I believe the following things:
1. Time is worth more than money.
2. Money does buy happiness, but happiness is cheaper than you think.
You know what I really want? I really want to ride across America. I don't need a million dollars to do that. I need $7,000 at the most, and that's doing it the expensive way with a tour group and hotel rooms. I do need a month's worth of time, though.
Any frugal person willing to make sacrifices can save $7,000 in a year (trust me, I've done it earning less than $20,000/year), but how many people can get a month off of work and still keep their jobs? Not me, and I'm not willing to wait 20 years to earn the seniority to be able to do so.
I get bored holding a job anyway, so the easy solution for me is to blow off the traditional career track. Instead of working 30 years for retirement (when you may not get the benefits you worked for anyway) I would rather work for a while, save up some money, go on a mini-retirement (while stashing away money in an IRA in case I ever get too old to work), then work for another while towards my next goal.
Here's the problem: I went to school with the traditional career track in mind. I need to figure out the best way to make decent money, yet not be tied down to years and years of work. So far I've come up with 2 ways to do this.
1. Screw making as much money as possible. Work seasonal jobs in fun places (ski resorts, parks, etc.). This sounds nice, but the money isn't all that great. My mini-retirements might have to be shorter than ideal.
2. Work the highest-paying, most miserable job for a year or so at a time. This would give me a longer mini-retirement, but I'm not really sure where to start.
Which strategy do you guys think makes the most sense? If you favor the 2nd strategy, what are some jobs you have in mind? I have a degree, but I'm not really qualified for much. I would be open to getting some sort of training/certification under the right circumstances. Just remember that I wouldn't want working for only 1 year at a time to be a huge red flag when searching for my next job.