Work Isn't Just About Money

My friend is on a courageous quest to find a career that is in alignment with his heart. Talking with a group of friends, he told us the careers he’s narrowed his search to. It’s an inspiring list that feels right for who he is. One of the more cautious of the group commented, “but those don’t pay that well.” I felt knocked back on my heels a bit. Only after a day of contemplation have I been able to verbalize my feelings.

There is income beyond Greenbacks. There are measures beyond coin. What's the cost of staying in a job/career/position that doesn't feed your soul – and may even eat away at it? Every $2 working a job that doesn't make your heart sing (when you're a person who needs to hear your heart singing) could be worth the same or less than every $1 in a job that does make your heart sing.

Maybe you’ve heard Andre Agassi speak about his book and his drug issues. People seem to be incredulous that he resorted to drugs to quell a depression he didn't understand. They say "how could someone who's on the top of his game, famous by anyone's standards and with more than enough money to have whatever he wants be depressed?" Andre's answer is that depression doesn't discriminate. It has nothing to do with how much you make or how famous you are. When it comes, it comes. And his depression came to him when he was feeling stuck in a life that wasn't his.

How does that relate? I think you probably get it, but in case I'm way too far out on a limb: making more money isn't the answer to one’s soul's calling. If amassing wealth regardless of the means (assuming ethics and moral behavior is engaged) feels like your calling, then the constant upward trajectory may be the right path. That’s fine.

As for my friend, he craves something different. Other people look at him and may see good balance in his life. They may see a loving wife and beautiful healthy children. They may see a good job that pays well and that his company loves him. They may even see that in a state that is experiencing over 10% unemployment he has a job. "What more do you want?" they may ask.

My wish for him is that he won’t let all the people who don't “get it“ get to him, that he won’t let them pollute his mind with those pictures of what we've been brainwashed to believe success is – the fat wallet, the big house, the fancy cars, the extravagant vacations. His measure of success might be quite different.

By the way, I’m not so naive to believe that if you find ”it“ that it will be sunshine and roses every minute of the job. All jobs come with annoyances, pain and failures. Even so, there’s just a difference of work that is aligned with your heart and simply going through the motions.

Trust yourself. Dare to be you.