Most of us would agree that the reason we work is to accumulate personal wealth. Now the problem is that many people define personal wealth too narrowly – as money. In truth though it can be money, but it can also be knowledge, health, satisfaction, or any other number of things that make us a better person or make us happier. And yes, again, that might include money and the things that money buys.
Now the rub comes when you go into our annual job review, have done a great job, but there is a freeze on so there is no way you are going to get a raise. You storm out all unhappy because there will be no increase in your personal wealth this year. But wait! You have fallen into that “Personal Wealth = Money” trap. What if there was something else that you could get instead?
Try this on for size, and no I am not saying that every employer would or should do it. What if instead of that raise, your employer offered you an additional week off per year? Unless they actually have to cover your shifts while you are gone then it really doesn’t cost them anything. But, if you work fifty or so weeks per year, then an additional week off is like a 2% raise. May not sound like much, but how many of us wouldn’t like to be handed a week off? And, it is better than nothing!
Or, how about some extra training? There may be internally training already or an existing training budget that can be used. Again, this increases your knowledge and value to the company, so it really does increase your personal wealth?
No, how about a little flex time? Or one day a month working from home? By doing this the company is still getting the same number of hours from you, but you save the time you might have been commuting or stuck in traffic. That time then gives you either quality time to spend with family, to spend doing some freelance work, or just simply relaxing and lowering the blood pressure. Again, all part of your own personal wealth.
The key here is to stop defining everything in terms of cash dollars, or Euros or Pounds or whatever, and start looking at the full picture of your personal wealth and what gives us satisfaction. When you do that, you can be flexible at review time, at interview time, or even when considering what job you want. Start looking differently at your idea of personal wealth, and you will find yourself changing your view of your entire life.
If you have any more ideas on this, or comments, or criticisms please let me know. I would really like to know what you think.