The Trapped In Work Mission Statement
During my years in corporate America I came to realize that many people toiling in this world do not fully understand or appreciate the bargain that they have implicitly accepted. They have traded their personal freedom–literally, their LIBERTY–for stuff. And not for really good stuff–but for crap. The terms of this bargained-for-exchange, if fully disclosed, would be unacceptable to most. How many people would consciously choose to trade their freedom for a Range Rover–just so they can draw envious stares from complete strangers as they drive to and from their entrapment chamber every day? If you asked many of these working stiffs whether they intended to sacrifice their personal freedom for a deluxe cable tv package, a BMW, and a cleaning service, they would emphatically declare “no!”. But that is what they have done, and continue to do every day. In contract law, this would be labeled an “unconscionable contract”–an agreement with terms so offensive, so one-sided, so unfair, that a court would refuse to enforce it in order to protect the incompetent individual that was clearly duped into accepted its terms.
Why do so many ostensibly intelligent people accept this unholy bargain? I think they don’t understand that they do have an alternative. You have to be incredibly forward thinking to understand that real wealth can be built in $10 chunks, and most of us have trouble thinking critically 15 days into the future, let alone 15 years. Because the folks in this category do not see the long-term path forward, they spend because that’s what money is for, right? And they don’t know that they are spending their way into entrapment by buying stuff rather than making installment payments to buy freedom. They presume that in the long run it makes no difference.
A point of clarification is needed here. My thoughts are not directed toward the very small group of people who love their work and make truckloads of money (a creature that occurs as frequently in nature as a unicorn). If you like what you do more than fly-fishing, and make so much money that you have fully funded your eventual (short) retirement and your kids’ college education, then proceed with confidence to buy a Range Rover. I harbor no ill will for the unicorns (they are good for the economy and my long-term equity investments after all). My experience, however, is that it is an exceedingly small group, and that many of the cohort driving around in new BMWs/Range Rovers/Teslas have put away very little towards retirement and/or college education, and few would claim to enjoy how they spend their days.
My mission here at Trapped In Work is to add to the growing chorus of individuals proving that there is an alternative path to indentured servitude, and to add some value to the how-to manual. Whether the goal is complete financial independence at an early age or, like us, to buy the freedom to pursue a transition to a passion, the approach is the same. Work hard. Earn lots. Buy freedom. Not stuff.