Monday, January 28

money vs. happiness

photo courtesy of daily dishonesty

We've all heard the phrase, "money doesn't buy happiness," and while I'll fully support that statement, it's a variation of that phrase that I find myself thinking about a lot. Recently, I had lunch with a wonderful friend and we discussed this transitional phase that many of us twenty-somethings are in.

Since I'm funemployed (I seriously wonder where that term came from... I don't think there's anything fun about not having a job), I've had lots of time to think and in the midst of applying to dozens of jobs per day, I often wonder what path I should chase.

I did the meaningless desk job and swore I'd never do it again. Doing a job you aren't passionate about just seemed like the worst thing in the world. I swore I'd write and write and write and become an editor. I promised myself I'd make that happen. But as reality kicks in, I'm realizing that my passion for writing might only ever be a passion. And that might be okay.

I'm not a money-driven person, but as I scour through pages and pages of job listings daily, I'm coming to find myself conflicted: do I settle for a job that I'm not fired up about and make a decent living for myself or do I struggle and struggle and get that dream job (or maybe never get the dream job), making hardly enough to live on... being stressed everyday about paying rent and other bills.

The answer may seem easy to some (and certainly the me a few months ago would have said, "Don't be a sell out! Follow your dreams!") I'm starting to think that maybe a job is just that: a job. If I can feel good about the work I'm doing and make a comfortable salary, I can afford to save some money. I can afford to travel, a passion equal to writing that I currently cannot fund. I can afford a membership at Bar Method. I can afford to live the life I want to live, even though the work might not be perfect.

I'm an idealist, to a fault, and this conflict seems to follow me around, finding me in many different forms. I have a serious dreamer side to my personality and though it might be a little unrealistic at times, it's one of my favorite things about myself. I believe that the true euphoria I feel and enthusiasm I have for so many things is rare. But is there a point where dreams and passions become just plain unrealistic? What do you think?


jackiek said...

i love this post and it's certainly a struggle right now for me. i'm in my second year of college, where it's time to declare a major and look for internships. there's so many things i'd love to do with my life that i have a passion for, but i know i'd never make enough money to support myself. my mom tells me time and time again to do what you love within reason. she was a fashion designer for many years, but never had her big break and therefore couldn't support herself with it anymore once she had kids and a family and expenses. i always wonder... people tell you to follow your dreams, but the people telling you this are often the ones who have had their lucky break and who can support themselves comfortably doing what they love.

Victoria | Haute said...

Agreed that money cannot buy happiness...but it is necessary to survive.

I definitely think you should follow your dreams!!! I don't think it's unrealistic. BUT, since you need to pay rent, finding something you enjoy doing while making that dream a reality is key!

Thriftary said...

Wow - This is so true. I get like this SO often. The constant struggle between not giving up on my passions, but needing to live while I figure it out as well :) I have been working a job that isn't my PASSION but doesnt make me hate my life, for about 3 years. It has helped me get my graphic/web design business off the ground,and I count that as a huge blessing that not everyone gets the priveledge of. Hang in there, and you will figure out the right path to take to get to where you want to go!

Charlene Zale said...

I agree with this post. I also don't believe money itself can buy happiness, however painting, writing, photography & traveling makes sme happy. I need $$ for paints, pens, lens & plane tickets.

I say you follow your passions & dreams. That's what I'm doing. I'm an aspiring novelist & teacher. I know I can do it & I know you can make your dreams happen too!

You don't want to be an old lady in her rokcing chair think of all the what ifs or could've beens. No fun.

XO Charlene Zale

Charlene Zale said...

I agree with this post. I also don't believe money itself can buy happiness, however painting, writing, photography & traveling makes me happy. I need $$ for paints, pens, lens & plane tickets.

I say you follow your passions & dreams. That's what I'm doing. I'm an aspiring novelist & teacher. I know I can do it & I know you can make your dreams happen too!

You don't want to be an old lady in her rocking chair think of all the what ifs or could've beens that could've been your life. No fun.

XO Charlene Zale

call me debbie said...

I agree, I agree so much with you. Sometimes I find myself making plans that seem more like dreams that will never become reality. I am in my senior year in the university and the task "find the bestest job" seems so close to me. But I like be dreamy, it makes my reality a little bit sweeter. :)

Carlee, Almost Endearing said...

I think maybe at some point a job is just a job. It pays the bills and keeps you living. But I never want to have to settle for a job I am not passionate about. I hope you find a job soon and maybe if it is not exactly what you want keep looking.
Almost Endearing

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katie said...

i took a lot of jobs over the last couple of years that were 100% the opposite of what i wanted to be doing. even now, i'm working where i am to get somewhere further. i'm always trying to push forward. i never stopped applying for jobs, even when i was content. but i also have this weird sense that i'm never going to be happy in a job, even my "dream job" - because a job will always be a job.. which will always involve ridiculous things. it's kind of the hardest train of thought to follow, and i find myself getting stuck sometimes still, so i totally understand how it's even harder when you're unemployed. <3

Kyla said...

This post couldn't have come at a more relevant time for me! Currently, I pretty much have my "dream job" - except I'm getting paid a ridiculously low, insulting amount. I love the work that I'm doing, and I hate to say it - but I keep thinking about how much happier I'd be if I had some extra money. I'm currently looking for a new job because let's face it - your job is not your life - spending time with those you love is.

anomaliss said...

Allie!! Definitely something a lot of people our age struggle with. I'll say this - I worked my first year out of school at a job that was perfect on paper & in theory, but absolutely the worst experience of my life. I stress ate my way up like 200 pant sizes, hated every single day, & started alienating everyone around me. Truly a 'Revolutionary Road' type of existential crisis.. I really thought I was going to lose it but just couldn't afford to walk away from it & be unemployed. Thankfully, I struggled through, looked hard (for months, mind you) & found something that I thought would be a good temporary fix. Now I can honestly say "I love my job" and not be flat-out lying. Obviously it has its bad days, but I truly love coming to work. I found a company that had a better environment & better attitude about its employees. It has made all the difference. I definitely still don't make enough to do most of the things I want (hey, dream big, right?), but I'm putting in the hard work & the time now to hopefully stay on a career path to more financial security. You can have both, but you do have to be constantly looking until you find it!

Annie said...

Your timing is crazy, I'm currently in a job which I love but it pays pretty badly so iv started looking for something else which will pay more as my rent is going up in April! It massively sucks. Saying that though it's important not to give up on your dreams but your dreams shouldn't just be restricted to the job you do. if u can't find your dream job maybe try for something which is loosely related to it and keep your dreams and passions alive in your free time. Wishing you luck on the job hunt!

Nicole Marie said...

it's such a hard dilema and situation. On one had I lvoe teaching and it makes me happy and feel like I have a purpose... but living in San Francisco on a teachers salary is not easy especially when all your friends make tons more money than you... plus i sort of have a travel problem as well as a shopping problem.

Rachael said...

This is something I struggle with as well, because it's hard to want both money to live on, and doing what you really want to do in life.
The struggle for me is to find out what it is that I really want to do in life.
But for you, since you know what you want to do, well...gosh, it's hard. But you're right about what you said about how a job is just a job. Sometimes think about what I'm doing for a living, being a Nanny, and feeling not so great, compared to other people who are doing greater things. But a job isn't WHO you are, it's just what you do.
So I think if you need to have a job to pay the bills, do that! That's a big thing you need. But I strongly believe in following your passion. Perhaps you can find a way to do both. If you need to do a regular job during the day, even if you're not that excited about it, I think is fine, as long as you do what you love as well.
I hope you find a good balance with it, and if/when you do, let us know how you did it! :)

JellyBones said...

Oh my gosh I'm in this SAME boat! I quit my job recently and am now starting to freak out about money a bit. I think it's all about balance. You may not find that perfect dream job right away, but you can find one that allows you to work with friendly people and have your own life. That's my hope at my next job.
Great post!

Becky said...

Hello everyone who has reassured me that I'm not the only one who feels this way!

I too am a twenty-something with more dreams than money and no idea where to head in life post university! I have my long term dreams like we all do, but no idea how to get there without selling out or living at home with my parents for ever (I'm sure they would be as thrilled about that prospect as I am!).

I just wanted to say Thank you Allie for voicing those thoughts I'm often afraid of saying myself. So many of my friends are either doing what they've always wanted to and are seemingly over the moon, or are making a crazy amount of money doing something they don't seem fussed about either way.

I thought for a while it was selfish and greedy to envy all these people and wish for more money when lets face it at least a little is better than nothing, but it's so reassuring to know I'm not alone in these thoughts and that actually, they really aren't that bad!

Good luck everyone in trying to find that balance between happiness, paying the bills and work! But don't forget, life throws spanners in the works all the time and we are never too young to change tack, try something new or just go hey, I fancy doing something else! Personally I don't think its my time for that dream job just yet so in the mean time I shall be searching out free ways to have the most amazing fun in the world!

Best of luck everyone!

The Egg said...

stick to your guns. that's what i'm doing! i'm trying to be my own real estate agent and its tough work. side jobs/projects/freelance work is a great way to add extra cash to pay the bills. reach out to local mags, websites, etc. and show them you're blog! they'll pay you like $300 an article. easy peasy.
good luck!

xo the egg out west.

Evani Gatsby said...

Lol this has been a similar struggle to mine for the last 2 years. I still don't have an answer because I feel like somehow the grass is ALWAYS greener. Its about being content enough with what you have, that's the real challenge sometimes.