Behind the 8 ball

Behind the 8 ball

I think a lot of people put themselves "behind the 8 ball" so to speak in life, without really realizing it.

When people start working (whether that be after high school, college, or university), the cultural narrative we have — and what most people tend to ascribe to — is the following: buy a car, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc.

Now, there's nothing really wrong with this. As I mentioned in Ecosystems and Niches the modern world is generally cool where people can do whatever they want to do (if you're reading this, you probably live in a place where you can have leisure time to read and not worry about starving via not tending to your farmland). Further, I think having kids and raising a family is very important; personally, I think raising kids is the noblest thing any person can do.

With that being said, what concerns me about following our cultural narrative blindly — and without thinking for oneself — is that I think it puts a lot of people "behind the FINANCIAL 8 ball" without them even realizing it.

If you had the privilege of going to university, you might have post-secondary debt once you finish. Then, you probably have a typical job making decent annual salary. But once you buy a car and a house, that adds to your debt (whether you had post-secondary or not). I suspect this puts people in an anxious mode and they feel like they need to "settle in" to their day jobs and just continue chugging away, even if they hate it or could make more money elsewhere by taking a risk. This is because they have the mortgage that they have to pay off and it would be incredibly risky to leave their jobs EVEN IF they hate their jobs.

It's hard to be chill when there's a [metaphorical] noose around your neck.

What blew me away when I lived in San Fransicso was the level of debt new grads were in. I worked with some folks who attended Liberal Arts colleges and ended up in + 200k USD in debt. 🤯Could you imagine trying to function being in $200k USD in debt??? I've never been in debt before and I get anxious about finances!!! I think this would lead to 2 outcomes:

  1. Extreme risk taking. People are in so much debt, they must take huge risk like joining a startup, with hopes that they will go public so they can make bank. This contributes to the great innovations we have coming out of the US. But, statistically-speaking, it's sort of like buying a lottery ticket. Most of the shares you got for the startup you're working for are going to end up being worth the equivalent of monopoly money.
  2. Extreme cautiousness On the other end, people just want good, middle class jobs that are stable and will pay well. Even if they hate those jobs, they will help chip away at that huge debt that they have.

INSERT QUOTE about thinking for yourself

Written: November 3, 2020


  • Unscripted by MJ Demarco