by Chris McGinty
A few years ago, I downloaded an app called “What if…” by Creative Endeavor AB. I wouldn’t rank it as incredibly high on the list of all-time greatest apps, but damn it I enjoy it. The basic idea behind the app is that it asks you a two part question, and you choose whether or not you would accept the circumstance by clicking Yes or No. The app then tells you how others answered with a percentage of Yes or No clicks. Google Play link.
To me the fun of this app is examining the question and seeing how philosophical you can get about it. This is sometimes more difficult than you might think. You see, the questions are user submitted. Sometimes you go a few questions before you get a question worth answering. In fact, in a couple of cases I was unable to even figure out what the question was trying to ask. This might sound like a complaint, but not really. A couple of head scratchers in a bad way are outweighed by many head scratchers in a good way. It’s a light app that I simply find amusing. It has a Mature 17+ rating just because the submissions range a lot of subjects.
I recently downloaded the app again, because in recent times I’ve been looking for a variety of things to write about for the blog and other projects. This app can easily be used for writing prompts by simply using the first question that comes up or picking the first question that you feel you’d like to write about. A word count is optional, but I’m also attempting to write shorter blog posts from time to time, so I might not impose a word limit. By the way, this isn’t a shorter blog post… well, maybe for me.
I thought I would tell a story about hanging out with Nathan one day after randomly putting a lot of crap from his house out in his front yard. It was a yard sale. Otherwise, such behaviour might be a bit strange.
What if… you had a yard sale -but- you had to actually sell your yard?
When the early morning crowds started to die down, I opened “What if…” and we started discussing some of the questions. Among some interesting questions, some lame questions, some shrugs disguised as questions, and a few that made no sense at all, the following question (which I’m paraphrasing) made for a very interesting discussion:
you could work your dream job
you could never make more than $20,000 a year.
The phrasing was the interesting part of the question. It suggested that you couldn’t even take on a part time job to make more than $20,000 (already close to the US poverty line) and that if inflation made $20,000 a year even less livable, you’d still be stuck there if you wanted to keep your dream job.
For Nathan, this was a complete no go. He makes significantly more than $20,000, and he couldn’t see cutting the lifestyle of his family to work a dream job. He said, “I like my current job well enough.”
I only make about $24,000 a year, so I had a different take on the income limitation. I realized that it would put me in a position of having roommates or living with a significant other for the rest of my life, but it was only $4,000 less a year to work a job that I love. Sign me up. I’d risk inflation causing $20,000 to be worth closer to $5,000 ten
years from now to not hate going to work.
For being a somewhat silly app, we were put in a position to consider some interesting points about priorities. For Nathan, the priority was his home life. For me, it was my career. Maybe it’s simply that I’ve spent so much of my life at work that I feel that my life would be more rewarding if my work was more rewarding.
I think on some level that both Nathan and I have pursued building a business from the perspective of replacing our income, but I think that our reasons may be different. It’s possible that Nathan would simply want more time at home. I think I would want to work more, because even if the dream job wasn’t making me much money, it would keep me fed and sheltered. Everything else would be expendable to spend my days working in
I’m not saying that every question in the app will cause such deep conversations. You’ll find yourself discussing farting soon enough. This might even be the most interesting question in the whole bunch, but it actually has shaped some aspects of my life in the time since that discussion. It made me realize that soon enough I’ll be willing to live on less money for a while in order to do work that I enjoy. And the nice thing is that in real life, I can actually make more than $20,000 a year.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who wonders about the people who want more from society for working less. Would they actually be happy? Or would they just want more and more for working less and less if they got their wish?