I recently had a conversation with a student on my campus who will be graduating at the end of the school year. Like most seniors, the student was focused on his plans after graduation. He had already been accepted to a university. Naturally, I asked the young man about his plans for a major. He said he was thinking about choosing a major he felt would lead to lucrative employment. He admitted that it was possible he might not like that particular career field, but he could tolerate any type of work if he was making what he called “big money.”
I later reflected on the conversation, which basically turned into a discussion on money and motivation. All of us have either said or heard someone state, “If I made $______, I would do whatever _________ wants me to.” We all desire to be financially stable and prosperous. Granted, most of us aren’t offered work which will take us from rags to riches; however, I think most people look for and accept employment with the idea it will improve their financial situation, within context. The motivation money can provide will quickly wane if one does not derive enjoyment, satisfaction, or have a sincere desire to excel. That is why we are encouraged to do what we enjoy, because doing a job solely for money will not work in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, money is important and can ease many burdens in life. I also understand how people may do work they may not particularly care for in order to accomplish a specific purpose, such as paying off debts or to starting a savings. However, our work consumes a large portion of our waking hours; it is important for us to do it well and be content. And yes, even work we enjoy can have drawbacks. The key is to find ways to earn a living that align with our strengths and interests. Are the majority of our youth equipped to make such a choice? If not, what can we do to lead them? More in future posts.