Mercenary Work.

While we often ponder why we’re here and what our purpose in life is, there is one constant in the journey of life; Money. It’s how we purchase food to eat, shelter to live in, gifts for our loved ones, and anything else you can think of. The concept of currency has been traced as far back as 5000 BC, to rudimentary barter trading, evolving into present day fiat currency.

In order to make money, you must preform labor. In the Bible, Job chapter 5 sums it up perfectly: “Man is born to labour and the bird to fly.” In order to survive, we must work. In return for the work done, we are rewarded with a salary that allows us to pay our bills and feed our family.

Over the course of the last few hundred years, it has become a socially accepted truth that the best way to earn money is through a job. Think about today’s economy; Young adults go to college, graduate with a degree, then use said degree to start a job in their desired field. They work this job, climbing the corporate later, for the majority of their professional career. Then, after they have amassed an agreed upon amount, they retire, and live off of the funds they have saved over the years.

It’s no surprise why this process is the norm. A job is stable. You have set hours to work, a set salary that you can expect at the end of the week, and a set group of people to co-work with. Humans are creatures of habit, making this the perfect solution to one of life’s constant problems.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this method either. Having an agreed upon amount of money to expect allows for better budgeting, and knowing what you can and cannot afford. Knowing exactly when you will be working allows for easier planning outings and other events.

But for many young adults, this process isn’t appealing to them for a variety of reasons. A job is a requirement, but it does not provide to the needs and wants of individuals. A few examples; Instant gratification in young adults doesn’t allow us to wait to be promoted; we want the promotion immediately. Our paychecks are too small to allow us to keep up with the trust-fund kids on Instagram. Early morning shifts are hard to wake up for, but evening shifts take up our valuable social time.

I hear from more and more people my age that they are unsatisfied with their current job. When I was still working, I jumped around to multiple jobs, sometimes three or four in a year, chasing the oasis of a high pay and less hours in a desert of full time positions. Full disclosure, I never found it.

But over the past few months of self employment, I’ve stumbled onto a new concept of what we consider to be “work”. We have to make money to survive, but it doesn’t always mean getting a permanent job.

Let’s think of Mercenaries for a moment. The dictionary definition of a mercenary is “a person primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics.” Now, the ethics part is a whole separate argument, but the core vision of mercenaries is taking on jobs for money. Specifically, jobs they want to do. Think of the countless action movies where we see heroes (and sometimes villains) taking on contracts and jobs for the money. They have the freedom that when they get a task they don’t want to do, they can turn it down, and find something else.

Ever since I’ve left the full time work force, I’ve adopted a similar view when it comes to making money. I don’t park myself behind a desk from 9-5 on weekdays. I have the freedom to make money how I want to. Whether that be selling websites, designing logos, DoorDashing a few nights a week, or even mowing lawns for some extra cash, I have the freedom to choose what I want to. And that, is a pretty amazing feeling.

I don’t have to worry about burnout from doing the same thing day in and day out. I don’t have to worry about calling in sick or getting written up. I don’t have to worry about clocking in late, or having to work a double.

But just like everything, there are downsides to this lifestyle. Namely, consistency. I have no idea how much money I’m going to make every week. Sure, I have clients on retainer that bring in a set amount of money a month. But past that, It could be either up or down. I could sell 4 websites and be rolling in the dough, or sell absolutely nothing and be eating ramen.

To me though, I love the risk. I have the ability to make as much or as little as I want, based on the amount of effort I put in and how good my sales / management skills are. Hustling every day helps me sleep better at night, because I know even if I came up short financially, I still gave it 100%, and tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.

The point I’m trying to make here, is don’t limit yourself to thinking you have to rely on a dead end job for income. There are almost infinite ways to make money. Services, Investing, Dividends, Products, the list goes on and on.

Now I’m not advocating for you to leave your high paying job just because you had a bad Tuesday. This is for those who either feel like they’re in a rut and need some breathing room for their soul, or people like me, who can’t afford to work a full time job, but still like to have some form of self-guided income.

Your ability to work is your responsibility. How do you want to sell your most precious finite asset (your time)?

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