Many of us who are working as an employee already know the term “Rat Race”. Its synonymous to saying as working day by day by day and feels like you are not getting enough from it, such that you feel like dragging yourself out of bed every day, trying to get that paycheck every end of the month and repeating the same cycle over the years.
Sounds like a boring life, right? Where is our Freedom to do what we want? But then again, is it really that bad that we try to condemn every day trying to say to ourselves that its like living, without living the real life?
So, what is Rat Race?
I’ve come to see this video in you tube where it exactly defines what a rat race is. The rat race term originally started in the 1930’s (so yeah we have history) to describe a boring or exhausting life coming from being employed in a company and then getting exhausted of being on a a repetitive activity over the years to come to get what we all want, the financial freedom. Not knowing that while we try to achieve that freedom, we always have wanted, that we keep repeating the cycle of working, spending on leisure and wants, and doing it back again.
It feels like being stuck in your current job area and you start to question yourself where it feels like you have studied for how many years of your life from primary, secondary and college school just to do things in cycles. Our parents thought as to do so, most of us. I thought we learned enough knowledge for all those years, being a Doctor, a lawyer, nurse, educator, engineer or architect so as to earn money so later on we could achieve enough cash that we won’t have to work for the rest of our lives.
Whether we are earning just enough salary to buy our basic needs or we have higher salaries but keep on spending more. Or we tend to say that we need that job to pay for our house or car mortgage but come to work without motivation.
For sure, I myself as a younger person then (was thinking the same thing as well) tend to not mind this so-called Rat race maybe because back then we have healthier hormones to counter fatigues or exhaustion brought by doing the same thing every day, there will be sometimes rather than sooner that they will encounter the same question when everyone else gets a bit older.
Or when you become older that you have grown comfort on your current position, because it gives higher salary which is just enough to sustain your current lifestyle of having to pay for a beautiful house and car but still feels the same emotion of stress over your job assignments.
99% of us Workers are in a RAT race
When I started working in the Philippines for a technology company, Nidec Philippines (for those following me in my FB page should know my previous works are) I finally thought I reap all the things I invested during college, all those times staying late nights to pass exams can finally be translated to salary as an income, and so I can start my dream of buying my own house already, and so I thought to myself.
Fast forward and 3 other jobs, with a meager 30k pesos salary, I did manage to save some money to buy my first initial asset (a very small farmland in my province) investment but still could not afford to get a my “dream house” mortgage. In a sense if your net is above 20k in Philippines you can already afford to do it but I was more of thinking on what the uncertain future can bring so I hesitated on this “dream” for a while. What if I lost my job, where will I get the money, I would pay for it monthly (example if your mortgage is for 20 years)
That is when I started to think of applying abroad (and became an OFW in Malaysia) for a higher salary so finally, I can achieve that “dream” of having a house and contemplated more to add up on the list is my financial freedom sources. Past 10 years now and I got that house (still paying though) and some investments for myself, but it feels like I need to do more to be able to achieve that ultimate goal of financial freedom to do what we want to do. This is when the stress on me starts to build up especially when I try to achieve more because we know we have limitations from our salary.
We have different stories to tell on our Rat race journey.
From my story we can surmise some of the common thing’s majority of workers are experiencing during the Rat race periods on our jobs.
1. Younger people tend to not mind the overall work cycle sentiment as we have still the strong desire to meet our goals, in the side if you are thrift enough you can start doing investments, but of course since we are still starting out, we could not expect big returns
2. Once you gain experience on your job, you get self confidence and start to dream bigger, better life aspirations, this is when the pressure of wanting to get more starts to build up, if the job income could not keep up with what we want in life, Rat race mentality hits us hard
3. You start to question yourself whether you are doing enough because as of this time, I am literally dragging myself to work already but could not jump out of it because I still do not have enough income.
Where’s the value of the RAT RACE?
If you try to look harder and see the brighter side of the rat race cycle we are encountering (on each of the 3 phases I encountered), I think we can agree that our so-called jobs or rate race job, provided us with modest incomes to be able to overcome the years where we need financial assistance. From the time we finished our studies to the current level where we are now, Rat race job is our foundation.
I could have not bought that small parcel of land in the province without my first 3 jobs savings. Or I could not have dreamed of going abroad for higher salary which gave me the confidence to start investments and buy my dream house (still paying though as I mention, I have to emphasize this to let you know that I have not achieved yet my financial freedom goal, but working hard on it)
So, Rat race is not bad at all. Going with the flow where majority of people stayed on the “safe course” have made us able to survive hard times, be it the financial crises or the pandemic period.
Why is Rat RACE dreaded and Most Working people agree on this mindset?
It comes from the mindset in our psychology of being not able to do or achieve anything other than what we currently have. We are not content with what we have and so we try to blame ourselves of doing the same things over and over and realizing that, yes in the end, we still end up as an employee for the rest of our working lives.
When we reach our retirement age, we will look back and say that I was not able to do other things I wished I have done because I was trapped in the rat race.
What can we do to get out if not put your one leg out of the Rat RACE?
So as not to end up trapped in the Rat Race cycle, we can do several things to at least mitigate the risk of later on not having a job or not being able to do what we want, we should at least try to move one of our legs from the Rat race
There are many ways we can do this. So, we know that the reason we are inside the race is because we need financial income, we can start doing side hustles or side income so that later on we can be financial independent so you can do what you want later.
Now again, being financial independent can mean different things base on perspective, to start being financial independent, is not doing anything for the rest of our lives and not to worry where the money will come from. Of course, we still need to work but for this case, we will work on what we would like to do. Remember that rat race mindset came about because we keep doing the same things over and over again. So, you can start doing different side hustles to find where your interest lies now.
Spend small time every day to think and try where your feelings belong to but at the same time where we could be profitable. Sure, there will be something for you as for my experience I tried you tube because I saw people flaunting earnings every now and then, I thought to myself sure I will earn someday as well, and yes it did!
What Side hustles we can do?
1. You can try to provide social media services to one or two clients
2. Do a website blog if you like sharing what you know online about a specific niche topic
3. If your current job is IT related you can share it to other people, you can charge and use platforms like Patreon for paid courses
4. Fiverr provides freelance activities while getting paid
5. If you have great imaginative mind, you can write e-book and later sell it for a profit
The list can go on if you just try to look further and deeper inside you. Bottomline is find the things that you like doing so it would not feel like a job and trap you in another RAT RACE cycle.