Money and Career Happiness

“I just want to have enough money so that I can do what I want.”  Tracy said.  “I don’t even need that much.”  Tracy had one of those jobs that have been satirized in movies such as Office Space.  She worked in a cubicle and wasn’t exactly sure how to explain her job to an outsider other than that she was involved in the accounts management process of her company.  So, Tracy spent time dreaming about winning the lottery.

“What would you do if you won the lottery?”  I asked.

“I don’t know.  After I travel and help my family, I would probably get involved in helping others.”

“So you wouldn’t sit around all day?” I continued.

“No. I would get bored and probably find my days meaningless – kind of like I do now!”

If we remove the feeling of having financial security, the day to day lives of those who do not have to work are not happier than those that have meaningful (happy) work.  Countless studies illustrate that the “flow” state is our optimal way of being and that this state comes from engaging activities that keep us fully engaged.

“What if you were doing work that you find meaningful?”

Tracy started to see the light.  “I guess I would be happy… oh… I don’t need to win the lottery…”

We go to work in crafting her plan to enter a helping profession.