Why We'd Be Better Off if Monopoly Was Real

If you’re a recent grad, I’m sure you can appreciate my serious love/hate relationship with money. I love money when it’s getting me a new pair of nude high heels, an interesting magazine, a car payment, a much-needed iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, or a lunch with a great friend. On the other hand, I feel a fiery burning hatred towards money for many other reasons.

If money did not exist, if “bill” and “credit card payment” and “loans” were terms that didn’t mean anything, if you could just walk into the grocery store and grab what you wanted, then I would live differently. I would travel every weekend and get to see people I miss. I wouldn’t obsessively check my bank account. And my day-to-day schedule would be different. Instead of

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e-mailing people who sit next to me, I would work for myself doing different types of freelance writing and blogging. If I wanted to get up late and work until 1 a.m. then I’d do that. If I wanted to work for ten hours straight and then stop I’d do that. If I wanted to work in three-hour intervals with breaks in between, then that’s what would happen. I wouldn’t feel guilty sneaking away to grab a coffee. It’s my time. As long as my work gets done then that’s what matters.

I’d work on projects that mattered to me, I’d work where I wanted to work, and I’d work how I wanted to work. If money was free and not an issue I wouldn’t become one of those people who just dives around in piles of coins all day (a la Scrooge McDuck). I love writing and I enjoy doing this work. It’s my hobby. But I like doing it on my terms and the way I want to do it. A 9-5 office job doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t like flourescent lights. I can’t think properly when other people are laughing loudly on the phone or copiers are going crazy. I work wonderfully in the peace of the spare bedroom in my apartment. I like taking on projects that mean something to me. Not necessarily all “fun” work, just work that I can get behind. And, let’s be honest, if money wasn’t an issue then maybe I’d take an extra long vacation here or there. Or take one night off every now and then to watch Bethenny Ever After in my underwear.

I know that even in a real, non-Monopoly society the idea of working on your terms is possible. It’s called being a freelancer and/or an entrepreneur and it’s something I dream about doing every day. But it takes a while to get there and things like broken car parts and student loans and groceries (and other boring but necessary) items can slow the process down.

It can be really frustrating when you have skills, motivation, and passion but have no job or a frustrating job that wasn’t exactly what you dreamed about during Career Day in elementary school. Or if you have no money despite hours of hard work. Or if you have this awesome vision of what your future company/career/project is going to be and someone around you says, “Um…but what about ______? Yeah, that won’t work.”

Things I’ve realized: : 1.) Many people are in the same boat. They feel the same way you do. Contrary to popular belief not all of your Facebook friends are working for a Fortune 500 company with sweet perks. 2.) This is just a temporary place and you are able to change any situation with patience and dedication. 3.) You don’t need a million dollar idea or hundreds of thousands of dollars in start-up money to get a new career going. If you chip away at it little by little you can make things happen for yourself.  4.) Every
person who has ever done something great was at some point told “No” or laughed at or faced doubts (both internal and external).

I look at all the hundreds of start-ups and the dozens of people who have made careers out of seemingly nothing. People I admire like Chelsea Handler and Bethenny Frankel faced tons of failures and frustrations and doubters. They did pretty well for themselves. As I keep trying to build my freelance career, I’m getting really into reading about other people who work for themselves in different capacities. I like the idea of running your own business. I like the idea of freelancing. I like the idea of inventing a great product. I like reading about all of it.

Sites I love: I love Scrappy Face, Life Without Pants, Success for Solopreneurs, Life After College, Milk the Pigeon, and Pursuing Our Passion. These sites have great articles and advice for people who think outside the 9-5 box.

If you’re still feeling some doubts, there’s always this:

What does your dream career look like? Running your own business? Being a freelancer? Inventing something? Being a consultant of some kind? Or would you rather run a company that’s already well-established? No matter what you want to do, how are you working to get there?

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