Secret financial lives Part I

Freud, in a relatively romantic mood, wrote about how a person cannot genuinely love many things or people.  It is too diluted and therefore false.  True love is whole.

Well I always interpreted his sentiment to mean love of vocation or hobbies, in addition to people.  As well, I studied Chinese philosophy which dictates that water is powerful because it always finds the cracks, and then expands in winter when everything is the most harsh and difficult.  And so I have developed a theory that you can tell what people really love vocationally, and who they want to be, by following the trail of blood and sweat.  Because the love of the soul is powerful like water, and will always seek the destination dictated by the soul, empowered by the mind and the muscles of the body.

Don’t you ever notice that people occasionally do crazy things?  And wonder what drives people to do what they do?

Showing up at work day to day, I observe people and have come to some conclusions.  The conclusions focus on the outliers; most people just show up at work and do their thing, and you can’t draw any conclusions about that without more information.

But some people exhibit outlying financial behavior that begs for a Freudian analysis.

There are people at my company who own decently pumping real estate businesses on the side.  You can tell because you can hear them on the phone.  I know three people like this, and wonder why they are still working at my company.  I assume they are setting up to retire early, otherwise why would anyone go to so much trouble handling a whole side business?  Carrying on that way forever would be a diluted investment of energy and therefore unsustainable according to my pal Freud.  These folks’ energy and longing is with retirement I think.

Then there are the ladder climbers.  They put a lot of energy (and money) into the day job.  Fancy clothes; expensive take-out lunch and dinner in anticipation of long work hours.  And they network.  After the extra-long day, they go to events they wouldn’t even go to otherwise, just to meet people they wouldn’t ordinarily hang out with, in the hopes that it will advance the career.  So I assume from all of this that these types of people feel great affection for “the career” and want to engage in a long-term relationship with it.  I think that is what Freud would say.  And it is fine to love having a career and to want to invest it in long-term and dwell in its protective routine forever.  I don’t share the sentiment, but am at least glad that I have characterized it to my satisfaction.

Sometimes you meet people who have exceptional hobbies which require ALL the energy and ALL the money.  Like traveling all over the world to participate in elite races and sporting events.  I am not sure how these people have the energy to do all that and hold down a job.  But I am pretty sure they find a way to work it out because the cost of the hobby will ensure that they will have to work forever.  I think Freud would say that elite athletes like this truly only love the sport, and the job is just a means to an end, to be minimized and stablized to equilibrium.  And the couple of people I know like this seem to engage in this work philosophy.

Then there are the blenders, who are harder to figure out.

Sometimes you meet people at work for whom no end is in sight.  They appear to be in their 50s; they dress plainly and bring their lunch.  And I wonder why these people are still working.  They seem to have simple lifestyles that would have allowed them to retire already.  But who knows?

And then there are people like that, but younger.  Living plainly, saving their money (or at least unwittingly letting it accumulate).  I wonder what’s going to come of these people – what they are going for.

Neither the young nor the old in this category seem to really love their jobs.  But they must love something, or at least love something more than the grind.  But you can never tell.

I think I blend in with the masses of people who just come in, kick tushie for the 9-hr work day, and then scramble home.  I’m not struttin’.  I’m not trying to make a name for myself, though I am flattered that people seem to appreciate my cursory tushie-kicking attempts.  I’m not quite as flashy as the side job people, so I hope it is not evident that my heart follows my future money rather than the seed money.

Coming up is a tale of another secret financial life…

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