Hidden Nuggets Series #5 – “Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” Proverbs 23:4-5
What’s the most hours you have ever worked in a week?
In the next hour, I would grab a quick bite to eat, while driving to my night job as a lifeguard. From hammer to whistle, the norm that summer was 13-hr. weekdays. And, to top it off, I added more lifeguard time on the weekends.
The Effort to Get Rich
Was the effort that summer worth it? In retrospect, probably. I learned a lot about work ethic, time management and discipline. Plus, I needed the money for my car payment, work and school clothes and textbooks for my courses in the fall. And it was for only three months.
But there was a great personal cost for all my efforts:
- My social life was nonexistent.
- I never could recharge properly because I didn’t get enough quality sleep.
- Lack of exercise and bad diet contributed to low energy levels.
- Gas and tool purchases ate a lot of money.
- Meeting the expectations of two employers caused higher stress levels.
In short, it wore me out.
In the personal finance blogosphere, we continually promote ways to make more and spend less with the hopes of becoming financially independent one day (i.e. rich). We realize a person can’t make more unless they work more, so we are constantly looking for ways to advance in our career or fill up the extra hours of our day with “side hustles” (def. – a way to earn money other than one’s day job). Our 9 to 5 quickly becomes a 5 am to 9 pm., day in and day out.
The Bible offers a warning against this scenario, as it basically suggests overworking to get rich is not worth it because of the fleeting nature of money. It’s here for a time and then gone, slipping through the very fingers that clutch so hard to retain it. The worst part is that we know the detrimental effects of overworking, yet we do it anyway. The side effects do not deter us because the lure of money captivates us to overlook them.
At what point is getting rich worth the trouble? Are the costs going to sufficiently repay the effort? I guess that’s an individual call. The only way I’d put in 80-hr. workweeks again is if it were desperation time…like a had-to-put-food-on-the-table-for-the-family-to-survive situation. Otherwise, I consider the costs too great to pursue, with that level of intensity, for something that inevitably doesn’t last.
Questions: What is your work tolerance level? What’s the fallout (side effects) of overworking in your life? Do you think the effort to get rich is worth it?
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Prior Post: I Can’t Jump Anymore – Adjusting to Changes