I remember when I quit my day job at the ripe, old age of 32, there were a few people in my life who were concerned about what a “gap” in my résumé would look like for an employer should I decide to reenter the workforce at a later date.
My personal concern over this was absolutely zero.
To me, it was akin to a prisoner being released from prison, only to then worry about any experience, advantages, and/or relationships they built up over the years of incarceration but would then be without if they were to later reenter the prison system.
I wasn’t worrying about a gap in the résumé.
I was too focused on becoming financially independent and striving toward my potential as a human being.
Now, I’ll be honest. I was a bit scared about what the future would mean without a day job’s paycheck to fall back on, but I was just as (or more) excited about what I could do if my resources were fully unleashed.
There was no failure. No going back.
And knowing this only propelled me forward.
Yet when I started to analyze other people’s fears over a move that wasn’t even theirs – they were concerned over the worst that could happen – I took a closer look at that which they were so focused on: the résumé.
You know what I noticed?
The word résumé (the summary of your education and job history) looks exactly like the word resume (begin to do something again after a pause).
That struck me like lightning.
The résumé is a physical manifestation of the resuming of that which holds one back from experiencing a truly free life.
Building a résumé is building a resume. It’s not building an end.
When people are so heavily focused on building a résumé, they’re simply building themselves a trap in which they’re going to resume doing the same undesirable things over and over again.
Having a good-looking résumé is only setting yourself up to resume doing what everyone else is doing.
You’re going to resume getting less sleep than you’d like, showing up to a job that you probably don’t totally enjoy, dealing with office politics, eating your lunch within a predetermined time frame, punching in and out, long commutes, and limiting yourself and your potential.
Why would I want to resume any of that?
Well, I didn’t. And I still don’t.
Instead of building a resume, I built an end.
That end was and still is financial independence.
The crazy thing is that it wasn’t that difficult, nor did it take that long.
I was below broke – worth less than zero dollars – near my 28th birthday. Yet I became financially independent at 33 years old.
The dividend growth stock portfolio that I spent that time frame building now generates the five-figure passive income I need to cover my basic expenses in life.
We’re talking less than six years here to go from (below) zero to hero.
I documented how that all unfolded in real-time throughout my journey, and I’ve recounted the steps here at the blog, as well as through the “blueprint” to early retirement that I wrote for Daily Trade Alert.
Short-term pain for long-term gain!
Moreover, the “pain” wasn’t really pain at all. There’s very little sacrifice involved in the kind of lifestyle that is required to become financially independent reasonably quickly.
Once you realize that money and happiness don’t correlate at a constant 1:1 ratio (more money doesn’t mean more happiness past a certain, low threshold), it’s easy to allocate more of one’s resources toward areas of life that produce better and more meaningful long-term results.
And I actually think the real “sacrifice” is spending most of one’s life at a job that doesn’t create a rich environment for personal happiness, fulfillment, and purpose.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I work. I still work. I work a lot, actually. But I don’t job. I’m not a jobber. There’s a massive difference between working and jobbing.
Financial independence confers significant benefits to oneself, yet the journey toward and achievement of financial freedom isn’t that complex.
More accurately, it’s simple but difficult.
It’s simple to understand the mechanics. Anyone can do the math and run a spreadsheet or two. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do this. (By the way, how many rocket scientists are actually financially independent? That’d be an interesting thing to look into.)
However, it’s difficult to actually execute the necessary steps day in and day out. It’s difficult to step off of the treadmill that everyone else is running. People want to fit in. They want to be accepted.
But if you think and act like everyone else, you’ll end up living like everyone else.
Again, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to look around you or read up on a few surveys/studies to find that most Americans are overworked, overstressed, and overweight. Most industrialized countries aren’t like this. And I can certainly say life isn’t like that here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
So if you want that typical life, live and act like everyone else.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a hard pass on that.
The thing is, though, you do have to participate in the game for a few years. The résumé is important while you still need it.
But it should all just be a means to an end. You shouldn’t spend too much time building a resume. You should be building an end, which leads to a new and exciting beginning.
Use your résumé to make the money necessary to have excess capital in the first place, because it’s that capital that will buy you your freedom.
I spent about eight years in the auto industry. And my résumé looked good while I needed it. But that which others were using to resume was being used by me to end… and then begin again.
And so as we begin a new year, think of this as an opportunity to begin the engineering of your end, which may very well lead to a beginning that could unlock a whole new you.
Don’t build a résumé. And don’t build a resume. Build an end.
What do you think? Would you rather build a résumé, which is simply a resume? Or would you rather build an end?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re more interested in building an end than a resume, I’ve put together a list of excellent resources that could prove invaluable toward achieving financial independence. Since financial independence is the ultimate end, and simultaneously the ultimate beginning, these resources are definitely worth checking out.