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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Different People, Different Perspectives

I was talking to a friend of mine the other night about being practical versus having a career that pays a living wage. My friend is a social worker who works for a government program. She makes enough to get by, but not much more than that. She has a roommate who is also a social worker, who has to put in overtime in order to pay her bills. My friend's roommate gave up a second job as a store clerk because she wanted to be able to focus on really helping the teenagers she is working with. The store position paid better than the social work position. I was saying that I understood this, because I am planning on spending years and a lot of money in school in order to have a job where I will probably make a very similar salary to my current pay, or maybe even less. Certainly less than I could if I would continue working with my current company, where my boss has told me over and over that I have a lot of upward mobility if I choose to pursue it (though I have absolutely no interest in doing so). We were saying how some people are practical - they go with the money and security. Those things are important to them. To those people, that security and material comfort is meaningful. But to those of us who pursue the helping professions, money is not meaningful. Helping is more meaningful. And the reason why we get paid so little is because we are willing to. Meaningfulness is so different to each person. Some find it in being able to financially support their family, and in being able to buy the newest innovative technology and coolest cars. Some find it in social work or teaching. Still others find computer work that enables us to do things such as blog meaningful. It is sometimes hard to understand what is meaningful to someone else, because it is not our own priority. What is meaningful to you?

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