The Secret to Happiness: Value Time Over Money

Money. We need it to pay for our basis needs and all the other things we want. But can money buy happiness? It can’t, at least according to a recent survey of 4600 participants.

New research that was collected over a year and a half and published by the Society of Personality and Social Psychology suggests valuing your time rather than pursuing money may be linked to greater happiness.

Time is highly valuable, yet hard to put a figure on. Adults who are employed full time work on average 47 hours per week, according to Gallup. That’s an hour and a half more than a decade ago. Americans also tended to take fewer vacation days than their international peers, according to a 2014 Expedia.com survey.

In fact, American’s work more hours than anyone in the industrialized world. And we take less vacation, work longer days and retire later.Like any American child who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I was told that America was the best country in the world. I just accepted that. Sure, Europe had some really exciting history and culture, and other countries had some beautiful untouched landscapes, but America was far and beyond the best place to live. I won the lottery in terms of being born in the land of the free and home of the brave. I lived in the greatest place on earth, likely during the greatest time on earth. How lucky I was!

Many economics and futurists had dreamed up a world when, filled with wealth and technology, we wouldn’t have to work so much. Meanwhile, some studies claim the typical modern workday should start around 7am and end at 7pm — a 12 hour workday.

Of course, these are American companies — Sweden, on the other hand, just introduced the concept of a 6 hour workday.We’ve become such a work-focused culture that we leave little time to actually live our lives. For those earning minimum wage, this isn’t at all a choice. In many parts of the country, it’s necessary to work an 86-Hour work week to afford basic rent for a one-bedroom apartment. And for those earning higher salaries, working less hours means risking those jobs. Workers are expected to be on call at all times, many cases including weekends, holidays and evenings, and have golden handcuffs where they’re worked to poor health in order to maintain their jobs and support their families.

What if we were able to opt for time as part of pay, and this was acceptable. To ask for three months off a year as part of a compensation package, to be spread across the year, to be able to experience life — to take three-week vacations to see the world — to spend time with our families and loved ones before it’s too late. What if we were able to negotiate time just as we negotiate money, and not be seen as lazy or a poor worker. If time has a dollar value, what would that be?

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)

Related Posts:

3 comments

  1. James says:

    Bottom line is to be lucky enough to find something you enjoy doing, then working long hours doing something you enjoy working hard at will actually be enjoyable. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people in relative high paying careers, myself included, it’s very elusive. Simply working for more money feels pretty empty after a while. Thus people seek more vacation time and work/life balance

  2. David says:

    I agree although it is difficult to know what career choices are best if one wants a good work life balance. It does have to be a career with some kind of a professional aspect to it because as you say if you make minimum wage you have to work way too many hours just to make ends meet to have any kind of life. But many professional careers seem to demand a huge amount of people’s time.

    Technology careers–and especially technology careers in the Valley–do seem especially bad in this regard. It seems that everyone is expected to be an entrepreneur which in practice means they are expected to work entrepreneurial hours without necessarily getting entrepreneurial level financial rewards.

    I’ve noticed, however, that whenever I’m looking for a job it seems that technology recruiters don’t work nearly as long hours as the technology workers they are helping to place. It is very unusual for me to hear from a technology recruiter outside the 9-5, M-F time window–even though workers themselves may be working 24×7.

    1. Joy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Yes – it is tough because someone in their 20s in Silicon Valley may be all for working 80 hours a week, hanging out with his colleagues, eating pizza and beer at 8pm at the office, etc. As we get older this lifestyle is no longer as desirable. In general professional careers require long hours to do well. Any which make networking a key part of the job have unlimited hours – with breakfasts and evening events to attend to do the job well. I should be out and about much more, and feel guilty when I return home to sleep because if I don’t sleep I will not be very productive at work the next day. — I would never want to be a technology recruiter, though. I’m not sure if they work long hours but their job is incredibly frustrating. It’s sales largely without the rewards, unless they work for themselves, and then there’s the risk of going months without making any money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge