It was December 2017 and I just got off a call with a guy named Tim Shiner. I met Tim via a podcast I hosted at my W-2.
Tim had his hands in many different businesses and a nice-sized real estate portfolio to go with it.
He told me a job is a J.O.B. and it means you’re “Just Over Broke.”
It wasn’t fun having someone tell you that while you’re employed at a JOB.
But I’ve learned not to give into my gut reactions to things and think about why I’m caught up in a feeling.
In this case, I was annoyed at the comment. But here’s why.
Is $55,000/year a Livable Wage?
At that time in 2017, I was making about $55,000 a year.
So I asked ChatGPT to give me a rundown of the average person’s take-home pay. Here’s what we got back.
Sadly where I’m at in NYS the state taxes are about $2,000 more than that. So roughly $10,000 a year is leftover.
OH YAH… that didn’t include the $12,000 a year for daycare for my newborn. So let’s make that -$2,000.
We could drop the “just over” and just leave it as broke.
Luckily my wife worked too so we could put away for retirement and still go on a vacation each year. This is what gave me the illusion of safety is because we were dual income.
Our W-2s, from a financial standpoint, were like rocking chairs. Gave us something to do but we weren’t getting anywhere.
Sometimes someone just says something and it hurts. Not because what they said was mean but because it was true.
Tim was spitting the truth.
I’ve seen this before where someone explains the reality of a situation, and there are usually three reactions to it:
- Put your fingers in your ears and ignore it
- Get mad at something you can’t control (i.e. capitalism)
- Focus on what you can control and pour your effort into that (i.e. start a business or side hustle)
Let’s talk about where my journey went next…
What Happened Next?
I give my illustrator really awful concepts I draw and then he punches them up for me. I was really happy when he added the water being poured in on the left-hand side of this post’s comic.
That water represents the inevitable increase in the cost of living as you add kids and other expenses to your life.
That feeling of being on the corporate ladder and feeling the shark-infested waters creeping up is absolutely how I felt at that moment…
… so I had to get honest with myself.
I had a side hustle creating YouTube videos that made me about $4,000 a year back then.
Let’s assume I had 100 available units of work a week… lets call them Wits (work units).
I used 95 wits on my W-2 and 5 on my side hustle because I wanted to be a “good employee.”
I decided if I wanted to not climb the ladder anymore I needed to be more balanced in the way I was working. I was working 60 hours routinely at my day job but despite a lot of success for the business my wages never went up all that much.
So I started doing about a 60/40 Wit-Split (W2/Side Hustle). I was still doing well at my job but I dialed working time down to 30 hours a week and increased my side hustle.
Some people “Quiet Quit” I decided to “Quiet Hustle”
I decided it was not worth it to put my faith and hard work into something I had no control over at the end of the day.
By 2020 when I left the job, I was routinely making more from my side hustle than my day job.
It sucks to hear the truth about your financial position. That’s why people tend to avoid budgeting or looking at the hard numbers because they don’t want to feel that pain.
I listened to what Tim said… got past my initial feelings… and said he was right.
Sometimes it takes a really blunt definition to kick you in the ass and I got that from J.O.B.