Financial independence is a hot topic today, with many young people aspiring to make a fortune early on, to stop relying on salaried employment to solve their life’s money problems. To this end, they sacrifice large chunks of their leisure, their personal lives and sometimes, their well-being.
The underlying premise behind financial independence is that working for a wage is a disutility whose shackles one must break (hence the independence). It is consistent with the view of salaried employment being a state of tyranny from which one must strive to extricate one’s self to be satisfied. It often involves either earning a large wage and channeling most of it into investments or building a business and selling it for millions. Both these paths are not pursued for their own sake, but as means to a different end – to reach the promised land of financial independence.
But what if you can achieve a state of joy and contentment today, while being employed? What if you can find a firm whose work culture is close enough to your own ideals? What if this workplace gave you enough money to solve your money problems, and enough autonomy to leave your own personal mark? And what if you looked forward to going to work on most Monday mornings? An adherent of financial independence would write off such a workplace as too-good-to-be-true. Yet, there are enough happily employed people in the world.
An alternative to financial independence is to turn your own workplace into one that is a pleasure to show up to.