We often realize a little too late that money isn’t everything. At a young age, we buy that luxurious car or the house larger than we require by means of a loan and spend almost half of our career repaying the debt.
This is somewhat alright if we actually enjoyed our work. What if we don’t like our work anymore or found a new interest that we want to pursue or maybe wanted to take up higher studies in the same field? Then, we’d be forced to continue with the job because we had debts to pay off for things that didn’t matter a few years back.
Here is the thing. Even if you do love your job, do you want a debt to hold you back and stop you from exploring other opportunities? Once you have a loan to pay off, you wouldn’t imagine joining that startup to sharpen your skills, you wouldn’t risk becoming an entrepreneur even if you have the best ideas that could revolutionize the world, you couldn’t take a sabbatical to step back and reflect on your life, you can’t take that Europe trip because EMIs take a toll on your bank balance, so on and so forth.
After a few months of giving your salary to the bank as EMIs, you ponder whether that car or house was really worth it. Jobs always have ups and downs, but the downs start to feel worse, now that you don’t have the option to quit.
How do we avoid all this? By being content with what we have and spending only the money that we have. This is the first ingredient to a happy career. Of course, in some cases, buying a house seems a better choice than renting one. As for cars, do we really need that SUV? Would a smaller basic model suffice?
Think about what you really need instead of what would be cool to own or what you are expected to own for your status. If you have surplus money, you could save it up, invest in a better way or donate to a cause. Think of getting a loan as spending your future earnings.
The second and most important ingredient is passion. Many people merely want to work for their salary. Some don’t even do justice to their paycheck, but let us not talk about them. Your office is the place where you spend most of your awake time. Is it alright to do a job that doesn’t interest you because it pays a decent salary? I don’t think so.
I am a programmer, not because of the pay, but because I wanted to code since I was 10 years old. If money were no issue, I’d still be a programmer, but I’d probably do it part-time or freelance because I want to have more reading time.
A problem with our society is that we value logical streams like engineering more than the creative streams like arts. We discourage kids from pursuing their passion for arts and push them into taking up the course with scope, where the scope is defined by earning potential. They then grow up to become dissatisfied adults working in a place that drains them and doesn’t do justice to their potential.
Why are arts colleges looked down upon? Because there is less job stability and no promise of a constant flow of high income. What people overlook is that if you take up something that you love, learn about it, plan your way and work hard, no matter what it is that you chose to do, you will do well.
It will take a longer time, it will be hard, many people will demotivate you, you might not even make it big, but you will have the luxury of doing what you love and you will be happy with your work. Isn’t that what’s important?
Note that I’m not asking you to quit your current high paying job immediately and do something you always wanted to do. Many of us have commitments and/or we want to sacrifice for our loved ones and endure working at the place we dread. My father is one such person who sacrificed to give me a good education.
I’m just asking people like me who don’t have much commitment to pursue their passion. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt for people like my father to live their lives for themselves once their goals are achieved. They certainly deserve that.
What do you do for a living? If money meant nothing, what profession would you choose? Would you continue your current job or quit to do what you really love? If you are a student, are you pursuing a degree you are actually interested in? Once a while, take a minute to think about it.