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The Almighty Buck

If You Get Rich, You Won't Quit Working For Long ( 406

An anonymous reader writes: You'd think striking it suddenly rich would be the ultimate ticket to freedom. Without money worries, the world would be your oyster. Perhaps you'd champion a worthy cause, or indulge a sporting passion, but work? Surely not. However, remaining gainfully employed after sudden wealth is more common than you'd think. After all, there are numerous high-profile billionaires who haven't called it quits despite possessing the luxury to retire, including some of the world's top chief executives, such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. But it turns out, the suddenly rich who aren't running companies are also loathe to quit, even though they have plenty of money. That could be, in part, because the link between salary and job satisfaction is very weak. According to a meta-analysis by University of Florida business school professor Timothy Judge and other researchers, there's less than a 2% overlap between the two factors. In the long run, we derive job satisfaction from non-monetary sources, which include positive peer relationships, the ability to work on meaningful projects and even leadership opportunities.
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If You Get Rich, You Won't Quit Working For Long

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...but exactly what it is you "work" on will quite likely change since you're now free to choose something you find enjoyable or fulfilling.

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:01PM (#53469625)

      This is exactly true. I do many things for a buck, but I wouldn't do what I presently do. I would like to think I'd be productive and busy, but I would be doing the parts of the job I want to do, and either abdicating or paying someone to do the nasty stuff.

      The salary thing is a red herring. HR usually uses that to justify low (i.e. "market") wages. But they neglect engagement and retention. When paid market wages I tend to optimize the "life" part of work/life balance, and consider my job to be fairly disposable (i.e. I won't put up with a lot of crap, and don't think twice about calling a moron a moron). If I were rich I would never take such a job, which is ironic considering I don't need the money, but such places tend to have very bottom line attitudes about the parts of the job I enjoy too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Very few people have a job that they really enjoy. So they think "If I had a lot of money I would immediately quit working". But, the truth is, doing nothing all day is actually quite boring.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        ^^^ came here to to say this. I recently am coming off a 12 month break of doing nothing. Literally nothing. Sleeping until noon, going to bed at 4am, playing video games and chilling. I did keep the house clean ;). The only productive thing I did in those 12 months is cook and clean the house. Every night dinner on the table. I felt like a stay at home mom, except I'm a single father.

        My experience, at first was cool, it was something new. Quickly wore off, now I'm at the point where I only interact with fa

        • by spudnic ( 32107 )

          You should take up drinking or light recreational drug use.

        • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @02:43PM (#53470493)

          OK, here's your purpose: find a purpose. Make a full-time job out of it.

          Look around. What interests you? people, things? animals? making stuff?

          If you like dealing with people, consider some of the old standbys. Toastmasters, the various "Loyal order of Water Buffalo" organizations, food banks, Habitat for Humanity, check out Meetup for local groups and see if any of them are doing things that interest you. Maybe join a local amateur sports team.

          If you like things, how do you like them? making them? collecting them? both? Here again, there are places you can go and/or stuff you can buy and play with - since you apparently aren't entirely lacking in funds.

          Same with animals. Work on/buy a farm or ranch, consider raising alpacas, volunteer at an animal shelter, whatever.

          Or travel, explore. Even if your budget is limited, you can travel virtually for free these days.

          Grow things, even if it's just a balcony garden. Draw, craft, become an Internet curmudgeon - there's no expertise required beyond what you claim for yourself. Since you're already cooking, tune into some of the cooking shows on TV/Internet and learn how to cook like a pro from the pro's.

          Become an artist - people will think you're unemployed anyway. Buy a 3d printer and play with it. Sculpt, paint, bend wire, draw, make art using chainsaws and/or explosives.

          If you're depressed, and can't explore, then you can spend your time and money talking to mental health professionals. It's good for the economy.

          It's a big world and there are plenty of things to do. Finding a direction and getting started is the hard part.

        • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @04:31PM (#53471213)

          My experience, at first was cool, it was something new. Quickly wore off, now I'm at the point where I only interact with family and 1 friend IRL and I find myself feeling deeply depressed. I have no goals, no motives, and that's just no life to live. I wake up feeling sad, like another day of nothing. I love going to sleep because I get a break from my boring life. I truly believe this experiment has left me with clinical depression. When I worked I was never this sad. Never was my sleep schedule so off when I worked.

          I'm in a similar position, though not of my choosing, and completely understand what you mean. I'm 53, debt-free and financially independent for my current and foreseeable future (looking 50+years out) according to my budget, even without a job, so don't need to work. I still do work 3/4 to full time because I think I'd be bored and have also never been w/o a job. I'm in this position because I was very happily married to a wonderful woman, who was 19 years older than me, for 20 years and we lived responsibly accounting for the fact that she would retire before me. Instead, she died, literally in my arms, of a brain tumor in Jan 2006, just seven weeks after diagnosis. I'm still a bit lost and without direction because she was all that really mattered... The only thing I can really disagree with you is that my experience was never cool.

          Remember Sue... []

        • by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @06:30PM (#53472141)
          This is why I farm even though it isn't super profitable. When you have a lot of land there is always something to do and you get plenty of daily exercise. You can setup experiments for different fields, work on optimizing breeds of livestock for your climate and needs, decide you need a new pond or you try out new direct marketing strategies... you're never bored.
      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:33PM (#53469879) Homepage Journal

        Very few people have a job that they really enjoy. So they think "If I had a lot of money I would immediately quit working". But, the truth is, doing nothing all day is actually quite boring

        You know, a few years ago, I had about a 7 month gap in between contracting gigs.

        My typical day was, wake up, walk the dog....jump on my motorcycle and hit the gym for a couple of hours.

        I'd come back home, have some lunch, look for jobs about an hour or so, and then often after showering and dressing, I'd jump on my motorcycle and run around town (living in New Orleans). I spent days seeing the art museums, WW2 museum, all sorts of neat things. I might have left out earlier and met friends for lunch somewhere....

        Usually by about 3-4pm, I'd usually meet some friends at one of our MANY fine drinking establishments, for a few...and then come home, etc.

        For 7 months, lather, rinse, repeat. I had NO problem finding things to do.

        I thought to myself, "Man, if I won the lottery, this would likely be a large part of my life, and hell, if I got tired of this, I could always take a vacation. could anyone get bored with all the money they ever need, and a bit of imagination?

        • by ausekilis ( 1513635 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @02:16PM (#53470243)
          I knew a guy that was a seasonal worker. He'd work for ~6 months in the spring/summer so he could hit the slopes wherever and whenever he wanted for the rest of the year. While I like my job and coworkers, I'm actually a bit envious that he was able to do that.

          Go ahead and ask any retiree too, that "free time" gets filled up quick.
      • by skids ( 119237 )

        I'd probably tell my employer: I like doing stuff, and I'll still work some part time, but I am not getting up at 7AM anymore unless I damn well feel like it.

    • I loved the job I had in College. I'd gladly work in a small bookstore again if money weren't an issue, and such things still existed.

      • There are a lot of jobs that would be quite fun if you worked for a company that didn't have to do more than approximately break even.
    • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:14PM (#53469743)
      Exactly. I was suddenly rich I wouldn't stop work. Well, only for a year or so. But the work I went on to do would then be something I enjoyed, no matter how badly paid it was. I would forever be in the position of never having to worry about losing the job, or being able to quit if I decided I didn't like it.
      This is why born-rich politicians (pointing no fingers) will never be able to understand the working lives of the rest of us. They've never been in the position where losing a job is disastrous. They've always had the luxury of choosing what job they'd like, to what degree, and taking a break from it all whenever suits them. That freedom truly changes the nature of your working life entirely.
      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        This is kind of the reason we dont like hiring people with family money. They have no commitment to the job. We need to be able to plan on the person being around to do their job when the going gets tough.

    • by w3woody ( 44457 )
      Exactly right. I do software development, and I'd probably continue doing software development. But I'd be a hell of a lot pickier about the sorts of projects I choose to work on. Ironically people I know who have been in a similar position find themselves even making a larger salary in the long run, because they are able to take greater risks while picking things they like and want to do (and are good at) rather than just looking for whatever they can that they may be good on, but which pays.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:49PM (#53469511)

    I suggest you watch that last Family Guy episode where Stewie takes a job at a printing company. That's the average persons job. No rich person would tolerate that kind of work for 5 minutes. What rich people call work the rest of us call "a dream come true." I'll happily do Jeff Bezo's job for 25 cents an hour.

  • Exception (Score:5, Funny)

    by slipped_bit ( 2842229 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:49PM (#53469517) Homepage
    I'll be the exception.
  • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:50PM (#53469529)

    I don't know if sudden wealth has that effect, but in the interest of science, I'm willing to find out.

  • by JamesTRexx ( 675890 ) <<moc.liam> <ta> <mortsyn.lecram>> on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:51PM (#53469543) Homepage Journal
    If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
    -Marc Anthony
    • Re:One reason: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:44PM (#53469967) Journal

      for about 17 years that was my case.
      I recently was laid off as my team moved to Israel (among other things) but in fact I felt like I was paid money to go play all day.
      I only *worked* maybe 4-8 hours a month (meetings... ick), the rest of the time I did things I found so engaging and fun that I would often forget to take breaks, go to lunch, go home... I literally had to set an alarm on my computer to remind me of such things.

    • It makes a cute quote, but it's not really the type of activity that makes work suck. What I "love doing" is not dealing with deadlines, stress, or the responsibilities of other people depending on my work.

      Take away those pressures and even stuff like digging holes or cleaning is fun. Because as soon as it stops being fun you move on to something else.

      So really the only way to "love what I'm doing" is to not "have to" do it, and be able to stop doing it and move on to something else whenever I want. Whi

  • Enough said

  • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:53PM (#53469559)

    Though I would probably switch careers, or potentially simply get involve more in my hobbies, or else pursue things I've not had time to. But in the end, I'd definitively still be 'working' - I would just have the luxury of choosing exactly what that work would be, at any moment.

    • I already had to make that decision. I have enough money that I could take early retirement, so now I only work for organizations I actually like. That means I end up doing things like six months pro-bono for a leadership campaign, and then three years with a start-up, because they were inherently worth doing. Now I'm with a hardware company, because I love their product.
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @03:07PM (#53470669)
      Pretty much everyone I know who is extremely wealthy ($250k/yr+ including three guys making over $1 million/yr) is a workaholic. If they find they have some free time, they don't go to the beach or watch TV or read slashdot like you and I would do. They use it to do more work. Whether that's their personality or because they just happened to find a job they love to do, they enjoy working so much that their spouses have a hard time dragging them away from it long enough just to go on vacation with the kids. That's what the wife of one of the $1+ million/yr guys complained to me about when I stayed at their house for a weekend. She kept having to pull phones, tablets, laptops out of his hands during their vacation because he kept trying to work. Eventually she conceded and let him work for a few hours each evening back at the hotel, in exchange for him not doing anything work-related the rest of the day while they were sightseeing with the kids.

      Most people probably believe rich people are like the stereotype of the fat cat banker who works 4 hours and takes off to play golf the rest of the day, because that's what they fantasize being rich is like. But the rich people I've met are the exact opposite of that. Another of the over $1 million/yr persons I know epitomizes TFA. His family (landlord for my business) owns a good chunk of the land in Southern California and they probably pull in several hundred $million/yr in lease and rental fees. It's all passive income so they don't have to lift a finger, but he works pro bono as an accountant for the city he lives in, often putting in 10-12 hour workdays. (The third one works 8 hr/day at his law practice, then goes home and helps run his wife's business the rest of the evening.)
  • Nonsense. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:53PM (#53469561)
    The notion that there's no correlation between the paycheck and satisfaction is absurd. How many people would keep enjoying those "peer relationships" at the office if their paycheck was cut to 10%?

    For the VERY SMALL number of people who have a had a large windfall but continue to do higher-level executive work, it is indeed the labor-of-love thing, or the awareness that what they know and can do can generate even more piles of money so they can do things like ... start rocket companies, etc.

    But those are vanishingly infrequent circumstances. The average or even upper-middle-class employee may not describe their salary as THE thing that makes them happy, but you can bet that if it was slashed to the bone, it would be the thing that makes them unhappy.
    • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:59PM (#53469607)

      The notion that there's no correlation between the paycheck and satisfaction is absurd.

      There's research that shows that there's a point where your salary desire is sated, and more money while nice ceases to be the primary reason you work. In other words, once people are compensated at 100k/year they are more likely to be motivated by ping-pong tables and free soda type perks than 101k/year, even if the 1k is worth more.

      Obviously, the majority of people have not hit that level yet.

      • That is bullshit, but we are talking about rich here anyway, not 100k a year. No one is going to pick soda perks over $1,000 either.
        • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

          I'd pick free sodas over 1K per year. I drink a lot of diet coke, and I don't want to have to remember to buy a 6 pack ever morning. Even if I come up slightly behind in dollars the convenience factor is more than worth it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            Then you are stupid.
          • by Sebby ( 238625 )

            I'd pick free sodas over 1K per year. I drink a lot of diet coke, and I don't want to have to remember to buy a 6 pack ever morning. Even if I come up slightly behind in dollars the convenience factor is more than worth it.

            Plus, you don't get taxed on that extra $1K. Neither does the company, since it's an expense on their side.

            Oh shit! Now the IRS is gonna come after us for not paying those taxes, even though Wall Street owes way more than we do! RUN!

      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        I would like to know where these people were doing their research. In the Silicon Valley 100K is a bare survival salary if you are supporting a family.

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        once people are compensated at 100k/year they are more likely to be motivated by ping-pong tables and free soda type perks than 101k/year

        We have a ping-pong table at my office. I've never seen anyone play on it.


  • Or course not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:54PM (#53469563)

    This is quite obvious and has been covered since the days of ancient Greece.
    I've said it before. []
    Humans need to feel love, a sense of competence and a sense of purpose.
    The amount of money you get beyond roughly 75 000 Euros per year has near to no influence on your happiness.
    In fact, if you tie your happiness to riches, you'll get depressed quite soon, even if you don't lose your wealth.

    I'd probably work even more if I'd win the lottery.
    Albeit on projects that I fund myself because I care about them.

    • Whether they're politicians, business executives, athletes, or entertainment celebrities - people at the top of the food chain crave money and power. Bezos, Zuckerberg, Clinton, Trump, Ballmer, LeBron, whoever - they won't give up the ego boost unless they are forced to.
    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      The amount of money you get beyond roughly 75 000 Euros per year has near to no influence on your happiness.

      Presumptuous of you to speak for others.

      What you're talking about is the "utility curve" - the increased happiness that increased money brings is not linear. It's often more than 1:1 when you're broke, and much less than 1:1 when you have a lot. But different people have different curves.

      When you apply mathematics to investment decisions, you have to allow for the individual's utility curve before you can really plan anything (and many people don't know, of course). x^-2? x^-3? log(x)?

      And obviously the

  • If you count working in my garden as work, then yes, I would continue working for the rest of my life (or at least as long as I'm physically able to).

  • Who gives a shit about money once you reach the level where you have more than you can spend?

    What makes these people continue working is the, perceived or imagined, power their "employment" gives them. You think they'd continue working for someone with that kind of money? Or in any real job, for that matter?

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:09PM (#53469693) Journal

    It's about doing what I want to work on. If I were suddenly flush in cash I could go back to school for stuff I want to learn, afford to build a full shop with the tools I want to work with, and not worry that "failure=lose house" if I wanted to start my own business

    • This.

      We inherently like being productive. I personally am looking forward to early retirement, but not because I hate to work.

      When the work is interesting, the customer is engaged, you have the tools to do your job, and the BS level is low you would have to put arm guards at the door to keep me out on even the weekends. Sadly, I find that in corporate America there is a lot of mundane work (especially documentation) that really doesn't need to be as onerous as it is, the customers are indecisive and slow

  • And if you keep using the word "you" in headlines, I'll get sick of the clickbait.

    I, for one, would certainly not keep working if I made a few million. But the kind of people who tend to make a few million are exactly the kind of people who work and make money for the love of work and making money, of which I am not one.

  • Lottery (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:14PM (#53469741) Homepage

    If I ever won the lottery, I'd still go to work every day, and make sure my work colleagues knew that I'd won the lottery and didn't actually need to ever work again.

    Why? Because it'd really piss them off.

  • I've had people tell me for years the same thing: "If I had Bill Gates' money I'd quit working". Okay, then you would *never* get Bill Gates' money because you would quit long before you had billions of dollars.

  • Ugh what a one-sided report / study.

    Obviously even if you're paid a lot, flipping burgers at mcdonalds isn't going to make you happy even at high wages as other jobs would, but there is a minimum.

    Your basic needs and some extras need to be covered without stress of running out of money.
    1. Home you enjoy living in
    2. Food of your choice
    3. Vehicle in good shape
    4. Money for vacation and entertainment

    etc etc.

    If you can't afford those things,then you'll be less satisfied with your job.

    Let's say salary can have a

  • When you fall into money, usually it is mostly luck. People who work just as hard, in the same field in similar circumstances sometimes have wildly different outcomes.

    However, those that *feel* their hard work has earned them their money and not luck, often have the type of personality that seeks some sort of validation (either internally or from other people) and thus will often not stop working.

    However, those that *feel* that their luck has earned them their money generally think that it is an unrepeatab

  • ...but it sure makes misery easier to live with !
    • To quote an acquaintance who has seen booms and busts in his personal financial life:

      "I've been rich and poor. Being rich was better."

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:30PM (#53469857)

    I have been without work for 2 years in a row twice and the only reason I went back to work was money. I would have had money, I sure would have not gone to work. That does not mean that I was sitting on my sofa eating nachos. I just did more of what I wanted to do when I wanted to it.

    Ask people what they do in their free time and they will come up with "Movies, hanging out with friends and fitness". None of these are things you can do all day for a longer period of time (months on end) and the friends part will be limited as they work and will not be available most of the time.

    So I do believe that many people would go back to work, but not because of money, but because of boredom and lack of fantasy.

    So what did I do? I spend a lot more time with Open Source. No, I do not want to do that as a job as I would want to do my hooby in my free time.

  • When you have that kind of money that the billionaires mentioned have, it's not about money anymore, it's about power.
  • The guy who started Ikea - super filthy rich beyond most peoples wildest dreams, walks around with casual clothes, sometimes people say that he looks like an old homeless person. But yet he has worked every day of his life, and STILL does at the age of 90.

    The thing is - rich people don't work for the man - they're THE MAN, we're not talking about their kids who literally fell into daddy's riches, we're talking those who follow the philosophy of earning more than they spend. Everyone can get rich, it's al
  • I may be naive and not understand the whole picture here, but I have seen stories that are similar to this and have had a hard time believing them. Specifically, I've seen a couple of studies showing that people who are incredibly rich don't tend to be happier. As someone who's comfortable (not broke, but still worrying about money) I'm always looking over my shoulder for the next layoff/offshoring in the world could you not be happy??? Having the freedom to do what you want, when you want, r

  • I quit as soon as I became financially independent and never looked back. It's been a dozen years of pure bliss so far. It's possible I will get into trouble, but very unlikely. If everything upon which my early 'retirement' is based were to fail, I would have a whole lot of company. If the actuarial tables are accurate, then no worries. I'm really sorry people need the daily grind to feel fulfilled and happy.

  • No way. I'm tired of getting shit on.
  • Was discussing this with people I work with. We agreed that if we won it big in the lottery we would still work together. Just much less hours and under more relaxed conditions. (ie: 4 hour work days, no calls, no weekends, have a greeter at the front door, etc.)

  • That was a fantasy at my last job, especially if I could pull of the "get rich" part without it being on TV news.

    Our offices were on 8 floors of a public office tower and there was an underground parking ramp. High-level execs had spaces leased there, and I figured if I was rich enough I could lease a spot down there for my high-end car and "accidentally" run into some of the people down there. I also thought it would be fun to have a designer re-do my office over some long holiday weekend with expensive

  • by c ( 8461 )

    I wouldn't quit working, but I'd definitely quit my job.

    People who start companies and then become billionaires through those companies are a different kind of person from the average windfall winner; they frequently keep on at the same "job", but the sort of personality which takes a company from scratch to being worth billions isn't likely to see what their doing as a "job" so much as an obsession. That and being at the helm of the ship has gotta be a lot more interesting than being chained to an oar.

  • by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @04:55PM (#53471379)

    Retirement doesn't mean you stop working.

    It means you stop choosing your work based on the salary. (So you switch to a more rewarding job, or you pursue a hobby full-time, or you hang around the house - whatever feels best to you.)

    In a real sense, those tech CEOs with billions ARE retired.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin