Today we get to hear from my younger and stronger (though not as good looking) mesomorph brother. He’s the proud new father of a beautiful baby boy! Let’s hear it for Steven!
I’m the perfect example of someone in need of Mark’s financial advice.
I work in the public relations & marketing department for a large healthcare organization, so I’m used to contributing to blogs, but usually on topics like meditation, pregnancy, listeria, and kidney stones.
I don’t claim to have any special financial expertise, but I can pass a long a few insights I gleaned from a recent conversation with my dad during a game of tennis (if I remember correctly, Mark has told you a bit about him).
My Cushy Life
I graduated two years ago with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and currently spend most of my working days building relationships, writing, designing, filming, photographing, interviewing, event planning, facebooking, and tweeting.
I really enjoy what I do. I have a great boss, I work with awesome people, and I have a fairly flexible schedule. I think the words my dad used were “you have a cushy life.”
In the midst of my cushy life, however, and with the birth of our first child, I’ve turned my thoughts more toward the future. I’ve almost become obsessed with thinking about how I’ll provide financially for my family and give them the experiences I want them to have.
The conversation I had with my dad has had a significant effect on my thought process, and I now have clearer direction toward what I think will be a more financially-secure life.
My two main takeaways dealt with loyalty to our employers and contentment with our financial situations.
Lesson #1: Loyalty
During our game, it dawned on me that I knew very little about my dad’s early working years, so I started to fire away with questions. Here’s a bit about what I found out from our conversation.
After school, he spent two years working 14 to 16 hour days at an accounting firm until he decided to jump out of public accounting and make the transition to banking. He spent a year each at two different credit unions before taking a better offer in Las Vegas where he spent the next 30 years.
This newly acquired knowledge led to my first question.
“Didn’t you ever feel a sense of loyalty for the companies you worked for?”
His response was a resounding, “No, not a lick.”
He was very quick to point out that by saying he wasn’t loyal to his employer didn’t mean he was a crappy employee who wasn’t engaged.
He worked really hard as evidenced by where he is today. He simply meant that he always had his eye on the opportunities that could help him progress. He explained that he even has the same expectation for his employees. He wants them to give him everything they can while they work for him, but if and when they leave, he understands the reasoning behind their decision.
He even quoted a book called High Velocity Culture Change that says “Loyalty is a treacherous thing in a world of rapid change.”
If we’re so tied to where we’re currently at, we run the risk of being left behind. Sometimes changing companies or changing positions within the same company is exactly what we need to keep up with our evolving world.
Lesson #2: Contentment
Like I said, I really like what I do. I work for an leader in the healthcare industry that’s known around the nation as a model healthcare system. Employees are treated well and enjoy good benefits–affordable insurance premiums, a solid pension plan, and a culture that has resulted in very low turnover.
After explaining this to my dad in the midst of our tennis match, I asked him if it was a problem that I really liked where I was at.
“No, because you’re content. And until you become discontent, you’ll never make the changes necessary to progress and become something more.”
Classic dad wisdom at it’s finest!
I think contentment is what most of us are seeking in life. We want to arrive at a place where we can say that we’ve made it and that we have enough.
But I started wondering what happens then? Is it really possible to stay there, or do we start to digress? This is when things started to click.
In the back of my head, I’ve always wanted to go back and get a graduate degree, but while in school, I so looked forward to graduating and having a few years to live my “cushy” life in the working world.
And I’ve had it. My life is hasn’t been perfect by any means, but for the most part I’ve been loyal, and I’ve felt quite content.
I took a chance
But after the epiphany-inducing tennis match with my dad, I started thinking differently about my life. It triggered a series of events that has led me down a great path.
My newfound discontent led me to try an experiment.
I noticed an open position at another hospital within the same company. It offered both a bump up the ladder and a pay increase. After talking with the director to express my interest as well as with a coworker familiar with the role, I decided to apply for the job.
Not really wanting to leave my current team, my plan was to try to get an offer and then approach my boss to see if he could match it. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to go that far.
I sent my boss an email to give him the heads up to make sure he didn’t hear the news second hand. Within an hour, I had a voicemail from him telling me there were some options we could discuss.
It all resulted in a bump up the ladder AND a pay increase AND I didn’t have to leave my team.
Another action I’ve taken is that I’ve started to study for the GMAT in preparation for returning to school. I have this lofty goal of being a hospital administrator some day, and in order to get there, a master’s degree is a must.
Forget loyalty! (and pseudo-contentment)
So, to sum it all up, think about your current loyalties and your level of contentment.
- Are you being loyal to outdated priorities, beliefs, or behaviors that make it difficult to progress?
- Are you truly content?
Depending on the answer to these questions will determine if you need to make any changes in order to get you where you want to go.
I’m not saying that I deceived myself into thinking I was content when I really wasn’t.
I was. And I am.
We need to make sure we are being loyal to ourselves rather than to the status quo. Life happens, and sometimes we realize we need to change paths. I think being content comes from knowing you are on the right one.
Is there something you are being treacherously loyal to?