Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Our Real Assets
If you haven’t read, the book entitled “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is recommended reading, even if you are having a steady job and progressing in your career. A best-seller, it’s about more meaningful work, changing career and job-hunting. More so, it’s about exploring and discovering what you want out of life and who you are as a person. The book takes a relook in a different perspective at the question, “What type of work am I willing to do?”
What’s the significance of a book that talks about meaningful work?
Often, within the short time spent in a lift with office workers getting to their offices, the common conversation is about share price and stock market. All news channels in print or electronic, have something about share market performance. There’s no shortage of stock market news on the Internet. Company board meetings certainly touch on boosting share price.
Is the stock we own our most valuable asset?
An employee share option scheme left a number of a company’s employees in debt and their savings nowhere to be seen following the drop in share price that came in tandem with the recent financial crisis. The hope and expectation of making some money from exercising the ESOS turned tragic.
A Nobel Prize-winning economist, Gary Becker, said that in modern economy, up to 80% of a person’s economic output comes from human capital, against land, machinery and others. Many people are mesmerized by how rich they can be with the portfolios of stocks and properties they own, but do not see the crucial asset they have in their earning power. Our education and training are worth a lot. We can get value not just from shares, but from ourselves and the mechanism of getting the value is a job. Our salary is the dividend on our human wealth.
Those of us who’ve been affected by economic recessions and financial crisis or those of us who’ve lost our jobs may already relearn how to create wealth as we relook at our jobs differently. Especially so if that thing we do in the office every day is our sole financial lifeline. Those who have not been affected would not know the true value of what we have until it’s gone.
These days, a predictable salary seems more appealing than big bonuses and ESOS. Government jobs, one of the last bastions of security, is definitely getting even more appealing. A better option now is to use whatever money we have to take a class, instead of spending on shares, unit trusts or properties. Perhaps, soon we’ll find ourselves perusing a list of the best-paying, fastest-growing professions as we visualize ourselves as a network engineer or wellness therapist.