Perspective…. it’s a funny thing, isn’t it?
Five years ago, searching for a new job after a 2 year break, this was my thinking: “If someone would just interview me and give me an opportunity…..I would be so happy with $60k total comp, some 401k match and health benefits. I would not need anything else!”
Well, I nearly cried of happiness when, after many rejections, I was offered $98k plus bonus, over 10% 401k match and ridiculously good benefits, for a job with lots of growth potential. I was so excited, thankful and relieved!
A couple of years and two promotions later, I was making significantly more that I ever expected. I felt engaged and valued. I was learning new things. I felt SO lucky and humbled! Until….. I learned my total comp was $30-40k less than my peers who got lower review scores and held less responsibilities, had less schooling and experience.
I felt bitter and, as embarrassing as it is to admit, it became a constant thought.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
How was this possible? I was making more money than I ever dreamed of, I loved my job and my peers and yet I felt bitter and unhappy? What happened to my old self, known for her joyfulness?
I had to do something about this. This was absurd and painful.
I was determined to stop defining my worth and happiness from things OUTSIDE of me (how did this happen?). I was to find contentment from within. “The rich man isn’t the one who has the most, but rather the one who needs the least” became my motto.
I did two things.
I switched jobs internally and negotiated a nice bump. I felt immediately better having done one of the few things in my control in this situation.
Second, and most importantly, I made it the top priority to focus on bettering myself from within. Holistically. Purposefully. I made a life plan. Contentment was my new goal. I began minimizing my possessions and emotional clutter. I got to work. Relentlessly.
Almost a year later, I felt like en entirely new person. The transformation was gradual but evident not just to me but to those around me.
This month, I hit 3 big milestones:
- Despite a mediocre review, I got an unexpected raise and the largest bonus I have ever received! Total comp is now around $190k plus 401k match and fantastic benefits.
- This is the first time that 100% of my bonus will go to our ‘buying our freedom’ fund!
- We crossed $600k in liquid assets (excluding 529s)!
The biggest win
My boss sounded nervous delivering my bonus information, especially after the review (worse I have ever had). He offered that my colleagues were disappointed with their comp, so he was not sure how I was going to react (he is new to this group). I knew some colleagues still make more than me, so…
How did I genuinely feel?
I paused. I took time to let this sink in. I smiled.
I had made it.
I had once again become that grateful human, experiencing the contentment of not wanting more…..
How about you? What milestones are you celebrating.