As a bankruptcy lawyer, I see people every day who are working hard every day, just to earn money to pay the bills, and to keep their lives afloat. Today, I’m taking a step back to talk about why we work, instead of banging on the drum all day!
Kids are asked all the time, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” As a child, or even as a teen or young adult, you choose a career more based on your interests, what motivates you, than the money involved. Kids are told that if they work hard enough, they can “do whatever they want”. After all, that’s the American dream, right?
Then, as the children get older, little by little, they realize that they can’t do whatever they want. The little boy playing baseball, at about age 10, realizes that he cannot be a major league baseball player for his favorite team, or a pro football player. He realizes that he just doesn’t have the same skills that a gifted player has. And, the child might realize that only a few, select kids will make it beyond little league.
The same goes for other “real” jobs. Each job requires education, training, and experience. And adults realize that they cannot “do whatever they want”. But if you can’t do whatever you want, what motivates people to work? People generally think that they work to earn money, to pay the mortgage and car payment, and to put a roof over their head, and their family’s heads, and hopefully have some left over to have some fun, take a vacation, or just to go to the movies. Yes, that is a reason to work, but if that were the only reason to work, we would all be leading pretty depressing lives. Would you work in a job you hate to go to each day only for the money? Probably not. Yes, the money is important, but it’s not the only reason we work.
Here are 5 reasons that we work, beyond the money:
- For the sense of purpose in life. We want to be able to make a difference, to be able to accomplish something each day. Yes, it’s hard some days to get out of bed, and go to work, but if you didn’t have a goal, something to do, you’d be pretty depressed.
- For social reasons. Yes, we don’t just work at our job; we share stories with co-workers, chit-chat about our families, and commiserate about whatever annoys us at work- the boring things, the hard things, the annoying things, and, yes, our boss.
- For the challenge. We want to challenge ourselves. Life would be so much easier if every day we did the same thing, and didn’t learn anything new. But, it would be very boring. Mentally, intellectually, we need new challenges, and new experiences.
- To help others. No matter what you do for work, you are, directly or indirectly, helping others. The custodian helps in the school so that the students and teachers aren’t walking in dirty buildings every day, and getting sick from it. The accountant helps others get their taxes filed, and hopefully saving them some money, and helping them plan for the future.
- So we can enjoy our free time. Yes, that’s a reason. If you don’t work, you don’t have anything to rest from. We are busy each work day, getting things done, so that we can go home and rest and relax. We want to enjoy our time with our friends and family. But, if we aren’t working, we don’t have anything to look forward to. Even if it’s that new episode of “Dancing with the Stars”, or the next football game to watch, we look forward to the entertainment, or just resting, from all of that hard work.
So, try to step back and think about why you work. It will help you appreciate the fact you have a job, and someplace to go to make a difference each day.
Daniel J. Winter
We give you “Peace of Mind”
Offices in Chicago, Gurnee, Oak Lawn, and Skokie, Illinois