How career choices based on money and status anxiety make us live empty lives
As someone who reads a lot of economics, the questions around money have always haunted me. How a medium of exchange became the most important part of our lives. Yes, it always had a role to play, but money was never supposed to be master of our lives.
The problem is not really about money, it’s bigger than that. We want to live in abundance of money, we want loads of it, because we want to be admired, and we want to be loved and money seems to be the cure. We want money to run away from real questions, the inconvenient questions, we don’t want to face them. We want money to purchase more and more things, so that we can fill emptiness of our lives.
We have become such pathetic creatures that the only way we can feel good about ourselves is by making others feel bad and insecure about their lives, to make them jealous of our status, to be jealous of their status, and most of us spend our whole lives doing that.
I have made some nasty career choices. I always knew I belonged to social sciences or literature. But that never looked like a practical decision and I found little support. So I went ahead with science. It took me two years to again make a decision, but I ended up enrolling in Chartered Accountancy. I always knew that it was not the right career choice, but the question of money, status and ‘What will people think ?’ kept me going. But after starting as a trainee and working in that field, it became really difficult to continue. The decision that I was trying to postpone from so many years now sat on my face. It had to be taken.
My father and I have never agreed on the way how I want to live my life. He grew up in financially difficult situations and had to struggle a lot. All he wanted was a settled job with a lot of security, which he found working for the government.
On the other hand, I grew up in entirely different situation. The question of fulfilling life and work had become more important than security for me.
So what kept holding me back. The question of money ? But after a while, I realised I was not that greedy and could always make a living. I never wanted big car or a house or everything that market wanted me to buy. Then the status anxiety began to come up. Chartered Accountants have social status. IITians have social status. The world doesn’t cares about Teachers, Writers , Journalists or Academicians.
There are regrets that are associated with our lives, and the most dangerous of them is not trying. It’s always better to try, then to die without trying.
And having been spent time doing a conventional degree, I realised that people dont really want money for the sake of money. They want money because they don’t have confidence that world would still love them and care for them if they didn’t have the money and social status.
It’s also the question of our meaning as a whole. Why do we go to work ? Just for the sake of money, and what’s the point of earning money and living an empty life.
So at last I had to take a decision, and I took one. One cannot just keep watching his whole life passing by just like that. I quit CA to go into something as insecure as Journalism. And somebody asked me,
What’s the guarantee that you will stay in journalism, what if you find it dull and boring.