The (Half) Million Dollar Question

If you already had “enough” money to retire, would you work a full-time job for one more year if you could walk away with $500k from that year’s work?

As some of you pointed out, it’s obviously hard to know how you would answer a hypothetical question with so many possible variables and without really having “skin in the game.”  My initial reaction is why not try it?  If you hated it you could always quit.  But that’s not really participating in the discussion in the spirit in which the question was asked.


It’s clear that the price-point is different for different people.  A couple of you wouldn’t do it for $500k but would for a million.  I imagine others would do it for less than half a million.  A few of you are ready to start tomorrow. 

Money is relative, absolute numbers don’t usually work across the board for these kinds of discussions.  My guess is there is some price point where everyone would say yes, what if I said $10 million?  Because really the question boils down to how valuable your time is to you, how much money would you need in order to to commit to giving up that valuable resource, time, to an employer? 

And if you already had “enough,” what would you do with “more?”


As many of you mentioned, your time is more valuable to you than the money.  You have kids or other family members you want to spend time with.  You have travel dreams.  Or you prefer to spend your time volunteering for something you feel a calling toward.  It’s hard to imagine giving up that time for money when you might be giving up the opportunity to participate in that particular experience all together.

Happiness and the Vicious Cycle

I got an email from someone who said they would do it if it was something they were good at, “A year of failure isn’t worth any amount of money.”  A few would do it for the peace of mind that the extra monetary cushion would provide. 

In another email, Cindi’s comment hit home to me: “The problem is, it’s easy to say you’ll do it for only one year, but then when the year is up, it’s the same exact question again, and if you were willing once then you’re willing to do it again.  Meanwhile if it’s not what you wanted to be doing with your life, you’re life is slipping by.”

The truth is, I am a  Sucker for appreciation. I imagine if someone were offering me that kind of money, I would feel like they really wanted me and therefore really appreciated me.  I would likely be so flattered by the attention that I would probably do it.  But that doesn’t mean that I think that would be the right thing for me to do. 

I think I would regret it.  Because it probably isn’t what I’d want to be doing with my life and I would be letting life slip by, even if it was only just a year of it.

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