In case you were wondering, yes I did purposely create a title that sounded like an episode of The Big Bang Theory to explain my “scientific” theory surrounding a certain phenomena I’ve noticed over my adult life. The “theory” is based on working vs. free time, and how people near both ends of the spectrum seem to wish for what is on the opposite end.
First, there is the overworked side of the spectrum; this represents those who work long hours and have very little free time. Certain careers require over 50 hours per week of working time. Usually these long hours means getting paid more (or eventually will). Often these people don’t get much time off to actually spend much of their hard-earned cash.
The under worked are the polar opposite end of the spectrum, and where I currently fit in. I’ve gotten my seasonal layoff from my main job and am finding myself having a lot of free time lately. The under worked generally have quite a bit of free time, but not much money to spend during their time off which can create some big restrictions.
I’ve noticed that many people who are overworked really want to have more time off, whereas people who are underworked enjoy time spent off of work but would often trade a bit more work in order to have more money. While I was working this year I was waiting for January to come because it meant having time off to do all of the things I didn’t have time for before. Now that I am laid off I find myself worrying about my money and feeling like I don’t have enough money to go do all of the things I’d like to do. I did save up money in preparation for this period of time but the frugal woman in me does not want to see my savings account go down each month by more than it has to.
One of the sayings that have been around forever is that the grass is always greener on the other side. Both sides have their perks. In any position it could seem like the perks of one side outweigh the perks of the other. If you switched sides, you may end up wanting some of the old perks you benefited from while at the other side of the spectrum.
I think that everyone can find a happy medium. Some people prefer to work more because that’s what they enjoy and value, and some prefer to work less because they value time spent off more than having that extra money or the fulfillment of a certain job. As long as you have enough money to live with, it’s up to you how much you choose to work.