What’s important and earning a living

2011-09-26

in Economics, Psychology, Rants

Maybe the idea that you should seek a career doing what you really care about is flawed. Doing anything for money tends to involve many compromises and sacrifices of principle or aesthetics.

Perhaps it is wiser to earn your money in a field that you don’t really care about at all, so that you can be able to act freely in the areas that are really important to you.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

alena September 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

To earn money to live or to support your family requires compromises, but it is much more satisfying in the long run if you can work at something that is meaningful to you and to others. The “meaningful” definition can be very broad.

Ryan September 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

It has been my observation that lots of folks get stuck in careers that involve work that isn’t particularly meaningful. Often people go into these careers under the impression that they will be able to effect great societal and environmental change, while being paid for the privilege, then realize much later that this isn’t the case. For many, mortgages/children/debt/etc. keep them working at meaningless jobs, long after their initial idealism regarding said jobs’ potential has worn off.

It seems to me like reducing the amount of money one needs to be comfortable while increasing the amount of money earned per unit of time worked are the keys to having the time and resources necessary to pursue truly meaningful activities. Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but it seems to me like most of the things people do for money are just that, thing done for money, and not much else. Fortunately exceptions do exist, but they are few and far between, and are often not open to those truly desperate for lots of money.

alena September 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I was reading Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness,” and found this interesting paragraph in a story called, “Deep Holes.”
…”It seems ridiculous to me that a person should be expected to lock themselves into a suit of clothes of an engineer, or a doctor, or a geologist and then the skin grows over it, over the clothes, I mean, and that person can’t ever get them off. When we are given a chance to explore the whole world of inner and outer reality and to live in a way that takes in the spiritual and the physical and the whole range of the beautiful and the terrible available to mankind, that is pain as well as joy and turmoil.”

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