked for 35 years and paid your national insurance. Therefore, most people will be reliant on life savings and private pensions to make up the difference. The sad thing is, however, there are still many that work from month-to-month with no real plan for retirement and with no savings or pension to speak of. For some this is a more immediate concern than for others. We are all now expected to work longer because we are living longer. The retirement age for men and women is 65 and is due to increase over the next 10 years to 67.

Demands in the workplace are increasing and for many, salary bumps are marginally, if at all above the rate of inflation. Millennials (those born between the years 1982 and 2004) are some of the lowest paid relative to their predecessors at the same stage in their career.

It seems everyone has a degree these days. That means more competition for places and consequently employers can offer lower starting salaries. Supply is increasing faster than demand in some industries. Not to mention that attending university can land you in a heap of debt and graduates can expect to earn a full-time wage 4-5 years after their counterparts in apprenticeships and college courses. 

For those with aspirations of climbing the career ladder to earn a decent living, they sacrifice their time for money and then complain that they don’t have the time to do the things they want, even though they can afford to do so. Work life balance goes out the window and a stressful environment is the new norm. The majority of the population spend their money on materialistic and depreciating liabilities and must work for the next 40 years to keep up with the Joneses. 

It can be easy for employees to become complacent and believe they’re in complete control. I should know, I was such a person. Become ill or be made redundant at any moment in time and see how close you come to disaster. This is made even more urgent when you have children, a mortgage, car payments, Christmas around the corner and a holiday to Italy in the summer. Most large employers will sacrifice their staff for the sake of the company’s share price or shareholder dividends. There are some exceptions but they are few and far between.

And the worst part is…

Many of us feel unfulfilled by our jobs and we do it 262 days a year and think about it on Sundays.

There are some people in employment that are truly happy where they are. They aspired to what they have become and are better for it. They have job security and an owner/manager they feel valued working for. They are the lucky ones, but for most of us, employment may be the biggest risk to financial security and life satisfaction there is.

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