The Working Class
20 November 2018
I’ve been reading Steven King’s book titled On Writing. It contains many memorable moments, such as the paycheck he received for his first novel which lifted him from poverty. But there was something else that really stood out. It occurred when he was reflecting on the time when he was first legally able to drink. On a trip to New York he found himself in a bar and was amused by some of the signs posted around the room, most intended as jokes. One struck me as so profound that I reread it several times: Working is the curse of the drinking class
What immediately comes to mind is the ease with which the words working and drinking can be switched without any loss of meaning. The drudgery of work can leave one feeling lost and pining for an escape, looking to the end of the day or week when it becomes socially acceptable to start consuming alcohol. Not for the delicate aromas of a finely crafted red wine, or the lingering finish of a single malt whisky, but for its numbing effect; the drug. Were it not for the work we may feel no need to drink. But those who fritter away their earnings on alcohol become trapped in the cycle. This is truly a classless problem. While it is easy to look down upon the old man staggering home from the pub, replace the word drink with fashion, travelling, technology, luxury cars or simply consuming and the drinking class becomes the modern class.
One of the key pillars of the compounding time philosophy is the notion that how you spend your money directly influences how you can spend your time in future. It is natural to seek out the pleasurable, to compensate us for getting through another work week. But when that pleasure is the result of consumption, we risk needing ever greater doses to get the same feeling. By slowly diverting our money away from temptations, and towards reducing debt and building savings, we can find ourselves free to work less. And with less work, the need to escape is not so strong: we create a cycle of our own, a positive one, as we strive to become the non-working class.