The Biggest Addiction in this World – Our Paycheck

We all talk about addictions in our daily lives and how they are bad for our health and social well being. Alcohol, gambling, smoking, drugs and sometimes even Apple products and internet find a mention in the list of addictions. But there is one addiction we miss, and once which can keep us enslaved all our lives. We will do things we don’t want to do, and not do things we so much love to do. What is worse is that we will find reasons to prove to ourselves (and to others) that why what we are doing is the right thing to do? It is like we are trapped in an illusion. Sounds familiar? Yes, it is the case with every addiction. But this time I am not talking about drugs or alcohol, but your paycheck.

How many of us are in this situation?

How many of us are in this situation?

Work = Money is NOT the only way
Right from our childhood we have been taught that work equals money. You do some work, and you get paid for it. And that is a fair deal. If that would be the case, why would 99% of the wealth in this world would reside with 1% of the population? It is the same reason why 99% of the population work for 1% of the people. The work = money philosophy says that as long as you work, you get paid but nothing in the future. What if there is a crises, or you just simply don’t want to work? Or what if we want to do something where our income is independent of the daily labor we put in? If I am not in the mood to work for a few days or weeks or months, it should not affect my income if I have done a good work before the break, and am ready to do good work after it. Don’t we all deserve this freedom?

Capital Gains is the Alternative
If you start thinking, you will find enough reasons to disprove of the above paragraph I wrote. After all, 99% of the people are working to prove that. We have invented schemes like pension and insurance to give us a safety net, but only after we spend our best years working so that we can relax and enjoy our freedom when we are sixty. Do you REALLY want to do that? An alternative is to do something today which is not only work but also an investment which can be reaped in the future. Entrepreneurs and artists (or the people in 1% of the positions) do that, they put in their work and get rewarded for life, in the form of stocks, royalties or any other form of capital gains. It is the same when you spend money in schools and colleges for education, for returns which will come in the future. But why do we stop doing that once we finish school and start working?

Creativity > Work
Some five or six years ago, I attended a conference at the FMS Delhi, which is one of the leading business schools of India. There were corporate honchos and some of the best leaders India has produced at the conference, and I very distinctly remember what one of them said. He said, “These so called success stories of India like Wipro, Infosys, TCS are destroying the talent and creativity of our young population by hiring them in big numbers and paying them good salaries. By giving them a comfortable life, they are killing their creativity and spirit. India has traditionally been a self-employed and entrepreneurial society, and such an attitude is discouraged when you have a stable job with limited growth and learning.

Every time money is injected into our account (like drugs in our body), we feel high and confident which eventually fades away by the end of the month. Stress makes a comeback and we start counting the days to our next salary, which once again creates euphoria and the cycle continues. Nothing can be worse when you show up for work which you don’t like just for the sake of getting the salary on the 1st of next month. Or ask yourself – Would you still work here if you don’t get the regular salary every month?


Can we break this addiction, and own our salary rather than ending up being owned by it?