I came across what’s wrong with being middle class by Mrs. Micah the other day. It’s a simply and beautiful question. Some of my closest friends who are doctors, lawyers, and financial Wall Street somethings or others. (I can never really figure out what the Wall Street guy does, but I think it involves TPS reports and a high degree of education and I expect pay). While they are still a little young side to be in the upper class, I suspect they are in the upper-middle class – and probably will be in the upper class in 5 to 10 years.
I’m not sure we are headed in the same direction simply because I made the choice to skip the big paycheck for two reasons. I wanted a better quality of life. I was not happy with being a software engineer. I think it’s a fine occupation, but it’s very competitive and I’m at the point where there’s more to life than coding a computer. It’s nearly two full-time jobs – one producing code and one learning the latest tools and technologies. It’s extremely difficult to do both and have an outside life for any length of time. I was simply juggling too much at one time.
The second reason is that I wanted to build something sustainable for the long-run. You can call it a rat-race or a treadmill, but unless you love what you do exchanging time for money is a losing proposition. Earlier this week, I was recently reminded that time is our most precious commodity.
There was a time when I had to have every new electronic gadget when it came out. I was one of the earlier adopters of Smartphones, DVRs, home automation equipment (everything that X-10 had to offer), and MP3 players (my first had space for 7-8 songs). Even though I had all this stuff, none of it made me happy. Not only that, but each purchase meant that I had sacrificed precious time for what amounted to very little. It was not until the last few years that I realized that experiences made me happy. I now evaluate purchases by their possibility of providing those experiences. It’s one of the reasons that I recently purchased a Wii. Thought we’ve had it a short time, my wife and I have enjoyed a few hours being active and playing tennis.
So to sum up all these thoughts on what’s wrong with being middle class… there’s nothing wrong with it. I will be happy to trade extravagant meals of caviar for hours of simpler pleasures with the people I love.