Should we pursue careers for the monetary benefits or simply, the love that comes with it? I find this question absolutely simple to answer – I will always pursue a life goal of choosing a career because I want it, instead of pursuing one that simply provides monetary benefits.
In my experiences at UCSD, I encountered way too many people only pursuing specific careers because of parental pressure or because of the monetary “end of the road” they see as important.
And yes, it is important. To have the money to provide for your family. To have the money to always have food on the table. To have the money necessary to live a lifestyle in which you choose. In a society where money controls the flux and flows of everyday consumption, it’s important to always have that economic independence.
And yet, we kid ourselves in thinking that money is the root of all happiness. In a world where you are likely to have to work 8 hours a day in order to provide for your family, it’s better in the long run to have that job be something enriching, something positive, and something you enjoy. If you’re going to be stuck in a job your entire life that you HATE, you are only going to enjoy your life outside of the job – in spending the money that caused you that unhappiness in the first place. In a job that pays very little but has deep emotional value, you will enjoy every second of it. The stresses that come out of the job are much less likely to have a direct impact on your personal relations. People who hate their jobs tend to come home and take it out on their significant others, their families, and their loved ones.
There is, I must admit a correlation between money and happiness. And yet, I don’t necessarily think it’s as “direct” as people think it to be. Having the minimum amount of money possible, you can both be happy without having to live luxuriously. In a society where there are starving kids in Africa and people dying in the Middle East everyday due to perpetual war, it’s best to recognize our standard of living is much higher than the rest of the world. And yet, the constant pursuit for a job that pays well remains, despite it being appropriate for happiness or not.
Obviously, one would like to enjoy the best of both worlds: a high-paying job as well as one that provides one happiness. In the end, “high-paying” remains largely debatable in terms of how much people need for personal happiness. Coming out of the poor side with parents that make roughly 10k a year, I’m glad to say that it wouldn’t take much monetarily to provide me permanent happiness: anywhere between 30k or above should do in this day and age for myself personally. In the end, LOVE of others, and LOVE of what I’m doing remains highly ranked on my list as primarily aspirations in life.
What say you?