Almost everyone on this planet has to work. We work most of our lives, actually. However, most of us never really reflect on “why” we’re working – the reason you get out of bed every morning and show up to your job.

I’m here to challenge that, and hopefully inspire you to figure out your “why.”

Every person has their own unique reasons for working the job they do. Sometimes it’s because you went to school for it. Other times it’s because you fell into the family business. And many times, it’s because it’s just what you know. However, I think the high level reasons can be categorized into 3 main rationalizations, which I call CLP. This stands for Compensation, Lifestyle and Passion.

Let’s break these motha-truckas down.

Compensation

We all have to make that money to live. Some of us command more compensation than others, but regardless, financial compensation is a huge factor in why we work. In fact, most people are driven purely by compensation. Whether you have a family to support or a lavish shopping addiction, getting paid is a big reason why you show up to work every day. You need that cheddar to support your baby momma’s bad habits 🙂

Lifestyle

Some of us choose a job because of the lifestyle it offers. Whether that’s working remote while traveling the world or having catered Chipotle every day for lunch, lifestyle has a big influence in our job choice. Today more and more companies are forced to offer work/life balance and lifestyle flexibility as they recruit top talent. Companies like Google literally make it so you’d rather be there than your own home. They are offering a lifestyle that makes work seem pretty freakin awesome.

Passion

Lastly, we have passion. Passion is being able to work on something that you actually give a shit about. Only a select few of us are fortunate enough to work on something we’re truly passionate about. However, this is arguably the most important reason to work, and yet so few are able to achieve it.


Now there are certainly other factors for why we work, but these three (CLP) generally sum things up. I’ve put together a couple diagrams to portray how this looks.

Here’s what we think our CLP should look like

This is the good life – a little bit of mula, a little bit of “do whatever the f*ck I want,” and then a little bit of making the world a better place. Boom-shakk-a-lakka!


And here’s what it really looks like (for most of us)

As you can see, most of us get the paycheck, have some decent lifestyle benefits, but that passion is out of reach. It’s something we say we’ll get to at some point… yet it’s not even on our radar at the moment. Sad but true.


Now take a second to stop and think about how these relate to your job and why you show up to work. Seriously. Pause that ass and think…

Are you doing it for the money, the lifestyle, the passion, or a combination of them? Most of us strive to reach all three, but in reality we only get one or two. If you don’t have any of them it’s probably time for you to reconsider your job. For real.

Why Am I Asking You This?

I know what you’re thinking – “Ok, Ali… why does this matter? It’s Friday and I’m about to get my happy hour on.”

It matters because it’s the thing that takes up most of your time. Let me elaborate.

Regardless of how your CLP ratio unfolds, I think you’re actually working for something else. I think you’re working for something even more important, which is TIME. Time is the most valuable commodity on the planet since it’s the one thing we all want more of, but the one thing nobody can buy. More importantly, most of us use CLP to buy more time.

For example, we take the hard earned money we made to take a vacation. Or we choose the lower paying job with flexibility to have more time at home. And even better, we pursue something we’re passionate about because we realize we only have so much time to do things in this life.

Time is what you’re truly after.

I’ll be the first to admit that my CLP is skewed. But my CLP is skewed with Lifestyle being the biggest circle – i.e. I could make a lot more money, and I did years ago as a consultant, but now I value every damn second I can spend with my family. So for me, compensation is secondary and passion will have to wait because I’m more interested in watching my 19-month old son break dance every morning.

As you get older, and perhaps wiser, you truly realize how valuable your time is… especially when you assume leadership responsibilities that consume your time. There are plenty of jobs out there and life is honestly too short to do something over and over again that you dislike…

So take control and change that, today. You might just find that money (compensation) isn’t that important when you get more time back or do something you enjoy.

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Ali Jafarian

Ali is the creator of this site. He is a husband, father, serial entrepreneur, software engineer, and above all - a relentless life learner. He adds Siracha to 90% of the food he consumes.

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