Friday Five | Employment Gratitude (Week 3 2018)

Each week I write the Friday Five Employment Gratitude. This exercise is the answer to how to be thankful for your job. I encourage all FIIntroverts to practice this gratitude with me in the comments.

Have you ever wondered how to be thankful for your job? I’ve been inspired by Tread Lightly Retire Early’s Friday’s Frugal Five blog series to create an exercise to answer that question. Each week, she writes about five frugal actions she took on her path to FIRE.

Each Friday I will do my own “Friday Five” about why I am grateful for my job. For me, financial independence (FI) is all about freedom of time, thought, and action. Until one is FI, work is mandatory.

However, there is a dichotomy in the pursuit of FI.

Employment, the obligation that I seek to make optional with FI, is actually what makes FI even possible. Without employment there is no FI.

Therefore, I must be grateful for the thing I wish to make obsolete.


I expect this gratitude for my employment will be easy in the beginning, harder as time goes on, and very difficult some weeks. The hard weeks will be the most useful to find gratitude in.

Join me in this exercise each week to answer the question of how to be thankful for your job.

My Friday Five Employment Gratitude

1. Financial Independence is Not Possible Without Employment

Well, I’ll cheat on the first one but it needs to be the premier gratitude on the list because it is fundamental to the mindset of enjoying your job while on the path to FI. I will not belabor it since it is laid out above, but I am grateful for my job because it allows me to pursue FI, Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE), or Financial Independence Optional Retirement (FIOR).

2. My Employment Gives Me the Opportunity to Help People

My job puts me in touch with people battling a specific disease. I am not on the front lines at our organization to touch patients nor do I have any clinical background. However, because of a program I am accountable for, sometimes people with the disease find their way to me. This week (and late last week so we’ll count it in this gratitude) I got to speak with people one-on-one and enroll them in a program that can potentially identify new treatment options.

And even more gratifying, I was able to connect them with another person who has gone through what they are about to go through. The connections made me feel good, the patients feel good, and the people who will now be mentoring them feel good. Nice compounding interest there.

3. My Job is Close to Where I Live

I should save some of these easy ones but…hey this will make me get to the hard exercise of really examining the week to find things to be grateful for earlier.

I am grateful to live within biking distance to work (though I don’t do it as often as I should).

There was a time I drove 25 miles each way to work on a highway full of crazed workers and parents trying to fight there way home in time to see Jimmy and Sally before they went to sleep.

I wish there were podcasts back them.

Living close to work, not having to come close to a highway, and having biking paths or side streets all the way to work is definitely something I am grateful for.

4. Meetings with Powerful People Can Be Part of My Job

For me, meeting with powerful people is not a weekly occurrence. This week, I got to spend a day with a CEO in a group of three (a Warren Buffett mini) and meet with two Senators in that same small group. The opportunity to be behind closed doors once in a while is special and I am grateful to have a job that puts me in that position.

5. I Get to Come Home to My Wife and Dog on Time

I’ll be honest. When I was in one of those meetings, I wasn’t feeling so grateful for my job or life for a few minutes. I wasn’t saying anything and I kind of felt useless.

I looked at the Senator and had the strange realization that we were about the same age (he is seven years older). Thoughts like, “What have I done with my life? How is he in that chair and I’m in this chair? Where did I go wrong that the gap between us is so big?” ran through my head.

I told an older colleague of mine about those thoughts and he wrote:

You get to go home to your dog and wife every night and can say what you think and not be skewered in the media.

Would you want to keep this guy waiting?

So true. And of course I have my own story to be proud of.

There was a time that working until 7 pm or later was the norm for me as I was struggling to make a transition into a new career.

My current position allows me to get home to my wife and dog at a decent hour as the norm rather than the exception. I feel grateful for the flexibility my boss allows and the hard work of my coworkers that makes getting home at a reasonable time possible.

For years, I felt like all I was doing was working, coming home and decompressing, and going back to work. I am glad to be out of that cycle.

Your Turn

You’ve seen above how to be thankful for your job. Now tell me what you are grateful for. Write a comment below or email me if it is something you don’t want to share publicly.

Have a great weekend!

9 comments Add yours
  1. Okay – I absolutely love your spin on the Friday Five. And I also had a “long” commute (35-40 minutes, which is nothing compared to some) and it was awful, though podcasts definitely would have made it better. Because I have coworkers who commute 1-2+ hours each way I’m reminded to be grateful for my 6 mile commute every week.

  2. good take on the five. Took a less desirable shift to work closer to home. meant more time with the family. At one point in my life overtime was deemed important, but I learned to live based on my 40 hr pay. Followed my pillars to FI. That extra pay became icing on the cake.

    1. Thank you for your comment Javier. As you point out, not inflating our lifestyle gives us flexibility (freedom). For you this meant more time with family, a common goal of FI.

  3. It is interesting to think that the one thing we’re trying desperately to run away from (our jobs) is the one thing that makes it all possible. Great article!

    And, thanks for the shout out. We’re totally on FIOR. 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading MMMM and the compliments. I appreciate you innovating in the FI community and coining the term “FIOR” – Financially Independent Optional Retirement. FIRE turns many people off for some reason – like they have to stop working if they reach FI. FIOR makes FI more accessible for some people.

  4. Sounds like you have got a dream job 🙂

    I’m grateful for my job bcz it pays well, it looks good on my resume, biggest and best employer in the industry…to name a few.

    1. Certainly doing this gratitude exercise helps put it in perspective. I feel fortunate (but also struggled and took risks to get here).

      I know you guys are killing it over there on your blog! Best of luck in the “Rumble”!

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