#2539 – the money game

with his permission, to quote my solectron buddy matt (a tech in my store – see here)…

playing the money game (or: how I learned to stop working and love the bomb)

With props given to the inimitable Doctor Strangelove, I will begin by saying that I have not found a way to stop working (making this a very straightforward case of false advertising and you may direct all lawsuits to someone who cares) so if that is why you clicked on this entry you may as well go read something else.

I am trying to find a new job. I may or may not have made this point clear before but, well, I don’t like my current job. It stopped being fun about the time we got so busy that some days we can expect to not have lunch breaks. That was sometime in early May. Thanks to upper management’s unwillingness to help us out and middle management’s unfortunate positioning (between us and upper management, thusly hearing it from both sides) the job has become a black hole of hope. I go into work knowing that there is a line of people waiting for me, that there will always be that line and that they will not give us more staff to help alleviate the traffic flow. It doesn’t help that the company doesn’t have people ‘in reserve,’ so if we were to actually get a new team member it would be a newbie, and newbies die in this store. It’s too busy to train effectively.

Uh, sorry. This isn’t supposed to be about work. It’s about escaping from work to the land of unemployment, a course of action that tempts me a little more every day. To effectively do this you have to play the money game.

The rules of the money game are simple. You get a number of game pieces. We’ll call these dollars. You get a board that represents the playing field. Let’s call this a month. Scattered throughout the month are obstacles that you need to get around. We’ll call these bills. To get past the obstacles you throw your game pieces at them and that lets you reach the end of the month. At the end of the month there is another month. The game does not have an end, but the more months you make it through = the better a player you are.

The dollars you get are equal to monthly income plus current savings plus bonus cash. Monthly income is easy enough to calculate: how much do you make in a month, after taxes? There’s your monthly income. Current savings is easy: how much you have saved up that you can actually access? And bonus cash? That’s a bit harder to calculate. Holiday pay or overtime from your current job counts towards this, as does money made on the side from any other odd sources of income you may have. You don’t have to share those with any of the other players unless you really want to.

So in order to ‘stop working’ you have to be able to get through at least one playing field’s worth of obstacles without being able to depend on regular monthly income. Best to quit on a pay week, then, to ensure that two weeks afterwards you’ll be getting one last check with lots of bonus cash (accrued vacation time) on it just when you need it.

The question is: can it be done for more than a single month? I can answer that while it can, in theory, be done, I am not personally capable of such a theoretical leap. Furthermore, while it would be nice to have a month off (with precise timing and very careful planning of expenses I could probably do this by the end of July and thus take August off) I would have to be looking for a new job at that point, and honestly I’m not feeling too happy with job hunting right now. Everything I have found in the area is retail, and that is precisely what I am trying to get away from.

So playing the money game is not quite as easy as you’d think once you factor in all of the variables. What else is there to do in this situation? Well, clearly you must find out what amount of game pieces you need to defeat all of the obstacles in one playing field. Make that your minimum guaranteed source of dollars and go from there.

The art of the game lies in finding a way to do it without hating your job. Ah, but that is the real challenge…