Have you ever thought about your life in the amount of hours you work in a year? Does that sound odd? More than any other activity in your life, you probably spend the majority of your time each year working.
Since graduating college and joining the workforce full time in my 20’s, my goal has been to increase my income while cutting my hours. Who wants to live their life on the job?! My first year as an engineer, I worked 55 to 60 hours per week. I made $39,000. From there, my income went up each year, while I worked to get my hours down.
During those peak years, I worked 2,800 hours per year never losing site of my goal to work less and make more.
Career and Income Growth
My career progressed as an engineer and eventually reached $47,500 a year while working 45 hours a week. Much better than my early years. My hourly rate was roughly $20.30. That particular job required me to average 45 hours a week even with my vacation time. That meant I had to work to make up my hours just to take a vacation. Yes. I know you’re shocked. I was too when I was reprimanded for not hitting my quota.
I changed jobs and careers by moving into technology. Looking for more opportunity, I found it.
The value of my 2,000 hours of work per year went up, up and up. Year after year, I found ways to increase my value. I studied. I worked. I grew more valuable to my company. My $20 per hour rate as an engineer soon jumped to $30, then $40, $50, and eventually breaking the $100 per hour mark. Eventually even that number would continue to increase.
How did I get there? I grew up in a lower income area of Nashville. Just making $39,000 a year put me in an income category well past my parents. I found myself at these new levels of success because I did what all the other successful people do. Work hard. Invest in yourself. Learn more. Increase your value and contribution. And quite a bit of prayer.
The first big investment I made in myself was learning how to program. I spent $1,000 on server software so I could program at home. That $1,000 was an investment in my and my family’s future. After that, it was immersion in learning and books so I could do more of what the company needed. As the company grew, more opportunities came my way, and it was awesome!
Now What About Your 2,000 Hours
Now consider your own life and your own 2,000 hours of work.What do you want to get paid for it? Are you satisfied? If you are satisfied, great. I think of the 2,000 hours more this way. If I have to work 2,000 hours anyway, why not make more money while I do it? It’s a simple concept.
I have friends that are content with their life and job. 2,000 hours a year. $35,000 a year. $17.50 per hour. I have other friends. 2,000 hours a year. $80,000 a year. $40 per hour.
What are you getting for your 2,000 hours? Are you working more than 2,000 hours? What are getting for that? Is it worth it? More money. Less hours. More life. It’s a great goal.
If you want to increase your value, invest in yourself. Turn off the TV. Turn off Netflix. In fact, cancel Netflix. It’s a total wast of time. The average American watches 122 hours of television a month! That’s practically a full time job! Yikes! Too much entertainment will suck away your opportunities and future.
What can you do in the next year to increase your value by 10-20%? List several ideas and get to work. Is your work/life out of balance?
Are you working too much and neglecting the important things? What can you do cut your work hours back to something reasonable? 2,000-2,300 hours a year. You’ll never get the time back with your family. Figure it out.
Where do you want to be in 10 years. If you move your life a little each year, you make huge moves in 10 years. Make it a goal to improve your life 5-10% per year and you’ll see amazing results. Don’t let yourself get stagnant.