I’m Still Not Sure How To Quantify Success

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I'm Still Not Sure How To Quantify Success

The other day at work, my boss, a coworker and I were all talking about company loyalty. It seems that it’s a thing of the past. My boss mentioned, “I don’t blame kids these days. Work a year or two, get what you can out of the job, do a decent job and move on. There’s no loyalty to workers anymore and great benefits that myself and many others enjoyed just aren’t there.”

I spend at least twenty minutes a day, in some way or another, thinking of ways to make more money, to invent something or even win the lottery. I’m not a pauper by any means, but it’d be nice to not worry about living paycheck to paycheck. Depending on the source, anywhere from half to two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t really want to have money, but I, and many like me, slave away at jobs we at best are indifferent to and at worst, loathe.

Like many people, I grew up in an upper middle class household that pushed the “you have to go to college” mantra. They made too much money for me to qualify for grants and not enough to actually help with college which is fine – I have no problem paying for stuff, I use but I’d at least like it to be reasonable. It incenses me when I hear people say, “you need to work harder” or some bullshit like that. The Atlantic did a column on the myth of part time job working through college, where at Michigan State one credit hour in 1979 was $24.50, adjusted for inflation that is $79.23 in today dollars. One credit hour today costs $428.75. I don’t want free college; I want it to be affordable. I completely cherish my college experience, the information I learned and all that, but not a day goes by where I don’t wonder what it’d be like if I went to a trade school.

What really wears me out is that it’s not just student loans. Institutions/corporations/companies always want things from you. Car insurance, health insurance, cable/internet, car payments, groceries, utilities, mortgage/rent, the list goes on. I feel like I get my paycheck and then it slowly gets chipped away. You have to pay to play the game. Whatever happened to jobs paying for your health insurance or even any form of benefits?

Often, I think about success. The media, movies and to me, it seems that there is a positive correlation between success and money. I don’t really want money for any other reason than to open up a dog shelter and help out animals on a small farm. No fancy cars, big houses or anything, just a dog rescue with some apple trees, grapevines and a big garden. Can one be “successful” and “happy” by society’s standards? I don’t know about you but putting on my business casual every day isn’t exactly what I consider successful.

I’m sure everyone’s seen the memes online “You weren’t born just to pay bills” or “You get a job to pay for your car to go to the store to buy clothes for a job to pay for your car.” It’s easy to purport some pseudo-existential rumination. What’s hard is that regardless of how many times I tell myself in the mirror “You weren’t born just to pay bills” I will soon be living in a van down by the river if I don’t drive my car I bought to buy clothes to look presentable at a job I got to pay for all of this shit.

Other times, I think of those Wall Street guys that get tired of the rat race and go become soy farmers or open vineyards because I guess they have enough money where they can start actually “living.” We all have things we want to do, but like anything else, everything costs money and nothing is free. That’s really the only goal I have working is to finally dig out of debt and to work a job so that when I’m old, I’ll get a few years to actually do what I want. Hopefully, I won’t be one of those stories where someone works their entire life, goes up to tee #1 and has a heart attack the first day of retirement.

What it all boils down to is trying to make it happen. What “it” is to everyone is completely subjective. We’re all in our own struggle, from the richest to the poorest of people. Some people covet money, want to own football teams, own Lear jets, travel first class and eat caviar. Me? I just want the little things. Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.

Image via Shutterstock

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