Negative Visualizing: Life Post Job
I came across the word Negative Visualizing from the book
A Guide to the Good Life by William B Irvine. It means visualizing how you would live a negative situation. While it seems pessimistic at first to think about the bad things in such depth, on the contrary, if done right you start appreciating what you have now & are better prepared for the worst, if it comes.
let’s talk about the scenario
I do not have my job. The job that pays for everything - investments, rent, essential amenities, quite a bit of splurging & much more. Not having a job implies that I find something much better to do with my time than spending 14+ hours per day at my current work which I have been thoroughly enjoying. I have probably found something better to do with my time and concluded that I am happier without the job. Although my stock would seriously drop in the Arranged Marriage context. I digress now.
required information for introspecting
For every 100 bucks I earn, minimum 53% is spent on expenses (that cover rent, shopping, food, etc.), 34% is spent on my long-term savings, and the remaining sum is left as cash balance which I frequently rely on to buy things that enhances my or my family’s life - an apple device, a GoPro, a laptop to work on personal projects, sneakers that makes me look cool.
With the split being the following.
Soon, how will this split look like? Now, coming to the expenses part, here’s the split -
How I spend my money Let me make the chart more readable,
- Fixed Expenses - Things like rent, internet charges, electricity, furniture rent charges
- Quality of Life Essentials - Expenses like paying for a fitness trainer come under this category. They are quality of life; would I be able to survive without them? I guess so
- Learning - I pay for books, subscriptions of services like Orielly, ChatGPT, Copilot & so on
- Food - I do not order cooked food online, so these are just groceries. I do order a lot of greek yogurts, which is not essential at all
- Commute to Home - I try to visit home every month, flights, cabs, food & so on end up becoming a decent sum
- Shopping - Well, the least essential of all. A laptop stand, another set of pillows, a weighted blanket, those absolutely extra additional black shirts. These kinds of purchases are recurring
Wait, why not get another job? In all likelihood I would not be leaving my job for another job. For the HR reading this - let me elaborate, I would definitely leave my job for something more fun AND more rewarding. That could be starting something of my own or joining another company as a founding member. Or even getting a job that is actually more rewarding.
Now, not having a job implies that I do not have the 100 bucks to begin with. To spend on anything above I would have to use my savings AND find alternate streams of income.
Time is something I have already optimized for. While there are outlier days where I work more and sleep less, there are also days where I have fun, the kind that is socially agreed upon - watching a movie, drinks at a pub, etc.
There is really no scope for improving this. My time is already optimally spent.
No personal life?
Work in the above context includes anything that I deem productive or a step forward. It includes spending time reading a book or listening to a podcast or brainstorming on something with someone. I also include time that I spend with friends under work as I meet them most of the time at the physical work place or online. Work is any time I feel I have not wasted and is a step forward in my life. Not just corporate work.
living the scenario
no more new savings
cutting down the expenses
Expenses & Immediate Reduction I would be reducing my socializing expenses by 40%, I would be visiting my family once in 2 or 3 months instead of every month, while no longer subscribing to quality-of-life expenses - shopping, greek yogurts, fitness trainer expenses (sorry Sanya, this is just a thought exercise 🤗) I’ll just have to cut down on “nice to haves” and do only essentials while not starving myself from all the pleasures.
get alternate sources of income
I have already been doing Options Trading (successfully) for almost a year. I would not want to be greedy and take riskier trades as I do not see that ending well, I’d rather take a more conservative approach to this when I do not have a regular source of income to make sure I do not blow up my capital.
Options Trading should take care of most of my non loan expenses. I would have to spread myself even more thin
I’ll start freelancing, get work from early-stage initiatives that some of my friends already have been building, advertise myself more and use my network to find more such gigs. I would also need to work on my connects & network to get more of such work.
Offering my tech skills to people around me, putting work on networking and advertising myself well has high chances of getting me that extra bit of sum that I could not avoid - loans
I would also consider the idea of sharing my current one-bedroom apartment with a roommate. Aaah, such is life.
what would I do with my time?
While I do not get burnt out, that’s the thing for the normies. I would still make sure that most of my days, I go to sleep relaxed and not stressed or super exhausted. With that in mind, I would split my time into long term ideation, short term execution and execution. I would set up my apartment such that it is optimized for work more than leisure. A much stricter routine would help me spend less time on thinking about the basic yet important things - gym, meal planning. I would also have to come up with a more reasonable & realistic timeline of what I do. A harsher & ambitious deadline helps get things faster but would not want to be sacrifice other aspects of my work life that are supposed to help out long term in doing something short term. Exceptions are fine. Short-term rewards are addictive but they help you with your happiness levels and that helps you be more productive and motivated in an absolutely stupid way. But I would be working on balancing this out with long term objectives of what I want. Sustainable productivity & not being in the local maxima basically.
I would set up a routine, have meal planning and other such arrangements planned that would remove the time that would be wasted around them. I will think in the big picture, break tasks into meaningful chunks, execute the small picture. I would ensure work is not tiring and I sleep that day with a smile that I get to do the same things again tomorrow.
meet friends more
One of the silent implications of no longer having a job is also that I would start meeting fewer people daily (or if any). The friends at work, I would have to take time away from my daily routine to meet them, also adhering to their busy schedules. I would also have to find alternative ways to meet new people. This is why my socializing budget has not dropped completely.
“Give me a TLDR”
Cutting down my expenses, stopping my investments, taking up freelancing projects to start alternate streams of income. While I make arrangements like meal planning to focus more on the work I’ll be doing. And what work? Anything and everything with sustainable productivity, satisfaction & HUGE rewards
and what do we now?
A good negative visualization exercise should have two outcomes - being appreciative of what I have now and me being better prepared for what to come (if it comes).
I am grateful. Ok?
I will immediately start cutting down my extra expenses and work on a rainy-day fund that helps for the eventual scenario where I might not be going to work.
I would also need to diversify my skills and look into additional streams of income that can be pursued parallelly. Moreover, beginning to strengthen my network and building a solid personal brand can be invaluable for when I finally decide to move on. A good solid network and personal brand doesn’t hurt anyone eh?
Before doing this exercise, or simply writing down the obvious points on what anybody in my sneakers would do, it did seem a bit scary to think about this situation.
This leap might be scary but it’s clear that it is not unmanageable. It’s about planning, adapting, and keeping the bigger picture in focus. While also having lots of fun, mental peace & material wealth.
Right now, I realize that I might be optimizing too hard for short term success as my long-term objectives (which I have literally not spent any word explaining what they are) are not getting any of my time. I think before everything else I should start taking time out for myself and think about what I really want to do. I guess I can do this with my corporate job.