How finances fit into your vocation

I have heard numerous people say things like, “Someday when I retire, I can do what I really enjoy.”  Ironically, many people separate the idea of pursuing their ideal position from earning a good living.  Some think it is too late, while others simply feel they must first do something they don’t love in order to earn the money needed before they can pursue their true calling.  Why?  If your occupation and vocation are not currently aligned, then I would highly suggest making plans to get there.  Spend the time and start now and set specific goals and milestones to allow progress.

In the movie “Up in the Air,” there is a powerful exchange between George Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham, who is firing a guy named Bob from his corporate job.  I think the point hits home with many people as Ryan tries to encourage Bob as he tries to move forward.

Ryan Bingham: Your resume says you minored in French Culinary Arts. Most students work the frier at KFC. You busted tables at Il Picatorre to support yourself. Then you got out of college and started working here. How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?

Bob: Twenty seven thousand a year.

Ryan Bingham: At what point were you going to stop and go back to what made you happy?

I have noticed that one of the major roadblocks preventing people from living out their vocation through their occupation centers on personal finance.  Learning to live below your means while avoiding debt is a key component to doing so.  In the classic book, “The Richest Man in Babylon,” it says that in order to prosper financially, it is recommended that you save and invest at least 10% of your income and spend less than the remaining 90%.

Charles Dickens wrote in his book David Copperfield, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

There is a saying in sports that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships.  While earning money is important, how we allocate it is even more so.  Saving money while living below your means allows greater freedom to make new employment choices and seize opportunities as they arise.

Poor financial management affects individuals, companies, and countries.  Regarding employment, I have noticed financial stress causes people to focus on short term fixes rather than making good long term plans and decisions.

Becoming financially literate is an important skill to develop, and by doing so, you’ll be on your way to successfully making a living at your vocation.

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