• Tom

Drug Dealers and Payroll Clerks

Updated: Jan 31

“The three most dangerous addictions are heroine, carbs and a monthly salary.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb, an author of multiple books, is a very deep thinker. His latest, Skin in The Game is a study of risk and reward, disincentives, and the preponderance these days of people who give advice but don’t have skin in the game. These days people are less likely to listen to other people if they don’t have a proven track record than they have been in the past according to Taleb. I didn’t actually read the book. I was, however, really intrigued by the quote above.

Firstly, I want to be clear that I have not achieved the success that I am looking for. I am not yet reaping the fruits of my efforts to craft a new life. I have just begun the journey and I would like to take others along for the ride in hopes of motivating them to do the same. I will try to bring you people who have had great success through various means… book suggestions, references to podcasts etc. I hope to even do my own podcast in the future. For now though, take my advice on anything with a grain of salt. That said, I couldn’t agree more with the last item in the quote. Drug addiction and diet advice are not the purview of this site. Having the courage to ditch the monthly salary is.

Actually, I don’t recommend leaving a good, regular job to pursue a wild dream. One should use common sense and maybe work a side hustle for a while and build that into a viable business or maybe get your portfolio to a position where it can sustain you while you make a change. I have been building an equipment rental business while working in the film industry. I now have trucks and trailers that I rent to shows for moving their gear around. I was in a position to make those purchases while working these shows as a crew member. Now I have mostly quit gaffing, with a few exceptions, but I can keep those trailers working for some good mailbox money. I realize that some may not think they are in a position to start a side hustle but think hard, Is there an opportunity in your current job? If not, is there something that you are passionate about that you could work on in the evenings? If you are retired or money is not a stumbling block this becomes much easier. Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck is fond of saying “work your 9 to 5 then come home and work your 5 to 9”. It takes work, effort, really grinding it out but it is well worth it. Gary V’s journey has been amazing and I would highly recommend that you look him up. He is very easy to find.

Passion, talent, brains, an entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity, personality, a good product or service…. these type of attributes are critical to success but even if you have them in spades you will ultimately need to be willing to give up the regular salary. I have never done heroine but I have certainly consumed my share of alcohol in my life time. I just quit recently and I can attest to how hard it is to stop, even if I wasn’t “addicted”. I tried many times over the years but always came back to it. The regular salary is the same. I have basically been a freelancer for the last thirty years so I have become used to not having a weekly or monthly paycheck so it wasn’t quite as hard for me. I feel for those who feel stuck in that grind. Try to get yourself to a point where you can do without the paycheck. Make up for a lack of income by finding other income streams. Maybe you need to simplify and/or live on a tighter budget.

One thing I know for sure is the sweetness of working for one’s self. Being able to use your god given talents and creativity to pursue your dreams. Of course I always say, success can mean many things other than financial. To you it might mean having the courage to go back to school for the degree you never got. Maybe you want to learn how to water ski or, like me, learn photography or some other hobby.

If you haven’t figured it out yet I like quotes and one of my favorite is from The Shawshank Redemption when Andy tells Red that “It comes down to one thing,  get busy living or get busy dying”. I don’t know about you but I sure as hell aint ready to kick it just yet. That leaves just one option!


About Us

Our lives crossed when we were 55 years old. We have similar backgrounds: both growing up in a family of five children and both being divorced for the past 15 years raising kids on our own. 



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