If You’re Working For a Paycheck, You Might Be Doing It Wrong

Money is a wonderful thing. With it you can make a lot of things happen, most of your dreams come true, and while it may not buy happiness it can easily argued that if you have enough of it it can definitely make your live far less stressful. A lot of people would argue you could never have enough of it. Then there is also the other side of the coin – those who say it bring mo’ problems (Thanks Puff Daddy) and those who say that it can never buy happiness or replace the things at life. I’d have to say that both sides are right depending how you look at, but maybe both sides are looking at it from opposite ends looking at the other side.

This year, I decided to leave a company that offered me my first professional shot. They took a chance on me out of college and they taught me a lot. They gave me a lot of opportunities with both my career and education. I can’t ever say enough good things about the company or the people that I worked with.  Few people are as fortunate as I was out of the gate and some people are still just trying to get out of the gate. But I left for an odd reason, and it certainly wasn’t money. See, I had started to work remotely because I am getting married and it was the best decision for our future to not be 200+ miles apart. At first I was really excited about the idea of working from home. It was a more comfortable environment then the rows cubicle in the office. When I would tell people about what I did, they would make comments like, “You’re living the dream” or “You’re so incredibly lucky” and it was really difficult to argue with that. Everyone thinks they want to work from home, and for some people it actually works out really well, but I am not one of those people and arguably most people aren’t. Not leaving the same 1000 square foot apartment sometimes for days at a time became maddening, but there was something so much more important that I lost. I lost my love to work and to work hard.

Our society today tells us that a job, even a career, is to make money to buy all they pretty things we can possibly. We work jobs we hate and work insane hours, and we work hard, usually not because we want to but because we need the money and we want that new iPhone. In the era of overnight millionaires, billionaire celebrities and athletes who seemingly “don’t work that hard”, we seem to think that the goal in life to work as little as possible and make more money than our minds can keep track of. It’s not really our fault, it’s a culture thing and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Hell, if you turn on Fox News (Warning: Not Recommended) you would think 47% of America is sitting on couches and doesn’t want to work and/or work hard because the handouts in this country are just so damn phenomenal. I will tell you everyone thinks sitting at home not working, making money, is the greatest thing in the world, but it isn’t.

This is the point – there is a part of every human, no matter how lazy they may pretend to be, who receives satisfaction from working. Sociologists and psychologists have shown that we are engineered to work, produce for ourselves and society, solve challenges, and that completing work tasks is fulfilling. This means that you should be getting more from your job then a thicker wallet. It means that when looking for a job, the challenge, (non-monetary) reward, and fulfillment are just as important as the paycheck itself. If you look at it right, the paycheck and and fulfillment work in tandem and not pitted against each other in a battle of importance. You will never love every aspect of your job, and it doesn’t always mean that loving your job means you will never work a day in your life, as the adage goes. You will work, but if you are working the right job, for the right reasons (i.e. not for just money), the work can be far more rewarding then just a check and you can still use your check to buy some pretty things. You might just find that you love to work and working can make you happier.

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