The Boglehead Way of Employment

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rob
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by rob »

OutInThirteen wrote:Take on more responsibility, including volunteering for tough assignments, in order to keep things interesting and advance up the ranks (technical or managerial or both). Don't be afraid to change jobs often if needed, especially if a change would add experience in complementary areas of expertise.
I think is great advice.... some of the unknown have worked out great for me - and some not so great but you learn more from failures than successes :D.
OutInThirteen wrote:I was good in a lot of areas, but not great in any - jack of all trades. I think this is extremely important in today's world - you need to be highly flexible and adaptable.
This is where different paths have, well, different paths.... I have stayed relevant in IT by doing the opposite... Early on I got very wide experiences but over time it's become more and more specialized. The catch is you have to keep current in the narrow band as it moves around or your gone.

The biggest thing... You work for yourself not whatever company that happens to be paying for your services right now.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by Geneyus »

EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Geneyus
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by Geneyus »

EmergDoc wrote:
Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
Ok, here's some advice. Be a state Senator. Good luck.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by stoptothink »

EmergDoc wrote:
Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
There is no way around the fact that most small businesses fail. A lot of people are far better off working for somebody else; up to you to figure out if that is the case in your situation.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
Ok, here's some advice. Be a state Senator. Good luck.
I am considering running against my state senator, the Senate president, who lives down the street, who not only sponsored but voted for a plan to raise physician licensing fees in my state to $5K.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

stoptothink wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
There is no way around the fact that most small businesses fail. A lot of people are far better off working for somebody else; up to you to figure out if that is the case in your situation.
Why not do both? No reason you can't start a business while continuing your profession. If it works out, you gradually change over. If it doesn't, no harm done but lost time, effort, and perhaps money.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
stoptothink
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by stoptothink »

EmergDoc wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
Yes, it's hard so you shouldn't even try. :oops:
There is no way around the fact that most small businesses fail. A lot of people are far better off working for somebody else; up to you to figure out if that is the case in your situation.
Why not do both? No reason you can't start a business while continuing your profession. If it works out, you gradually change over. If it doesn't, no harm done but lost time, effort, and perhaps money.
Uhhh, that sounds like a lot of harm to me.
krannerd
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by krannerd »

amitb00 wrote:I agree that health care - dentist/surgeons/physicians and other jobs like nursing etc are great. They pay well, are recesson proof and can't be off shored.
My dentist and I had a conversation about this...he noted that he (and his peers) are afflicted with repetitive stress injuries in their hands (from holding implements tightly all day). It sounds as if his work is really more labor than I had imagined earlier.

The takeaway is...dentistry requires physical effort that not everyone is capable of.
stoptothink
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by stoptothink »

krannerd wrote:
amitb00 wrote:I agree that health care - dentist/surgeons/physicians and other jobs like nursing etc are great. They pay well, are recesson proof and can't be off shored.
My dentist and I had a conversation about this...he noted that he (and his peers) are afflicted with repetitive stress injuries in their hands (from holding implements tightly all day). It sounds as if his work is really more labor than I had imagined earlier.

The takeaway is...dentistry requires physical effort that not everyone is capable of.
I am afflicted with carpal tunnel from typing all day. All jobs have their risks and physical/mental/psychological hardships, that one seems pretty minor compared to most jobs.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by humanities »

There is only one piece of advice that I think applies to everyone: earn an honest living. Do not earn your bread by making a product that harms people or by joining a "profession" that is about parting fools from their money. (I'm sure all Bogleheads could name one or two careers fitting that ugly description.)

People are too different to make any sound generalizations about what will make them happy. Some people have a driving passion; some don't. Some people care a great deal about where they live; some don't, or they care about other things more. Some people have a high tolerance for risk; some people feel best with a secure career. Some people have kids or want kids, and thus need to think about how their career will affect their families. Some people don't want children. Though I think wealth has limited effects on happiness, most people have a threshold below which lack of money is a problem. That threshold is different for different people.

I would say to anyone considering my career (academia): don't underestimate how much the inability to control where you live can interfere with relationships and family life.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by jwillis77373 »

I'd tell them, be happy with whatever job you can get.

The first job is often a matter of luck and circumstance, and more often than not a result of the caste of your family.

The US has a very strict caste system which it likes to deny, and says spend everything on College to break the mold.. but it tends to only re-enforce it. Loans are very easy to get and even made palatible by meager "freebies" from the government to entice and make you feel better about taking them out. Credit cards play off the emotions that debt is good.. if your using them while your in school.. and propsed as "forgivable" with an easy bankruptcy early in your career.

Chasing your dreams is a fools quest and more often is used a substitute for "being happy".. or a way of putting off dealing with reality. I would say just learn to get along with your family and learn to accept whatever life throws at you. And be very wary of ad campaigns and the "sugar coating" that surrounds debt instruments.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by dubsem »

I think the boglehead way would be to sustain employment and a steady paycheck in any way, and then supplement that by LBYM and saving.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by TheRightKost87 »

stoptothink wrote:
krannerd wrote:
amitb00 wrote:I agree that health care - dentist/surgeons/physicians and other jobs like nursing etc are great. They pay well, are recesson proof and can't be off shored.
My dentist and I had a conversation about this...he noted that he (and his peers) are afflicted with repetitive stress injuries in their hands (from holding implements tightly all day). It sounds as if his work is really more labor than I had imagined earlier.

The takeaway is...dentistry requires physical effort that not everyone is capable of.
I am afflicted with carpal tunnel from typing all day. All jobs have their risks and physical/mental/psychological hardships, that one seems pretty minor compared to most jobs.
Especially considering the more than fair compensation received for such a profession
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vitaflo
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by vitaflo »

Geneyus wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
I always feel like this is the worst advice for the general public. Most people have no idea how to just open a successful business and work for themselves, and it usually takes a lot of time and money to get there. If I wanted to own my own business, I would have no idea what to start up tomorrow, where to put it, etc. Even if I did start a business, I'm sure the percentage of businesses that don't make it is higher than the percentage of businesses that do.
"Open a business" doesn't have to mean getting a loan to put up a storefront and buying inventory to sell widgets to people. But when most people think of "starting a business" this is what they envision for some reason.

In fact, if you have a job right now (which I assume you do) it's not overly difficult to run your own business doing that exact same thing you're doing now. Becoming and independent consultant is owning a business. You already have the skills needed to pull it off successfully, you do this work every day. Many people make this transition successfully and some even end up hiring help because they end up with too much work. This leads to having an office space with employees doing work like a "real" business does.

The businesses that fail are the people who are sitting at desk jobs and think "owning a clothing store would be sweet!" and then borrow money and jump in head first. The businesses that succeed are people who take a skill they've already mastered and instead of letting their employer take a cut of their labor they do the same work for multiple clients and keep all the profits for themselves.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

I am not a big believer in the "follow your passion" advice given to young people. Young people have a very limited set of experiences in life and have a long way to go to build up their knowledge of the world. Their "passions" are likely to evolve as they grow older anyway. When I was in High School I wanted to become a writer and thought pursuing Journalism would be a good way to get paid to develop writing skills. My mom told me to focus on science and engineering careers and refused to let me pursue journalism. Mom was 100% right even though it felt wrong to me back then.

I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers. Also to make a good living as a writer of books takes a huge amount of talent and talent needs to match with the demands of the marketplace too. It would have been hubris to pretend I could be a top flight writer. I ended up working in software development and also on Wall Street in finance. Even though they are very different roles, I enjoyed both experiences. As a husband and a father, being able to make enough money to make sure my kids receive the best education they can is a huge deal, as is the need to be able to live in a good neighborhood and allow them good life experiences. I laugh at the personal finance blogs where they think a family with children can be funded on a $30-$40K income.

To me the best advice would be to discover what you are good at, is rewarded fairly by the marketplace and the passion might follow. Most of us don't feel a burning passion for any particular field and that is entirely natural despite what the self-help industry and Hollywood tell us. I think that young people naturally tend to be awash in idealism and utopianism. Generally speaking they have been nurtured, protected and loved. They feel bad about the sorry state of others and are eager to fix it. When they learn a bit more about economics and politics they will realize that human efforts are no substitute for a bad system. Most misery in this world is the direct result of bad economic and political choices by people, and sometimes bad luck. I think the young should concentrate on making themselves better persons and developing their talents first instead of serving society. When they have good skills and the ability to think more deeply about the world they can decide what they want to do.

The one thing I would definitely say is never pursue a career that is poorly rewarded by the marketplace for the average participant in that career. There is always a good reason for that and sooner or later life will teach them that they might need a lot more money than they thought to feel good about the resources and experiences they can provide to their families. Otherwise when they are in their late 20s and early 30s and see life passing them by as their peers advance in well remunerated careers, it will be a pretty stinging experience.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by mac808 »

Software development or health care. Job security > high salary. Whether you enjoy it or not is largely a function of the environment and co-workers (from my experience), so if you are miserable, try changing that up before you jump into an entirely new field. And like Emergdoc said, get something going on the side, apart from your day job. Always be hustling.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

mac808 wrote:Software development or health care. Job security > high salary. Whether you enjoy it or not is largely a function of the environment and co-workers (from my experience), so if you are miserable, try changing that up before you jump into an entirely new field. And like Emergdoc said, get something going on the side, apart from your day job. Always be hustling.
I am not so sure about Healthcare jobs. The system is bloated, inefficient and the cost structure and trajectory is unsustainable. There is a pretty good chance the government will step in at some point and start setting prices. Salaries for US healthcare professionals are significantly higher than those in developed Europe, the gap could narrow. If one wants to be a physician that is different as a doctor even with stagnant wages or a pay cut will still make more money than 90% of the population. But even among physicians I think not all jobs are equally safe. One needs to be a specialist, although not in a field like Radiology where people might be making $400K but could potential be replaced by a combination of computers and/or outsourcing to lower cost locations.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by vitaflo »

saurabh wrote: I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers. Also to make a good living as a writer of books takes a huge amount of talent and talent needs to match with the demands of the marketplace too. It would have been hubris to pretend I could be a top flight writer.
I find this line of thought interesting because by all accounts EmergDoc makes as much from being a "writer" as he does from being an MD. That said I'm not sure his secondary passion was so much writing as it was finance.

Still, I don't think "follow your passion" is particularly harmful by itself, but the problem I see is that "following" is usually not enough for many professions. "Exploit your passion" is probably a better way to think. This of course goes for even the better paying careers. There's the average software developer, and then there's Mark Zuckerberg. How you tackle the career has as much to do with success as the career itself.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by Nick True »

There's the average software developer, and then there's Mark Zuckerberg. How you tackle the career has as much to do with success as the career itself.
Thanks Vitaflo! When I read Saurabh's comment, this is exactly what I was thinking. You took the words out of my mouth.

Follow your passions can be good advice to the right person who will actually leverage those passions and work extremely hard to make it happen. :D
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

vitaflo wrote: I find this line of thought interesting because by all accounts EmergDoc makes as much from being a "writer" as he does from being an MD. That said I'm not sure his secondary passion was so much writing as it was finance.
When I say writer I mean it in the sense of literary writing - novels, essays and being a public intellectual. Think Saul Bellow or John Updike or Philip Roth. When you grow older you realize how singular and exceptional their talents were and how large the gap is between the gifted and the great. That gap makes an exponential difference in finding and audience and hence in compensation. No point picking a profession where you have to be among the top 2-5% to make decent money. But more than the money it is the knowledge of the talent gap that would gnaw at an individual. I continue to remain an avid reader today and have read many great books. Once in a while you learn about how many books a novel you loved has sold and I am continually shocked by the low compensation it implies for the said author.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

Nick True wrote: Thanks Vitaflo! When I read Saurabh's comment, this is exactly what I was thinking. You took the words out of my mouth.

Follow your passions can be good advice to the right person who will actually leverage those passions and work extremely hard to make it happen. :D
The chances of a random software developer becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg are about the same as that of a random active manager going on to become the next Warren Buffet. Now software development happens to be a very well rewarded field for even the average software developer (even for some mediocre ones), so it makes my point. Pick a career where the marketplace has placed a high value on even the average professional. If you don't happen to IPO the next Facebook you can still be paid better than 80% of the population.

Let us compare being a software developer to being a teacher in a pre-school. I would argue that an elementary school teacher has a very impactful job, as a parent I see the difference having a great teacher who gels well with your child can make. Yet most preschool teachers don't make a lot. There is an oversupply of people who want these jobs because of the low number of hours worked, the autonomy offered by the job, the ability to take long vacations and frankly some people like working with children so much that they don't mind being paid less than their talents might deserve. No surprise you find that preschool teaching jobs are dominated by women who appreciate the predictable hours, long vacations and the emotional satisfaction the job offers. In many cases they are very young and just starting out or if they are older they might have a higher earning spouse which ensures a good lifestyle for their family. Now someone could work as a pre-school teacher and complain about the pay or they could recognize that the job is never going to pay much and pursuing their passion has a big financial cost. Unless someone else is going to make up the financial slack, you need to factor this when you are considering it as a career.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by Nick True »

saurabh wrote:
Pick a career where the marketplace has placed a high value on even the average professional. If you don't happen to IPO the next Facebook you can still be paid better than 80% of the population.
I completely understand what you're saying. Don't think i'm arguing against it. When I was in early high school I dreamed of being a rock musician.

I just graduated last year with my Mechanical Engineering degree. I have a good job and started out $5,000 higher than the average starting salary for my job in my city. Not only that, I'm making $15,000 - $20,000 more than all of my none STEM friends that I graduated with.
I have excellent benefits... But I also can't stand my job. I am 22 yrs old and see my office full of men who've spent their entire lives working in a place they can't stand. They have bad attitudes because they dislike their work so much, but they do it because it's good money.

There's a balance between finding a job that can support your family and the lifestyle you want, and finding a job that allows you to be passionate about what you're doing.

I can already tell I don't want to spend the next 35 + years doing what I do now. So at night and on the weekends I'm actively working on starting a side business with the hopes that I can quit my corporate job in the next 1 - 2 years. Luckily my wife is on board with this. It would be extremely difficult if she didn't understand.

Emergdoc and I agree on this. He's just a few steps ahead of me.
EmergDoc wrote:
Own your own business. That way you have to be fired by all (or at least most) of your customers to lose your job. Even if you're employed, get something going on the side.
Overall saurabh, I totally see your point. But I believe there's a balance.

I have absolutely no desire to follow in the footsteps of the guys in their 50s that i'm surrounded by every day, even if it is a "good job".
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

vitaflo wrote:
saurabh wrote: I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers. Also to make a good living as a writer of books takes a huge amount of talent and talent needs to match with the demands of the marketplace too. It would have been hubris to pretend I could be a top flight writer.
I find this line of thought interesting because by all accounts EmergDoc makes as much from being a "writer" as he does from being an MD. That said I'm not sure his secondary passion was so much writing as it was finance.
When I was a kid I wanted to do three things- be a doctor, be a writer, and drive large construction equipment like cranes and those big trucks you see in big open mines. I had zero interest in finance. That became a lot more interesting when the paychecks started rolling in though.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

saurabh wrote:I am not a big believer in the "follow your passion" advice given to young people. Young people have a very limited set of experiences in life and have a long way to go to build up their knowledge of the world. Their "passions" are likely to evolve as they grow older anyway. When I was in High School I wanted to become a writer and thought pursuing Journalism would be a good way to get paid to develop writing skills. My mom told me to focus on science and engineering careers and refused to let me pursue journalism. Mom was 100% right even though it felt wrong to me back then.

I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers. Also to make a good living as a writer of books takes a huge amount of talent and talent needs to match with the demands of the marketplace too. It would have been hubris to pretend I could be a top flight writer. I ended up working in software development and also on Wall Street in finance. Even though they are very different roles, I enjoyed both experiences. As a husband and a father, being able to make enough money to make sure my kids receive the best education they can is a huge deal, as is the need to be able to live in a good neighborhood and allow them good life experiences. I laugh at the personal finance blogs where they think a family with children can be funded on a $30-$40K income.

To me the best advice would be to discover what you are good at, is rewarded fairly by the marketplace and the passion might follow. Most of us don't feel a burning passion for any particular field and that is entirely natural despite what the self-help industry and Hollywood tell us. I think that young people naturally tend to be awash in idealism and utopianism. Generally speaking they have been nurtured, protected and loved. They feel bad about the sorry state of others and are eager to fix it. When they learn a bit more about economics and politics they will realize that human efforts are no substitute for a bad system. Most misery in this world is the direct result of bad economic and political choices by people, and sometimes bad luck. I think the young should concentrate on making themselves better persons and developing their talents first instead of serving society. When they have good skills and the ability to think more deeply about the world they can decide what they want to do.

The one thing I would definitely say is never pursue a career that is poorly rewarded by the marketplace for the average participant in that career. There is always a good reason for that and sooner or later life will teach them that they might need a lot more money than they thought to feel good about the resources and experiences they can provide to their families. Otherwise when they are in their late 20s and early 30s and see life passing them by as their peers advance in well remunerated careers, it will be a pretty stinging experience.
I think that for many of us the passion you follow doesn't have to be your main job. It's great if it is and if that main job pays well. But sometimes we follow our passion on weekends and in the evenings. For many of us, that passion can be a great second job or even second career.

But if you love something and realize it pays like crap, find something else you like that pays well and do that first. Then do the first passion as a hobby.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by sk.dolcevita »

saurabh wrote:...

I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers.

...
I agree with most of your post except this ^^^. While it may not pay as well as being a software developer or a Wall St analyst, the value add to the free and democratic society of the Fourth Estate (and, in this age of social media, the Fifth Estate) has been long and indisputably recognized. But then perhaps you were talking only about money.

Also, while I do agree with you otherwise, I do fear the future where everyone would be an engineer or a doctor, and all others would be regarded as no value adds.

Volkswagen anyone?
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White Coat Investor
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by White Coat Investor »

sk.dolcevita wrote:
saurabh wrote:...

I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers.

...
I agree with most of your post except this ^^^. While it may not pay as well as being a software developer or a Wall St analyst, the value add to the free and democratic society of the Fourth Estate (and, in this age of social media, the Fifth Estate) has been long and indisputably recognized. But then perhaps you were talking only about money.

Also, while I do agree with you otherwise, I do fear the future where everyone would be an engineer or a doctor, and all others would be regarded as no value adds.

Volkswagen anyone?
Part of the issue is that there is a plethora of ways to do journalism or writing. For example, you can go work for a newspaper making $30K a year in constant fear that the newspaper is going to go bankrupt. Or you can start your own blog and monetize it well. Likewise for an author. You can write books for "the man" who will pay you 25 cents a copy for a $20 book, or you can self-publish and make $12 a book. Guess how many more books Larry Swedroe has to sell than Mike Piper to have the same income? 10-50 times.

So "journalism" might be a lousy paying career, but there are plenty of six figure mommy bloggers out there.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

Nick True wrote: There's a balance between finding a job that can support your family and the lifestyle you want, and finding a job that allows you to be passionate about what you're doing.
I think we are on the same page. For myself in my own career feeling intellectually challenged or learning something new has always been a huge driver. When I felt I was stagnating, I made a change, even though I could have rationalized the status quo. When you have a solid education and a good career start, you have the luxury of discovering what motivates you from a position of strength and greater life experience.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by a »

But HOW do you give them a strong work ethic? That is tantamount
to motivation.

Please describe, as this is the most important question in my
opinion. Once a person has motivation, they will GENERATE the
other crucial factors: self-assuredness of success, education,
the correct choice of vocation/path, acquiring of any necessary
skills. These are all SYMPTOMS and not the path to, success.

Success in employment is success in life. The brain is a goal
oriented device. Some people think they were born to desire
sitting on a beach drinking a margarita, in state of utter
relaxation. This is false. They have been conditioned to think
this because it's a common trope*, and because life never forced
them to think for themselves. All human beings are like flatworms:
they were born to wriggle around and get things done. We
have more complicated interests and goals than flatworms because
we have complex brains. But in the end everyone/thing has a goal.
To not have goals leads to unhealth, naturally.

*Another possibility is that they are just unhealthy. Don't sleep
well and other problems. When you don't sleep well and are
unhealthy, it's natural to not have vitality and feel like getting
things accomplished. Also if one has pessimistic thinking, or
depression (chemical/structural), it is also a natural, expected
response of the brain to generate improper "desires" like
inactivity.

But isn't family more
important than employment? We are using differing definitions of
employment. By employment or work I simply mean one's life goal
in the sense of Paulo Coelho's "Personal Legend." It has nothing,
intrinsically, to do with money; the fact that money tends to
follow when someone has produced something useful to other human
beings, is a law that Adam Smith explained as the way economics
and money works. Money is a representative of production, in
societies. Once your society accepts the postulates that every
person is entitled to the fruits of their labor and that a
convenient way of trading one fruit for another is to use a
common medium of exchange, we see that money is not an end in
itself but just a rating system, and a distribution system*, for
giving everyone their proper deserts.

*when coupled with laws, courts, and law enforcement.

But isn't family what has real meaning in life? Again, family
is important, but breathing is more important than family. And
in a sense, your life goal is as fundamental to your existence
and health as breathing. Human brains don't work well at satis
fying two goals at once, so we have to choose one, and the more
fundamental one is work. However, family is still the next most
important thing, for many reasons including moral, and so you
have to distribute a certain amount of life to it. (It is
fulfilling and enjoyable too. Don't want to give the wrong
impression)

--

Everyone needs to figure out exactly what their life goal
is, what they want to have accomplished assuming they will drop
dead of a heart attack at 55. What, when that heart attack
comes, will flash through their mind as wishing they had done
and hadn't put off? Then do that, NOW.* Now for people who
haven't had a serious health scare or some other event that
burns into their brain a great need to effect a something, their
answer to that will probably be hedonistic stuff like sauna
baths and roller coasters and psychotropic drugs and sex. Or
even nature hikes and watching the sunset. This is natural too.
Organisms are built to only have, intrinsically, desires for sex
and food and air and sleep and love. So that's why I say we
must find some way to duplicate the traumatic life event for
everyone, perhaps without actually having to inject people with
some torturous virus for 7 months.

*But this only works once you've opened your mind, accepted
anything as possible. Most barriers are mental. If a gremlin
went into your head and rewired all the neurons just so in a
way that instead of when you contemplated doing brain surgery on
sick kids and saving 10000 of them from lives of dullness or
suffering by the time you were 55, it seemed doable instead of
nutso, what actions would your brain generate for you, what life,
and would you really be better off if that gremlin hadn't mucked
with your wiring? (and he should break down / rewire all
concepted life outcomes as totally doable too)

--

The reason social work is not paid well is
not that helping people is unprofitable; helping people is the
ONLY way to profit; but you still will receive money (again
don't forget that money must never be adopted as a pursuit in
itself) proportional to the size of the benefit you bestow
on others. Most "social work" confers only moderate benefits
on other people, like cutting lawns; hence no one pays much for
it*. Now if you develop a new system of social work, or admini
strate a bunch of people and multiply their social work output
by 3 times each, you will create $500,000 worth of human
benefits per year, and you will see that money automatically
end up in your pocket.**

*The other factor that determines how much a given job is paid
for, for someone to do it, is:
If the barrier
to entry is too low, then (by law of supply & demand) the wage
allotted to that task will be driven down.

**As a side note, don't worry that you lack the creativity to
come up with ways to effect the goal. The unconscious mind is
untapped. The _real_ limiter, you will find, is not ideas but
time.

Why does it seem like highly educated, difficult to learn and
execute, work is always paid more? It is because more
complex organization of information and knowledge (one good way
of which to achieve is education) produces greater benefit
(to anything). This is a mathematical
law. A highly organized system has the potential to produce
100 times the amount of production in any sense. (It could even
be NEGATIVE production, such as tobacco companies.)

In a sense the history of humanity (and the universe) is an
ever increasing trend
of higher organization of molecules and information. (I am
informed by people including David Deutsch(?) that these are the
same thing) Apparently morality _is_ truth. That is, the more
advanced a civilization or humanity becomes, the more moral it
gets. There is a mathematical reason for this though it's not
completely clear to me.

--

I just really see too much getting down on social work. Don't
get caught too much in labels. Elon Musk is building electric
cars, which will reduce pollution, fix the atmosphere, and thus
cause health benefits for billions of people in measurable ways.
This is "social work." He is helping other people with no
direct connection to himself. Never mind the labels and just
remember that you must HELP PEOPLE in your Life Goal.

I'm not saying I'm a saint. (Not that I am Elon Musk or a
C.E.O., but I hold them - the _good_ C.E.O.s who have not
perverted the true purpose of companies, or goals, or
organizing people and resources to effect something - as a
model.) First & foremost it all started
out of self interest. However, humans are
mathematically provably tied to other humans and so _anyone_
who is out there trying to build something inevitably is drawn
to or will end up helping other people and _growing_ to help
them*. If they don't they have a brain defect (or they have
adopted the belief that helping others is _bad_.)

*as a personality characteristic

That's why _on the whole_ C.E.O.s, generals, presidents,
social leaders, super doers of all types are more moral than
the common populace. They are just more EDUCATED (in the
sense of DRAWN OUT) versions of the same creature. Sprouted
mung beans.

It's an interesting evolutionary question why if C.E.O. types
are so superiorized versions of humans, why did evolution not
already program this 'heightened state of motivation' in all.
Perhaps in the red tooth claw atmosphere, before we repainted
the surface of the earth with organization, too much effective
ability would self-kill-off a species. But now with
society structure and laws* in place, & interconnectedness,
it's safe to let the super doers reach their full flower.

*scientific, ethical, and philosophical understanding

--

(Note all of the above was derived from books and the words of
others - sometimes 100% directly. "proportional to
benefit you bestow on others" may be a direct quote.)
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

EmergDoc wrote: Part of the issue is that there is a plethora of ways to do journalism or writing. For example, you can go work for a newspaper making $30K a year in constant fear that the newspaper is going to go bankrupt. Or you can start your own blog and monetize it well. Likewise for an author. You can write books for "the man" who will pay you 25 cents a copy for a $20 book, or you can self-publish and make $12 a book. Guess how many more books Larry Swedroe has to sell than Mike Piper to have the same income? 10-50 times.

So "journalism" might be a lousy paying career, but there are plenty of six figure mommy bloggers out there.
Well Felix Salmon has blogged about this issue and he is one of the best financial bloggers out there. It is really hard even for him to make a lot of money. A lot of the lifestyle bloggers out there are compromised because of their need to generate ad revenue. BTW, standard royalty for technical books would be more like 20%, so Larry would probably be paid $4 on a $20 book not 25 cents. Larry also probably writes for his own satisfaction, not to make a living. From my understanding he had a lucrative professional career on Wall Street before becoming an expert on investment advice.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by vitaflo »

EmergDoc wrote:
sk.dolcevita wrote:
saurabh wrote:...

I have come to realize that journalism is a pretty low paying profession for a reason. There is just not much value add there and the Internet has of course destroyed Newspapers.

...
I agree with most of your post except this ^^^. While it may not pay as well as being a software developer or a Wall St analyst, the value add to the free and democratic society of the Fourth Estate (and, in this age of social media, the Fifth Estate) has been long and indisputably recognized. But then perhaps you were talking only about money.

Also, while I do agree with you otherwise, I do fear the future where everyone would be an engineer or a doctor, and all others would be regarded as no value adds.

Volkswagen anyone?
Part of the issue is that there is a plethora of ways to do journalism or writing. For example, you can go work for a newspaper making $30K a year in constant fear that the newspaper is going to go bankrupt. Or you can start your own blog and monetize it well. Likewise for an author. You can write books for "the man" who will pay you 25 cents a copy for a $20 book, or you can self-publish and make $12 a book. Guess how many more books Larry Swedroe has to sell than Mike Piper to have the same income? 10-50 times.

So "journalism" might be a lousy paying career, but there are plenty of six figure mommy bloggers out there.
Exactly what I meant when I said "Exploit your passion". As Taylor says, there are many roads to Dublin.

EmergDoc I eagerly await your new blog on heavy machinery. :D
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by saurabh »

sk.dolcevita wrote: I agree with most of your post except this ^^^. While it may not pay as well as being a software developer or a Wall St analyst, the value add to the free and democratic society of the Fourth Estate (and, in this age of social media, the Fifth Estate) has been long and indisputably recognized. But then perhaps you were talking only about money.

Also, while I do agree with you otherwise, I do fear the future where everyone would be an engineer or a doctor, and all others would be regarded as no value adds.

Volkswagen anyone?
I don't buy the social service angle of journalism. The newspapers and journalists were gatekeepers before and told us what to think. Now a lot of information is easily available on the Internet and any smart blogger can analyze it and people can draw their own conclusions. The newspaper format just does not work anymore in the Internet era, which has democratized opinions and access to information. Don't get me wrong, I still nurse a soft spot for a truly illuminating piece of journalism, but 90% of professional journalists are not producing that. They are middle-men in an era that worked in an age of media centralization and does not work anymore. Even in the golden era of journalism they were not paid much. That is because their job was comparatively straightforward reportage and people who can string together some quick prose on demand are a dime-a-dozen. Not everyone can be a Woodward or Bernstein.

The paradox of my advice on career strategy is that if everyone followed it it would not make sense for a functioning society, but as long as a minority follows it, it makes perfect sense. It is kind of like indexing :happy . Also I did not say that only Medicine and Engineering are recommended fields. I said any profession where the marketplace places a good value on the work of the average participant. There are plenty of jobs like that in unrelated fields.
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Re: The Boglehead Way of Employment

Post by Hulk »

I agree with Buffett, but...

It's hard to know early in life what you love in a career. In addition, people enjoy what they are good at. If you become an expert at something and can provide value (in ways other people are not able) it is very rewarding work. But getting to an expert level is a grind and often not enjoyable. But in the end well worth it.
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