Monday, July 16, 2012

Living Each Day Like It's My Last on the Job

Each morning when I wake up, the odds are that I’ll still have a job, especially now that I’m self-employed. This doesn’t mean that I have to take that job for granted though. In fact, living like each day could be my last day on the job, helps me better prepare myself for the unexpected and get (and keep) my financial affairs in better order. It might sound somewhat depressing, but living like each day is my last on the job actually makes my life feel a little bit better, especially when I end that day still gainfully employed.

Reduced Spending
If you thought that you were going to lose your job today, would you go out and start throwing money around frivolously? Would you buy that new flat screen television? Would you have that big dinner out? I hope not. I wouldn’t.

Knowing that my income could suddenly and severely be diminished and that such a situation could last for months, if not longer, means my attitude toward spending would change. And so, by acting like each day will be my last on the job, it alters my spending habits and makes me reconsider just how, where, and in what amounts, I’m spending my money.

Better Saving Habits
It’s not just my spending habits that are affected by training my thoughts upon the possibility of today being my last day on the job. By convincing myself that my income flow could be shut off -- or at least greatly diminished – it helps me stash more cash away in the event that I’m left high and dry when it comes to income flow. When that rainy day could be tomorrow, saving for it is much easier than if I think that rainy day might be nowhere in the foreseeable forecast.

Increased Awareness
Thinking that my last payday is imminent helps me keep better tabs on my personal financial situation. One of the common threads among advice for those who are going to lose or have recently lost their job regards doing a general accounting of personal finances.

Knowing what bills are outstanding, what my regular expenses are, what expenses could be cut and by how much, how much I have in reserve accounts and my emergency fund, and similar financial information can be pertinent to sustaining some sort of normal existence after a job loss. Thinking that each day could be the day that loss of employment arrives, heightens my awareness regarding my overall personal financial situation.

Heightened Productivity
Since, as a writer who is typically paid per piece, thinking that I might not have a job tomorrow pushes me to get more done and earn more today while my employment is secure. If I knew my job would be there tomorrow, I might push certain work off until later, but not knowing when I wake up the next day whether a huge portion of my income could be gone, is a great motivator for finishing today what could be put off until tomorrow.

More Appreciation
When I consider the possibility of a job coming to an abrupt end tomorrow, it creates more of an appreciation for the work I have today. It’s easy to take a job or steady work for granted. Knowing that it could all suddenly be gone though -- along with the income it provides -- makes me more appreciative and helps me push aside some of the minor annoyances that come with my work.

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