Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is It Our Job to Be Miserable?

A quick glance around my family and friends yields astonishingly few people who are happy with their jobs. 

It also seems that people are working harder to have less.  People pay $1,000 in child care per month so that they can make $1,200 at a job -- a net profit of $200 (not including the added expenses of gas and work clothes).  Is it worth it?  Wouldn't it be easier to trim that $200 from the budget and just have one of the parents stay home?

Or the people who work at retail or fast food jobs, and end up turning around and "reinvesting" their earnings immediately back into buying whatever it is they sell.

The people who never see their spouses or families because they're always working in a desperate attempt to provide for them.

Or the people who are accustomed (or even wedded) to the comforts afforded by the day job they hate, so they don't dare leave it to pursue the things they're truly passionate about. 

One of my core beliefs is that you should strive to live on a budget that allows you to do what you want with your life.  There's no point in working hard and earning money if you don't have the time to spend that money.  There's no point in buying yourself a lifestyle if you then can't actually live it.

And yet...isn't it a cultural "given" that you must pay your dues, work the shitty job, and be miserable?  Shouldn't you be grateful to even have a job at all?  

Isn't it a message that you're not allowed to opt out of the system?

There's a lot of bitterness in all that, and there's a lot of cultural baggage to unpack, and it gets more complicated the more I think about it.  After all, there will always be jobs that people don't want to do.  For someone to be on the top, someone has to be on the bottom, right? Not everyone can follow their dreams.  Or can they?

Where do you stand in all of this? 

1 comment:

  1. I think that most of us wake up to the (YMoYL) "Your Money or Your Life" moment a bit too late for it to do too much good, honestly. By the time I read "The Two Income Trap" by Elizabeth Warren, I'd already had a kid, and been struggling with the whole work to pay a sitter thing. By the time I read YMoYL I already had a mortgage on a place in that good neighborhood. I agree with the ideas, and try to do thing differently, but those big decisions were water under the bridge by the time I found what might have been the answer. There are a lot of people working jobs to pay for decisions they made in error long ago.