Trading Your Life for Money

What price do you place on your health and happiness?

After eight solid years of commuting every day in horrific traffic to a corporate office, I made a terrible mistake.

I calculated how many hours I spent commuting in crawling stop-and-go traffic every year. Then, I added up how many hours of my life that had been for the past eight years.

Then, I projected how much of my life would be wasted and lost to that commute if I continued doing this until “retirement.”

Have you done this? Maybe you’re one of those lucky few who don’t have a work commute. But, many of us spend/spent hours each day in a car or on a train.

It’s eye-opening.

It’s terrifying. I immediately became nauseous thinking about the precious remainder of my life being spent in a stressful commute.

Americans spend over 100 hours a year commuting

I wish.

The calculation

I was spending over 625 hours a year on my commute when I finally left my corporate job behind.

That’s 26 full 24 hr days/year spent on the lovely California freeways.

After four years of that at my last corporate job, that was 104 days of my life.

That would be 3 1/2 months of my life driving 24 hrs a day on the freeway.

Projecting forward, that would mean spending entire years of my life on a freeway.

Enough was enough

That was the day that something inside of me snapped. I couldn’t waste the rest of my life this way. I left corporate and went independent. I couldn’t return to that life once I did the math and knew what it meant.

Now, of course, it depends on what you’re doing. If your job is a calling and has incredible meaning, then a commute might be worth it. But, I wasn’t saving children or curing cancer. I was trying to figure out how to increase revenue for Search, getting people to click more ads, but not be too annoyed with us. Not precisely a world-changing mission.

My point with all of this is that we trade our life energy for money when we take a job. Make sure that it matters. Make it count.

And, be fully aware of the true price you are paying. For me, it wasn’t just 10–12 hours spent every day at work. It was also the daily toll the commute was taking.

Make every minute of your life matter.

Check out my Invincible Career newsletter where you can receive more stories and advice that help you plan your own invincible career and life! You can also learn more about my services on Brilliant Forge.

Larry Cornett is a Leadership Coach and Career Advisor. He lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and children, two Great Danes, two chickens, and a stubborn old cat. He does his best to share advice that can help others take full control of their work and life. He’s also on Twitter and Instagram @cornett

Note: This article originally appeared on Brilliant Forge

Invincible Career

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Larry Cornett, Ph.D.

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I help you become an opportunity magnet so the best things in life come to you! | Fast Company

Invincible Career

Invincible Career® stories that help you become an opportunity magnet so the best things in life come to you!

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