A few days ago, I was offered a pretty cool opportunity. It was going to take up a ton of time, but it was one of those things where it would be cool to be able to say “Hey, I did this.”
So I was sitting down, ready to accept the offer, and then I realized “Wait a minute. I don’t actually want to do this. So why am I doing this?” It was going to take a lot of time, it wasn’t an activity I thought I would particularly enjoy, and it wasn’t a volunteer-service type thing (meaning I wasn’t doing something for the good of others). So I decided not to accept the opportunity.
We all have things we have to do that we don’t want to do. Like getting out of bed on a cold morning. Or going to work on those days we don’t want to. And paying bills, though there’s something oddly satisfying about that. And there are things we do that we might not want to do, but feel good after we do them, like volunteering or working out.
But then there are things that we do that we don’t want to do that we don’t have to do. I’m sure everyone has those friends who drag you out to do activities you don’t enjoy or somehow you always get roped into painting parties and the person never repays the favor. Sure, these are things we do on occasion, but perhaps we shouldn’t always say yes.
Or there are things you do because everyone does it. You dress a certain way or act a certain way or go certain places because that is the socially accepted norm. You spend money on things you don’t want, but hey, everyone has one, so I should too.
So I put this to you – if you don’t want to do it, don’t. And that goes for everything. Are you working a job you hate? Okay, don’t quit it, because this is not a good time to be quitting jobs. But maybe start developing your skills on the side so that you can quit when the time is right. Are you volunteering somewhere that you just aren’t happy because you don’t know how to say no? Do it! Say no! There are plenty of organizations that need your help. Feel bad about leaving completely? Cut back and volunteer two places. Stuck in boring projects at work? Propose something new! Ask your boss if you can do something else. Of course, again, you can’t ditch your current responsibilities, but I bet you could do your work faster if it meant you could spend the saved time on something you’re truly passionate about.
I can’t say I’m sorry that I turned down the opportunity that was presented to me. That leaves me with a lot of time that I can spend doing things that I do enjoy. Sometimes you just have to focus on you.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.