Working in Florida

There’s Nothing Wrong With A 40-Hour Workweek

Derek Perspectives, Work & Travel 109 Comments

40-Hour Workweek - Working in Florida
Four-hour workweeks, two-hour workweeks, zero-hour workweeks…that’s what it’s all about, right?

After a little research, anyone looking to break out of the traditional path in life, especially those of you who want to do some traveling, will undoubtedly discover an abundance of websites and people declaring that a life involving just a few hours of work per week, or even no work at all, is just around the corner and oh-so-easy to obtain.

Now that’s fine and all, despite it being complete nonsense, but I have a question.

What’s wrong with work?

I like to work. And while I would prefer not to spend 50+ hours per week in front of my laptop, as I generally do these days, I certainly don’t find the idea of a 4- or 3- or 0-hour workweek any more attractive. What’s wrong with a 40-hour workweek?

Work gives me a purpose, it gives me structure and it ensures that I am constantly using my brain. Also, work leads to new opportunities through the connections I make, helping me meet an endless number of amazing people and to have an endless number of amazing experiences that I otherwise would have missed out on.

Besides, if we choose our work wisely, work allows us to create and build and to actually observe the results of our efforts. And it feels mighty good to create something and to see it through until the end.

In my case, I genuinely enjoy spending time working on this blog, watching it grow and of course, having a chance to interact with all of you. I also enjoy creating other websites and travel-related eBooks and then witnessing how the months and months of hard work I put into each of these projects ends up benefiting other people in some way, shape or form.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bamboozle you into thinking that I only work for the love of work. I won’t hesitate to admit that I get quite excited about earning money through my efforts as well, money which allows me to continue living this nomadic lifestyle. Money does play a role. We all need it to travel and that’s just an undeniable fact.

But my point is that I don’t mind working hard to earn my money. I’m not bothered by a long, 40-hour workweek at all. Instead, I accept it and welcome it as an integral part of my lifestyle.

And I’ve always tried to stress on this website that without the long workweeks I’ve been putting in over the years, whether teaching English, working on board cruise ships or working online, I simply wouldn’t have been able to travel this world of ours for so long.

40-Hour Workweek - Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

As lovely as it would be, immigration officers stationed at the border of every country unfortunately do not hand every traveler $1000 upon arrival. You need to earn your money, and in order to earn it, you need to work. The good news is that if you have a healthy mindset, work doesn’t have to be such a negative thing.

And in all honesty, what would you do if you didn’t have to work? I sure have no idea what I’d do. The immediate answer would be to travel more but that’s really a silly answer as I travel quite a lot already. I just don’t know. I’m quite sure I would feel somewhat lost and even bored if I didn’t have to sit down at my computer every day and continue building and creating, finding solutions to problems and working on new ideas.

Again, I want to work. I enjoy work. And I don’t really understand the anti-work movement at all.

Instead of wasting time trying to chase after that unobtainable goal of 4- or 2-hour workweeks, I recommend spending time trying to find a type of work that interests and excites you, some kind of project or occupation that you are motivated to sit down and spend 20, 30 or yes, even 40, hours per week working on.

And once you do find something that you actually enjoy, then you can take the necessary steps to transform that work into something you can do while traveling and/or living overseas.

That’s how you turn travel into an actual lifestyle and I urge you not to be fooled by those who claim otherwise.


Any thoughts on a 40-hour workweek? Does the idea of working a few hours per week appeal to you? Or are you perfectly happy to work hard for your money as well?

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Comments 109

  1. Emma Rose

    I stumbled today on this great blog, you do a great job here. Since I am also a blog owner, I totally understand what are you trying to say. Once you set up your blog and it starts to grow, you feel like it is your baby and work you have to do is not hard for you to do, you enjoy doing that. People often think they would be happy with zero working hours but the truth is – man must do something in life. So, point here is not to escape working but to escape working for someone else or escape your job you don’t really like and to replace it with something you love. That is what will bring you happiness and satisfaction.

    Cheers

    1. Earl

      Hey Emma – That’s what I’m talking about. Zero hours of work sounds great and all but it’s not as exciting or satisfying as people think to just float around without trying to create something in life.

  2. Vicky

    I agree! I enjoy my job and I like working hard. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than when I see my blogs doing well. I would literally go crazy if I didn’t have work to structure life around.

  3. Judith Kramer

    A good post earl, although i’m just curious about the term “healthy mindset”. What do you exactly mean with that on this case?

    1. Earl

      Hey Judith – To me, a healthy mindset is simply a way of approaching life in which we realize that we are in control of our situation. It’s when we understand that we can make decisions to change a negative situation into a positive one and that we don’t have to buy into such popularly held beliefs such as work being something that we can’t enjoy. If we understand that we are in control, it opens up an infinite number of opportunities that can improve our lives.

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  5. Giovanni

    I will have to disagree on the 40 hr part and agree on the love what you do part.

    I think the hype of working less is about doing what is needed to earn an income in as little time as possible so you can then work on what you love without worrying if it will make money or not.

    Once you start making money and depending on that money with things you love to do … It becomes dreaded stressful work and some of the fun is lost.

    I’m also lucky that I have a side business that allows me to travel, but I spend 10-20/hrs a week and I would hate to spend more on it. If I had to then I would not have time to enroll in diving courses or cooking classes because I’ll be too tired after working in front of a computer for so long. I would love to spend less time on it if i could.

    To work less for the same amount of money so then you can do what you love without worrying if what you love will pay. If what you love is to write, you can write articles without worrying that they’ll be high on SEO or that people will want to read so you get a high rank. You can write what you feel and if for some reason it doesn’t go high on rankings, etc, who cares … The people that needed to read it read it and you can go on.

    I recently got hooked on diving and would love to do it more. I even thought about becoming an instructor… But then realized if I depended on that job to live… I would soon start losing the passion I have for diving now… Hence automate and delegate to make your necessary monthly income!

    And what you can do with your spare time?! Dude…. Learn to surf in Bali, go diving in koh tao, learn percussion in brazil, learn salsa in Colombia, learn how to dj in Berlin, go speed dating in NYC, learn how to fly in Australia, learn to blow glass in Venice, Learn to cook, volunteer… Etc!

    1. Earl

      Hey Giovanni – I know what you’re saying but at the end of the day, that’s not as realistic an option for the majority of people. For every person that succeeds in earning an income with little work and thus freeing up time to pursue other endeavors, there are 10,000 people who don’t achieve that goal. And so the point of the post was to offer a more realistic option, one that allows a person to take work (something they will most likely have to do in life) and find a way to enjoy and benefit from that work. And of course there are millions of things to do with free time and I certainly have my own set of activities that I take part in, but again, not everybody has that luxury in the end.

      1. Giovanni

        Thanks for the reply! I’ve read some of your posts and they’re great!

        RE: Your comment.

        “that’s not as realistic an option for the majority of people. For every person that succeeds in earning an income with little work and thus freeing up time to pursue other endeavors, there are 10,000 people who don’t achieve that goal”

        I agree but out of those 10,000 people who don’t achieve the goal, 9,500 of them never tried and stopped at: “I don’t think that’s possible so I won’t try it”. The 500 that don’t achieve the goal and tried, I bet you, had a great experience trying and will try again soon enough.

        I hear people say: “You’re taking a trip around the world? I wish I could do that but …” … they automatically limit themselves. Same thing happens with any goal, and if passive income is a goal, then no buts must exists and the end goal should be realistic.

        “…not everyone has that luxury in the end.”

        If you are persistent enough, the end will be luxurious. Maybe I’m an optimist and can’t take no for an answer but if I can do it and so many other people I know of can do it, then anyone can do it. Just like you share with your readers how feasible it is to travel the world … it is just as feasible to earn income on the side … but you HAVE to try and you have to PUT YOUR TIME first … it is not easy and it won’t come in a flash.

        I’m a big advocate of the 4HWW and I have my mixed feelings about the author but one thing is for certain, his methods have worked for me and I haven’t even tried all of them.

        I’m not where I want to be, not even close, but there is a solution and it does exists. You just have to believe it.

        Enjoy Istanbul and make sure to have Salep at Ortokoy overlooking the bridge. I miss that stuff!

        1. Earl

          Hey Giovanni – I definitely see your points and I love the optimism! That kind of attitude is certainly needed to succeed in creating passive income and a life that is more in tune with one’s true goals.

          I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I think that the post was simply aimed at the 9500 people who don’t try, maybe as an attempt to give them another option that might make more sense and might be easier to achieve. Instead of falling back into a job they don’t enjoy, they can take some simple steps to find a type of work that they are excited about every day and that takes them even one small step forward towards their other goals in life.

          And don’t even get me started about the sahlep. I went to my favorite sahlep cafe in Kadikoy and they weren’t serving it because of the warm weather. I was not in a good mood after that 🙂

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  7. Activist Traveler

    Hello there everyone,

    The reason some of us may wish we had less work can also be if one is a big time activist, especially if they are for more than just one change effort you are working on. Most of the activism projects I am interesting in putting together require alot of time and dedication, where I will not be getting paid at all. But the passion of the activist is to create a great change for the better of the world or community. We are not trying to earn money for ourselves but rather for the projects we wish to accomplish. We are working usually independently for a higher purpose. At the same time we feel we have the right to treat ourselves and spend some money on us as well as enjoy our hobbies and other personal dreams.

  8. Simon P

    Funnily enough I had a similar conversation with my girlfriend last night. I’m feeling like I’m without a rudder at the moment – and if it wasn’t for my blog I’d be completely lost. I do love my new life of constant travel but I need a purpose, too.

    1. Earl

      Hey Simon – That’s what work does, it provides a foundation and a structure that sets the tone for everything else. I know I’d be lost without it as well! At least having a blog keeps us more than busy most of the time 🙂

  9. Vagabonnder

    Internet marketing, for those who love it, is really just an addictive video game rather than hard labor. Finding the next avenues of advertizement, latest products to sell etc. That is the trick, to do what you love.

  10. Rebecca

    Ah, totally agree. My current english teaching schedule is about 12 hours a week, and even with freelance I still have entirely too much time on my hands! Maybe it has to do with being raised American, but I do much better with more of my weekday time occupied so that I can properly appreciate my time off.

    More vacation is more key to me than the hourly workweek.

    1. Earl

      Hey Rebecca – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! There is something that feels right when we have things structured so that we put in a lot of effort during a set period of time and then enjoy a break as a result, whether it be a weekend or a vacation.

  11. T.W. Anderson

    When you love what you do, when you follow your passion, success is the direct results of you following your true calling and achieving what God/Universe/Whatever wanted you to achieve in the first place. It’s finding your niche…and it’s so absolutely splendidly perfect that you will never fail. It’s called Destiny.

    Coming from the background I came from, working in construction for 15 years before leaving the U.S. for the nomadic lifestyle, I was used to 70 hour workweeks and 4 a.m. wake-ups. The last five years have been very rewarding for me on a personal level as I have been supporting myself solely through contract writing and traveling full time. I cruised along working 2-3 hours a day for several years and only in 2012 have I gone back to working 40 hour work weeks…and it’s all because of my efforts at building my own niche in the travel community. Since the start of the year I’ve been working pretty much 50 hours a week, but there’s something important to remember. When you love what you do…it’s not work. It’s passion.

    And for me…this is my passion. Writing, and traveling. And I get to do both. For a living. How blessed is that? So while I “felt” those work hours in the previous occupation, and really felt ground down under the heel despite the salary, these days I’m doing what I absolutely love. I don’t feel that it’s work, even though technically it is; I’m doing what I do in order to make money so that I can keep traveling and exploring the world.

    But my primary motivation, the reason I am doing what I am doing, and the number one reason for all of this, is that there is just far too much to see, explore and do along The Human Experience.

    Follow your dreams, your passions, your aspirations…they will bring you where you need to be, regardless of the hourly commitment 🙂

  12. Christine

    I was spoiled teaching at a university in South Korea for 3 years. I had a 4-day week, consisting of 16 teaching hours and 5 months paid vacation per year. Now that must sound very tempting, but I worked so many more hours than the teaching! I loved teaching and I loved my students, and I worked hard to prepare and correct their papers, as I taught most of the writing courses in the scholarship program for English immersion. Also this schedule was a split shift with my first class at 7am and my last ending at 9 or 10pm, which messes with your sleep quite a bit. I could never understand the teachers that showed up with a book and no other prep or planning and gave verbal exams they corrected right then, so they only did their 16 or 18 hours per week. I did extensive preparation and had a lot of correcting to do, but I could do that on my time and could be correcting papers outside under a cherry blossom if I felt like it. I did extra trips and excursions with students, I spent time helping them one on one, participated in other projects when asked, etc. I was paid the same as the other teachers, but my frustration was more about their lack of work and what I thought they owed the students, than my amount of work. With all of this said, of course less hours are appealing, and I would love to get to a point where I am working 20 hours per week, but with all the things I want to do, such as a travel blog, travel writing, copy writing/grant writing for non-profit/fundraising, and import/export I am not sure I could fit it all in. On top of all that I am half-way through a Masters program in Adult Education and Training, specifically to allow me to acquire a postion teaching at a university in United Arab Emirates, which do require you to be on campus 40 hrs/week. I agree with you Earl, that what matters is the passion you have for your job and that you enjoy doing it. It should give you a purpose and for me, lots of flexibility. I don’t like the idea of 9-5 in a structured environment, and I am hoping to put myself in a position where I never have to deal with that again (with the exception of teaching women in the Middle East, which I hope to do for at least 3 years). Thanks againg for a great post, Christine

    1. Earl

      Hey Christine – Seems like you have a lot going on and a lot of ideas for the future! And while that will certainly keep you busy, I can just tell by your comment that you are welcoming the challenge and as you said, much prefer this situation than a 9-5 setup. I look forward to seeing where it all leads!

  13. André Malenfant

    Hey Earl,

    I agree that we need a purpose, something to chew on and be creative about. The people writing books on the 2 hours work week certainly put more than 2 hours per week writing them (or are the books that bad?). I think it’s work that you don’t like vs the one that stimulates you that is the real question. Working 80 hours a week, for someone else, without loving it and suffering from all the stress is not worth it. Zero hours a week of that is just fine.

    I don’t mind at all working. Nowadays I do a lot of photo, I’m trying to sharpen my skills. I call that work. I am trying to find a direction, now that I don’t have a job anymore and, believe me, I am going through that same reflection. One cannot live doing nothing else than eating, sleeping, going at the beach, repeat… one needs to make that brain, arms and legs work. Now, would I go back to a similar job I had? Nah, I’d rather work for me.

    It also depends on what turns you on. If you like abstract painting and you don’t do exhibitions and rarely sell your work, you might work 120 hours a week but won’t get much to pay your rent. If your passion brings bread on the table, great! But for those that don’t have this “chance”, working means a day job to pay the bills and they probably wish they could quit “working” to paint more. One could say we should choose our passion wisely but I am afraid it doesn’t quite work that way.

    Thanks for the post, I truly enjoyed it!

    1. Earl

      Hey Andre – All good points you made and I absolutely agree that those who promote the 4 or 2 hour workweeks are working much more than that themselves. And that’s where I have a problem with it all.

      And you’re right about the need to exercise the brain. As great as travel is, there needs to be some other focus or purpose to ensure that our entire brain is being used as much as possible. Work certainly provides that exercise.

      I shall look forward to hearing about your new direction once you figure it out!

  14. Colleen

    I love my work, too. I’m a f/t stay at home mom for the last 20 years. My work is paying off. I have two happy, successful, wonderful well-educated sons to show for it. They’ve enjoyed all the benefits of having a full-on support system, spiritually, relationally, nutritionally, everything. My paycheck is their happiness and success. I highly recommend this field to loving women everywhere. Oh, and we took a year off high school to travel the globe visiting 20 countries in 2008/9. We’re not rich, we just allocate our resources to where it matters.

    1. Earl

      Hey Colleen – That’s a wonderful line of work as well! And I can only imagine that results of your efforts are far more rewarding than any office job 🙂

  15. Dyanne@TravelnLass

    Shoot, when I dumped my (not unloved) job in the corporate world (at age 40) and started my own int’l tour company guiding trips to Belize and Costa Rica (back before anyone had even HEARD of Belize) – I HAPPILY worked 60 and 70 hour work weeks getting my fledgling business off the ground. The difference of course was – I was in control of my own destiny and doing what I ADORED!

    1. Earl

      Hey Dyanne – That’s a perfect example of the difference an enjoyable line of work can make! When it’s out own project, there’s no limit to the amount of effort we enjoy putting in.

  16. Sarah Somewhere

    Great post Earl! When we set off for our adventure, we were so looking forward to ‘doing nothing’ except travel and enjoy life, and whilst we are doing that, we are still both drawn to ‘work’ in some shape or form. I love writing my blog, and the relatonships I have formed through it. I don’t make much money from it, but it gives me a creative outlet that I need to feel fulfilled. My boyfriend is currently learning the guitar (for fun) and a gaming engine (for work) so he can build computer games some day. The four-hour work week exists on the premise that work is purely for money only, and not something you actually want to do. If you’re doing what you love then work becomes an extension of your human desire to create and connect, and the world is better for it. But you kinda already said that… 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Sarah – I think you said it better! And I would much rather integrate work into my life than view it as just a means to earn an income. It’s a much more realistic view for all of us who, at the end of the day, won’t be able to eliminate work altogether.

  17. Sophia

    Great conclusion! I totally agree with you. The key is to find job you really want to dedicate 40 or more hours of your time to do this. I really want to find such a job one day. I keep trying though.

  18. Tim Richards

    Totally agree. I think people craving 4-hour working weeks are really just saying they’d like to be at the job they hate a lot less.

    I think that your attitude to work completely changes when you’re doing something that you enjoy, or at least find stimulating and rewarding. I don’t mind working as a freelance travel writer at all – even though it can be very stressful when I’m juggling a million things at once in order to make an income – because I enjoy the autonomy and stimulation of the job.

    On that topic, I wrote a blog post a little while back outlining my average work day when on a Lonely Planet assignment – not too relaxing, but interesting:
    http://aerohaveno.blogspot.com.au/2008/07/do-travel-writers-go-to-heck.html

    1. Earl

      Hey Tim – I’ve heard those Lonely Plant assignments can be quite intense. I’ll definitely read your post about it. And that’s the thing about work. The amount of work isn’t what makes the difference, it’s the type of work. If I worked in an office and had to do the amount of work I currently do each week, I too would be stressed out beyond imagination. But since I enjoy working on this blog and my other projects, I welcome those long to-do lists each week instead!

  19. Steve C

    Earl, you sure came upon a hot topic with “work”! You have the type of blog that appeals to a wide range of people, of all ages.

    As I’ve got 34 years of work behind me, I would like to add my perspective. I very much enjoyed what I did for a living my whole life. I was an estimator/ project manager for several general engineering contractors. I would first build the project in my head and on paper, then with a successful bid, on the jobsite. No two jobs were ever the same. If you love what you do, it’ really not work at all.

    I’ve always separated my work from my travel life. One thing at a time. When I travel, I travel, no work. I like the freedom to do whatever when I’m traveling and the type of job I had just wouldn’t work combining both. I managed to take a four year mid-life retirement to travel around the world.

    Although others have said that they would soon become bored if they weren’t working, I “on the other hand” am quite capable of entertaining myself with anything or nothing. In a few years, I plan to retire the second time and take off traveling, never to work again. When you’re at the other end of a career, your health becomes more important than anything else. The “job” I’ll have for income while traveling will be called: social security! Combine that with what’s left of what I’ve saved over the years and presto; no worries. I’m still young enough at heart to be able to travel much like I did when I was younger. I like traveling on a slim budget, backpacker style. A long term travelers budget, not a vacationers budget!

    So, travel and work can be seen in quite different ways. It all depends on your age and perspective. Whether it’s in front of you or behind you. To all you young people; plan your life to include all you want to do so you don’t get to the end and find that time has run out and you didn’t get it done!

    1. Earl

      Hey Steve – I appreciate you sharing your perspective on this topic and everything you said made perfect sense of course. And I will say that after 34 years of hard work, I’m sure the equation might change for many people and not having to work becomes a most welcome situation. I also think it would be more welcome to someone like you who already has something they want to accomplish (travel) once they finish their working life. At the end of the day, out of all those people who say that they will travel once retired, it seems that a very tiny percentage of those people follow through with it. I know you’ll follow through. You know you’ll follow through and that must be a wonderful feeling to know that!

      And I agree with that last statement of yours…waiting to accomplish our goals at the very end of life is not a wise method of planning!

  20. Unisse Chua

    I agree completely that there’s nothing wrong with working 40 hours per week (maybe even more). I just graduated from college and started work almost immediately because I have my goals in life (traveling around the world included).

    Money is important when traveling because without money, we can’t travel. Even sponsors need to have the money to spend on you when you travel. And to get sponsors, you have to work hard on it.

    I love working too because it helps open up my networks. I get to meet new types of people I’ve never encountered before and I learn from them – be it their good traits or their bad ones.

    1. Earl

      Hey Unisse – I’ve always believed that the networking aspect of work or anything we do really is always underestimated. It’s easy to walk around all day without interacting with many people but think of all the missed opportunities that can lead to. While working we do meet so many people and you never know who you’ll come across. In my opinion, it would be better to talk to as many of those people as possible and see where it leads!

  21. Christine

    I’ve realized that I love work–I just hate the typical work set-up. I’m happy to have a project, to be passionate about something, even just to do something like waitressing where I’m earning money and meeting people–I just can’t handle being stuck in an office for eight hours a day when the sun is shining outside! All I need is a bit of flexibility with time and place, and I’d love to earn a steady paycheck 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Christine – The office setup does seem to be a somewhat common factor for those who don’t enjoy their jobs. Luckily, as you’ve discovered, there are other options these days, options that allow you to enjoy a little more of that sun!

  22. ken stan

    I work about 70 hours a week and love it. I own a landscape company and love the outdoor work,I work 8 months and travel 4 months.I love to travel but could never write about it then it would be a job.I just send facebook posts to familly and friends so they know I’m still alive, and they all like my pictures and wish they could do what I do.

    1. Earl

      Hey Ken – That’s quite a great setup you have and I’m glad that you’re enjoying those hours of work! I guess it all pays off once you are out there exploring the world for a few months every year.

  23. Pamela

    I like that the last few posts that I’ve read on your site are full of commonsense. I spend a lot of time on my blog and it’s not even my full time job…yet. I would love to spend hours on it because it’s a passion of mine. I will some day travel full time while still working full time at something I love.

    1. Earl

      Hey Pamela – Keep working on your blog, that’s all I can say. Continue learning, continue trying to improve it and suddenly, things will fall into place 🙂

  24. Talon

    While I agree with you there’s nothing wrong with work, especially if you love what you do, I also feel there’s nothing wrong with trying to figure out how you can earn enough income to meet your needs and NOT work a 40-hour work week. For me less time at the computer means more time outside exploring, more time with my son at the park, more time enjoying my hobbies/avocations, more time to volunteer and help others, etc.

    1. Earl

      Hey Talon – That’s a good point as well and there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to create that kind of situation either. I’m not saying everyone must work 40+ hours per week, only trying to show that if working that much is our only option, it doesn’t have to be as negative a reality as we tend to believe.

      But I will say that finding a way to spend less time in front of the computer is usually a good thing!

  25. Barbara

    So true and good to see so many concur! I tell my kids that they should dump the idea that they “have” to have some kind of boring office job or never work. Best to be an entrepreneur and creatively find that one thing they love doing while providing a neat service. The possibilities are endless.

    Meanwhile, I know several people who retired early and after three months… they were clinically depressed and had to go back to work. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Barbara – It is good to see so many people on the same page here! And that’s such great advice for your kids. I’m sure it will make a big difference in their lives if they are open to all of the unique opportunities out there from the beginning.

      And the retirement thing seems to be common. It has to be so difficult to suddenly find yourself with nothing to do!

    1. Earl

      Hey Aaron – It is boring! But at least you have some travels ahead of you…that should eliminate the boredom quite quickly!

  26. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    I can’t agree with you more! I love working when the work is enjoyable and it’s always easy to find work you can enjoy. You don’t have to be a travel writer or entrepreneur to enjoy your job. I’ve waited tables quite a lot abroad and it’s wonderful. You’re right in that it gives you a purpose. I become quite eager to work after a few months of solid traveling. Plus to incorporate travel, work is a great way to meet locals and learn about the culture of a particular place. As a tourists, you pretty much just tour a country. But as someone actually working in a country, you learn what it’s like to live in a country. Great read!!

    1. Earl

      Hey Bobbi – All great points and I think it’s important for us to realize that we don’t have to search for a job that 100% matches our interests or find a job that seems so perfect and ideal. I also know people who wait tables and who are the happiest people I know. They love the flexibility their job gives them, they earn good money and they are able to take trips overseas a few times per year. Not bad at all.

  27. Melissa Anderson

    Ahh so true. When I tell people about my job, they say I’m lucky. Maybe just lucky that I found what I love doing at a young age. I don’t understand it when people don’t enjoy their jobs, and yet continue to do the same thing year after year. My favorite quote: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful.”

    1. Earl

      Hey Melissa – I don’t understand that either. I know it can be difficult to make a change but few people who have built up the confidence to make that change, ever regret it. And that quote you included is certainly relevant for this topic!

  28. Mark Wiens

    Wonderfully stated Earl! For myself, if my work is my passion, I have no problem working extremely hard and well surpassing 40 hours of “work” per week. My passion happens to be eating, taking photos, traveling, and blogging – and that’s what I do with my entire time. Now it would be cool to make a little more money doing what I’m so passionate about and that’s one of the reasons why I spend so many hours in front of the laptop. If I didn’t have goals, or work plans, I’d also be bored and unchallenged.

    An ideal situation for myself would be a balanced work week – maybe still working as much as I do now, but being able to be completely flexible and not have to worry so much about the financial situation.

    I know for sure that if I got my current job down to 4 hours per week, I’d have to discover or invent more work to keep myself challenged!

    1. Earl

      Hey Mark – That’s an excellent point because every time I have a week where I don’t have much work to do, I always end up finding more things to add to my list. I don’t think I could cut my hours by much if I wanted to. And I like your idea of a balanced work week. It makes perfect sense as having that extra flexibility takes some of the pressure off. Ensuring that a solid income is coming in is the challenge but if you’re able to sustain your lifestyle now, it can only get better over time.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mark and hope you’ve been well!

  29. David

    Love it man. But you’re doing what your enjoy and that’s the greater point here. That said, I appreciate this point! And I look forward to bumping up with you one of these days!

    1. Earl

      Hey David – That’s definitely the point! And what I’m trying to say is that if I can manage to create this situation, anyone can. I just think more people would be successful at creating the lifestyle they want if they tried to involve work in that lifestyle instead of trying to avoid it. And I too shall look forward to seeing you out here one of these days, soon!

  30. Pat Smith

    Great post! I absolutely agree. Sure it would be nice to have enough passive income that you have to do little to no work but I think you would become a rather boring dinner guest if you literally did nothing. Also I think essentially becoming a ‘trust fund baby’ you would become mentally lazy. Having some sort of work that you put your effort and creativity into keeps you sharp and ready for whatever life throws at you.

    1. Earl

      Hey Pat – A boring dinner guest indeed! And your last line is an important one…without work, we would lose our ability to solve problems, to be creative and to stay mentally sharp. I agree with that completely.

  31. Rebekka

    I love this. This is so true. There are times I work 60 hours a week, but because it’s my own creative business, I don’t feel the need to count my work hours. However, there are weeks I work 5 hours because it’s a chill and relaxing week to spend time with friends or travel. To me, I don’t like to use the word “work”, I’d like to use “an outflow of who you are” to represent what work is to me.

    1. Earl

      Hey Rebekka – Seems like you’ve created an excellent situation for yourself as well! I don’t count my hours either. If you enjoy what you do then the actual number doesn’t matter at all.

  32. Sergio Felix

    Hey Earl,

    It is so refreshing to finally find someone with a little bit of common sense on the internet.

    I also love working because I just love working with computers (Sys Engineer here) and I really don’t resonate with the idea of working less and less which apparently is what everyone else is looking for.

    Really liked your points of view on this and in all honesty, it was like a breath of fresh air, god bless man for keeping this real.

    Sergio

    1. Earl

      Hey Sergio – Thanks for commenting and it’s great to know that you’ve found a line of work that you love! I don’t think many people can say that so you’re definitely in a great position. And as common sense as this may be, it really is a shame how quickly it can be forgotten!

  33. Stephanie

    I just returned from travelling for 9 months (more of a constant nomad than I traveller) and just told a friend “I like work”. I work freelance, around 25-30 hrs a week, earning the same as I used to with a 40 hours corporate London job, and I love every second of it (I’m a long-term expat more than a typical traveller), also because I can learn so much more and I’m absolutely self-reliant. The thing is, for someone trapped in the 40 hour plus job we are required to work to make progress… for 99% of the people, it’s not fun, because they don’t really do what they like… and it’s a bit of a middle class thing, too, because work 40 hours of more of physical work and all that travel and 40 hrs a week in front of a desktop starts to seem like unattainable luxury. From a white trash family girl 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Stephanie – Haha…you’re right, work is not fun for the majority of people. And I think it will be even worse when people try to go for a ‘4 or 2 hour workweek’, don’t succeed at making that happen and then must return to the normal grind. Surely putting their efforts into finding something that they enjoy, such as you have, makes more sense.

      And I’m happy to hear that you have a working situation that suits you so well!

  34. Jasmine

    Hi Earl! How are you?

    I agree with you, I enjoy working too. It helps me feel normal and like a productive member of society. While the goal is to one day earn income mostly passively, I definitely enjoy directing my efforts into something that will make me money and help me maintain (and improve) my lifestyle 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Jasmine! So very nice to hear from you 🙂 And it does feel good to be a productive human being, to avoid feeling as if we’re just floating by, not contributing anything during our time here. And when the results of our effort is being able to live a lifestyle that we truly want, that seems like an ideal situation to me.

  35. Dean

    I agree Earl. I actually enjoy earning my money. It makes travelling so much better for me knowing that I have worked hard to achieve that. The difference for me is that I hate my job. So the 40 hours per week, though I’m glad to be earning the money, is just a huge drag because I don’t enjoy what I am doing. The key is definitely to find something that you enjoy doing, and then the work hours won’t feel like work at all.
    Blogging is the thing that has made me realize that the most, as I never feel like I’m working at all, even on those late nights on the laptop.

    1. Earl

      Hey Dean – Hating a job is definitely a tough situation but hopefully with the blog and any other ideas in your head these days, you’ll be able to move from your current job to one you enjoy a lot more. It doesn’t happen in an instant but making the realization that you need to change jobs is of course a major first step!

  36. Lindsay

    I can honestly say that a lifestyle of minimal work holds absolutely no appeal to me… I get as excited as the next person when the weekend rolls around, but that’s a nice break from the regular stress of life. When I was working for the local school system, holidays were absolute torture! I’m content for a few days, but then the boredom creeps in and I’m miserable. That said, I also worked a desk job in HR for a while, and would rather have had no work. I definitely need a job where I’m doing more than sitting at a desk!

    When I started grad school in January, everyone kept joking about how I was going to be overwhelmed in no time, especially after taking a couple years off from school. I told them it wasn’t going to happen, because I thrive on the stress of deadlines, exams, and everything else. As tough as it has been, and as many hours of my life as it has consumed, I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages because my brain is constantly engaged! Whether or not large amounts of work seem worthwhile definitely depends on how much you love the work 😀

    1. Earl

      Hey Lindsay – I have a friend who works for a school system and he feels the same way as you did. By the end of summer vacation, he’s more than ready to get back to school! And I’m glad you mentioned keeping the brain engaged. That’s a big part of it. My most productive and rewarding days are those where I have a long list of things to do and I have to figure out how to get them all done.

  37. Cherie

    Excellent. And we totally concur. Our travels aren’t about trying escape work at all – but rather a life balance that works for us. We actually just posted this morning about how we measure our success in achieving that balance by how little we crave a typical ‘vacation’ (http://www.technomadia.com/2012/04/vacation-is-not-in-our-vocabulary/ – for anyone curious).

    We like our work. We like having always changing office views and new adventures to explore in our non-work time. Our working hours vary quite a bit – it could be only a few hours some weeks, and others in excess of 80. But regardless, it never feels like a chore. It’s what we want to be doing.

    I think that finding this balance is what makes our perpetual travels combined with advancing our careers, over 6+ years now, sustainable.

    1. Earl

      Hey Cherie – Thanks for sharing the link and it certainly makes sense to me. And that’s so great that your work is not a chore for your guys. It makes such a difference when that balance is reached!

  38. DJ Yabis

    I have the same sentiments. My goal is to have a meaningful work that I love (and that allows me to travel whenever I want) so then it really doesn’t feel like work. And I also agree with Chris in that before you reach that elusive 4 hour workweek, you have to put in the hours first…long houuuurs!

    “It would be far more useful to help people focus on creating a work life that actually incorporates their interests because that’s a lot more realistic for the majority of us!” – YES! YES! YES!

    1. Earl

      Hey DJ – Long hours is an understatement! And I think that accepting work as part of life instead of aiming for those 4 hours will help us avoid disappointment and give us a much better chance of creating the life we want in the end.

  39. Heather (AKA Ham)

    Well put Earl! I totally agree w/ you, “work” plays an important role in one’s life as it gives us a mission/purpose. There is a beautiful notion of what it means to be human–having the dual joys of not only creating something–our work–but feeling connected to it.

    Also, I recall the brief stint I had drawing unemployment thinking I’d just LOVE the free time, yep that lasted about two weeks before I went crazy without having a sense of purpose. It wasn’t until i busied myself w/ regular volunteer work (that I LOVED) that I felt normal.

    1. Earl

      Hey Heather – It makes sense that one would get bored without work and not so much because they miss the actual job but because, like you said, they miss the creating and they miss seeing the results of what they build. I’d probably lose my mind too if I didn’t have any work to do each day!

  40. Adam

    Yess! I think I’d get bored if I wasn’t busy. I was just recently working in a job which I didn’t enjoy for more hours than I would’ve liked. And it was making me miserable.

    That’s why I decided to take some action and do something about it. And now I can dedicate all my time that I want to work to doing something I actually care about. I think most people probably like doing some kind of work—this 4hww hoopla is really just a mental escape. It disguises people’s true desire to just “do what you love”.

    1. Earl

      Hey Adam – That’s excellent that you made a change when you weren’t enjoying your last job. It’s hard to do sometimes but well worth it in the end once you find work that is more in tune with your interests. There’s certainly no point in being miserable.

  41. Tracey Mclean

    I one hundred percent agree. I’ve worked less than 40 and more than 40 and although I love my trips and adventures, I require the structure that working gives me. I feel more in control of my life and myself when i’ve got somewhere to be for most of the day. Working from home, for me, would be a nightmare. I’d end up watching Jerry Springer all day long 🙂 I do however appreciate taking time off from a regular job, that way, I can appreciate the time off when I get it, with the money that i’ve earned that goes towards the travel.

    1. Earl

      Hey Tracey – Please don’t end up watching Springer all day 🙂 And there is something to be said for working hard, earning money and then taking a vacation with that money. It’s well deserved and it is a direct result of your efforts.

  42. Lauren

    I never understand people who say they hate working. I know people in jobs that are somewhat cushy who complain. Some people will always despise work even if it’s an industry about which they’re passionate. I’ve never minded the long hours of freelancing because I got to do the thing I loved.

    1. Earl

      Hey Lauren – Freelancing is a great way to take what you enjoy and turn it into a work you can do on your own terms. Glad to hear it’s worked out for you!

  43. Chris Booth

    I think you’re right Ayelet. I’m not sure it’s an anti-work movement but more of an anti-work-you-don’t enjoy movement. I’m all for working hard on something you are passionate about but I agree with the Tim Ferriss’s of the world that working for the sake of work is wrong. Earl, you are right that it’s sometimes sold as as an easy way out but that’s how they got their 4-hour working lives, selling the dream. If we buy into that then hey, nothing wrong with that. So long as we remember the caveats they don’t neglect -that a lifestyle like that, where you’re free to pursue your passion, takes a lot of hard work in the first place.

    1. Earl

      Hey Chris – I definitely see your point of course. I just think that it would be much more beneficial to sell the “pursue your passion” idea without making claims of 4 and 0 hour workweeks. Ferriss, for example, is talking about pursuing your passions by creating some business that doesn’t require you to work much, thus freeing up time for you to pursue other interests. I just feel that such a claim is deceiving as very few people will ever free up enough time to pursue their passions by creating some passive stream of income. And after a failed effort, most people go straight back to what they were doing before.

      I don’t blame Ferriss for creating what he has but looking at it from a different perspective, one in which clever marketing is tossed out and the greater good is considered, I’m not a huge fan.

      It would be far more useful to help people focus on creating a work llife that actually incorporates their interests because that’s a lot more realistic for the majority of us!

      Thanks for your thoughts by the way, I was hoping we’d have a few different views on this topic 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey D.J. – You do hear of that a lot…people who retire and then soon after, are looking for work again. It’s hard to sit at home or suddenly fill in an entire day when you’ve been used to working or if you enjoy working for so long.

  44. Forest

    I like my work too. We are some of the lucky ones but we did work hard for the privilege of working for ourselves in something we like.

    Now there is a problem working a 40-hour week for a job you hate, that needs to be tried to be changed if you are in that situ!

    1. Earl

      Hey Forest – I agree. The only way it can work is if you enjoy your work or if it is leading your directly towards a particular goal.

  45. Ayelet - All Colores

    I absolutely agree with you. A 40 hour work week is actually a dream for me, as I had 80 hour weeks on a regular basis for several years until recently, which can get you to the point of exhaustion. However, there are several areas I wouldn’t mind spending 80 hours on. My intention is to have those passion-filled areas be my focus while making more space for aspects that were not possible with my schedule up until now. I think the challenge is that so many of us choose jobs that don’t support us in expressing our passions, and we don’t always know how to move through that, and sometimes it’s scary to dare finding out, yet to me it’s worth taking that risk, because I rather live a life of intention and passion.

    1. Earl

      Hey Ayelet – 80 hours per week doing something that you don’t enjoy would be extremely difficult. I’m happy to hear that you’ve changed that around and gained a new focus on life. I guess in the end, the key is to make room for those passions and knowing that we can sometimes use our passions in our work, gives us a great opportunity. I shall look forward to hearing how it all works out for you!

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