Take back some power, and do your mental health some good.
We’ve all had one of those days at work where you want to stand up, walk out, and never go back. It might be a frustrating colleague, a new policy or process, or a project from hell.
You let the fantasy play out in your head briefly. Saying what you really think, letting all those years of unsaid things finally be spoken. And when you have nothing left to say, you grab your things and go, leaving it all behind.
But then reality rears its ugly head. You have rent or a mortgage to pay. You need to eat. You might even have people who depend on you earning money. So you come back down to earth, take a deep breath, and accept that the fantasy will have to stay exactly that.
What if it didn’t have to be this way? This is the power of having F U money.
What Is It?
F U money is savings that you’ve set aside which would allow you to walk away from your job with no notice. The savings would need to be enough to cover at least a few months of expenses, to bridge the gap until you were able to find a new job.
The trick, however, is to not actually use it.
Then Why Have It?
The true power of having F U money comes from knowing the money is there, rather than using it. A bit like a spy with a cyanide pill (though hopefully with a happier ending).
You see, the frustration and despair felt in the scenario described above comes from two sources. The first is the situation itself — conflict at work, toxic cultures and bad management are enough to drive anyone crazy.
But the second is the powerlessness that comes from feeling like you have no say in the matter. Like it’s this or homelessness. As though you have no choice but to deal with it. And that can be disheartening — not feeling as though you have any control or say in your destiny.
Having F U money set aside can have a huge impact on your mental health and general wellbeing. It rebalances the power, even if it’s just in your mind. It reminds you that you aren’t bound to that environment or company and that you do have a choice.
And that can be enough. Knowing you could quit and survive can help take away half of the stress and anxiety and help you feel more in control of the situation.
There are also benefits beyond the ability to quit. Someone with F U money will feel more comfortable in setting boundaries, especially around work/life balance. Saying what they think is right, rather than what wants to be heard. Saying no. Knowing you can be true to yourself and look out for your best interest without fear of retribution. Not because the retribution won’t happen, but you know you’d be OK if it did.
Before You Proceed
A few important reminders when it comes to F U money.
The first is that this is different to your emergency fund, which you should definitely have in place before you even begin to save your F U money. Your emergency fund is for things that happen which are out of your control, and that’s not the case for F U money.
Channel your C-19 anxiety into your money.
This too shall pass, but until then it’s going to suck.
The second is that your F U money is a safety net. This is your parachute, but don’t try to crash the plane on purpose. Workplace stress and unhappiness are serious problems, and if you’re struggling at work and can’t seem to resolve it then your next step should be to try and seek employment elsewhere. A fresh start can do a world of good.
Finally, don’t burn your bridges. The power of F U money is that it helps you be the better person. You get to walk away from the situation without having to go down to their level. Saying what you really think might feel good, but a swift and graceful exit will have a much longer-lasting impact.
One day you’ll have no need for your F U money, and if you’ve managed not to use it you‘ll be able to spend it on something amazing. And on that day, you’ll be glad you never F’d yourself.